Two University of Michigan students from the Tauber Institute of Global Operations recently completed a 14-week hands-on automation project in collaboration with MillerKnoll. Students Rachael White and Won Young Kang investigated automation opportunities within MillerKnoll’s warehousing operations, piloting various concepts with cross-functional teams and concluding the project with proposed automation solutions for MIllerKnoll distribution facilities.
"Hands down, they fully exceeded my expectations," said Beau Seaver, Vice President of Engineering, Automation and EHS at MillerKnoll, “Both Rachael and Won were dedicated, focused, and actively involved in the entire project. Sponsoring this project allowed for focused energy around a ‘nagging’ theme. Having the capacity for Rachael and Won to direct traffic on this project proved highly valuable.”
Rachael White emphasized the impact of MillerKnoll's cross-functional nature during the collaboration and the power of innovation with a people-first culture. “It was exciting,” says Rachael White, “Every day was different. It's always nice to kind of have someone who has a different perspective and comes from a different background. We also worked with a team at MillerKnoll that was very cross-functional. We got safety, engineering, and operation perspectives. It allowed us to look at a problem from multiple perspectives and make sure we're considering different risks that we might come into contact with, and in turn, coming up with innovative ideas.”
The University of Michigan’s team engagement with MillerKnoll represented a significant intersection of academia and real-world operational challenges. It highlighted the need for automation and process improvements to maximize long-term growth and competitiveness in an ever-evolving industry.
To meet Rachael and learn more about her experience learning alongside the MillerKnoll team, click here.