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Full case studies can be found at www.liteecases.com

Chick-fil- A case study
Developed by Patrick Klesius

CD-ROM describes Chick-fil-A’s decision making process in selecting a new Point of Sale System (POS) based on either Windows NT or Windows CE systems

Excerpt from the Case Study:
Mike Erbrick, Director of Restaurant Information Systems at Chick-fil-A, was given the responsibility of converting the restaurant’s point of sales (POS) systems from a proprietary EPROM based system to a newer system. This changeover had an investment impact of approximately $3.29 million based on the differences in the costs required to implement the various POS systems being considered, which could be as high as $15,000 per outlet depending on the system chosen and store layout. Within its more than 700 outlets, Chick-fil-A averaged about 8 POS systems per store compared to the two or three systems per store used by other quick-service restaurant chains. The number of POS systems gave rise to additional confusion for the kitchen staff because they could have six to eight orders arriving simultaneously on the Kitchen Display System (KDS) screens. Thus, the new system had to be extremely efficient and scalable to meet the needs of individual stores. Perhaps most importantly to the store owners using the system, who are compensated based on their sales figures and net income, the sales data should be relayed to Chick-fil-A’s corporate headquarters accurately and reported back to each store in a timely manner.

Key Features:

  • Introduces students to the basic tasks of IT personnel and factors that influence major decision making
  • Illustrates the steps of making a critical decision and the impact that decision may have on the company
  • Allows students to view the problem of choosing a new point of sales (POS) system from two perspectives: the technical side and the business side
  • Coverage includes a thorough explanation of both Windows CE and Windows NT operating systems
  • CD-ROM complies with instructor’s manual in order for students to visualize the problem at hand
  • Excellent in Freshman engineering courses

Learning Objectives:

  • To understand tehcnical and management details involved in planning and implementation of a real world project
  • To recognize the importance of developing and prioritizing project criteria in analyzing alternatives
  • To understand the Decision Support System and its use in making decisions

Company: Chick-fil-A
Current status of the developer: Manager, Capital Market, Citigroup


Superstar case study
Developed by Srinivas Kumarasetty

Problem studied: Sanjeev Kumar, CEO of Superstar Specialties, Inc., was faced with the decision to allocate resources between the fifteen proposed R & D projects slated to start in August 2005. The board had allocated him $3.3 million to spend on R & D for the next budget year. As the CEO of a $360 million company with five business segments (energy, food, construction, personal care, and transportation divisions), Sanjeev had to decide among the alternative R & D projects.

Key Features:

  • Introduces decision support system (DSS) technology for management use
  • Teaches students how to differentiate between alternative solutions or products in order to better evaluate and select
  • Provides a way for students to learn about item correlation in terms of decision making

Learning Objectives:

  • To discuss how companies have multiple priorities but limited resources in terms of funding and people
  • To understand the issues that are used in prioritizing among engineering projects
  • To perform an analysis of multiple R & D projects using the Business/Project analysis tool
  • To communicate their recommendations, negotiate with others, and come up with a final list of prioritized projects

Company: Superstar Specialties, Inc.
Current status of the developer: Development Engineer, GE

Yuquiyu Motors case study
Developed by Nadja Bliedung

Problem studied: This case study illustrates the decision faced by Yuquiyu Motors to produce a reliable, high-output engine that will meet regulations and satisfy the engineering mandate for high quality and serviceability.

Key Features:

  • Introduces students to the basics of ProE and SAP system
  • Shows the engineering and business processes related to the development of a new engine (model M21)

Learning Objectives:

  • To provide the product life cycle of Yuquiyu Motors, from research and development (R & D) to implementation, sales, and marketing of a new product by showing the example of the model M21
  • To show how engineering and business practices are integrated throughout the production life cycle
  • To illustrate how Information Technology (IT) is used to meet these needs, from initial designs developed in ProEngineer to materials resource planning using SAP
  • To understand how SAP helps the process

Company: Briggs and Stratton Corp.
Current status of the developer: Senior Engineer, Mercedes Benz, Germany

In Hot Water case study
Developed by Justin Cochran

Problem studied: At Vogtle, plant manager Robert Moye and engineers Patrick Conley and Kerry Walton were faced with two alternative methods of improving the performance of their counterflow natural draft cooling tower. The source of the tower’s underperformance seemed to be the water distribution across the tower’s area. The managers and engineers were at the decision point: they could either revert to the configuration that was known to produce a tower efficiency of 91% or modify the tower based on John Cooper’s new recommendation.

Key Features:

  • Places students in the position of power plant engineers trying to make a decision which will improve the cooling tower’s performance, consequently affecting overall power plant efficiency
  • Makes students use the evidence provided and their intuition to support their decision for modification of the tower

Learning Objectives:

  • To teach the impact of cooling tower water distribution on air flow and exiting air temperature, both of which affect cooling tower performance

Company: Southern Nuclear
Current status of the developer: Assistant Professor, University of North Florida

Powertel case study
Developed by Justin Williams

Problem studied: With the introduction of Powertel’s new 3600 minutes for $40 rate plan, the growth of cellular subscribers jumped 40% in one month. This growth put a tremendous strain on the existing cellular network structure. An example was at the intersection of Highway 280 and Interstate 459 in Birmingham, AL, where users experienced many dropped calls. The choices to resolve this problem were to either install a new tower on a nearby hill or to add equipment to the existing tower on top of the Sheraton hotel. The costs for these options ranged from $150,000 to $700,000.

Key Features:

  • Introduces students to the basics of wireless technology, including key terms and management strategies
  • Illustrates the steps of making a critical decision and the impact the decision may have on the company
  • Allows students to understand the importance of maintaining communication between project management personnel and technical personnel
  • CD-ROM complies with the instructor’s manual in order for students to visualize the problem at hand

Learning Objectives:

  • To integrate engineering and business issues by showing that good decisions require striking a balance between technical, financial, credibility, and management issues
  • To show how engineering and business practices are integrated throughout the project management process

Company: Powertel/T-Mobile
Current status of the developer: Agent, FBI

Lorn Case study
Developed Chet Plank

Problem studied: Highlights the importance of safety and serviceability considerations in the design of a lap-winder machine used in a textile mill. The case study describes how a worker in a textile mill lost three fingers while performing maintenance on this machine and follows the ensuing court case.

Key Features:

  • Gives students knowledge on how professional engineers would and should apply codes and standards when faced with real world problems
  • Gives an analysis of many other basic skills engineers should utilize, such as safety awareness and communication
  • Shows students the role an expert witness plays in today’s legal system, and the skills necessary to prove their point to a judge, jury, or board of directors
  • Gives a first hand account of engineers playing a role in our legal system
  • Shows how to communicate highly technical issues in an understandable manner

Learning Objectives:

  • To teach students how to use basic skills needed by professional engineers, including technical accuracy, an understanding of the codes of standards, ethical design, and communication
  • To give students a better idea of the role expert witnesses play in contemporary engineering problems
  • To emphasize the importance of safety in design, including lock-out/tag-out procedures, limit switches, and safety in theory and in practice

Company: Lorn Manufacturing Inc.
Current status of the developer: Facilities Engineer, Brazil Exploration and Production, Shell

STS 51-L case study
Developed by John Hicks, Akila McConnell, Ven Raju

Problem studied: This case study shows the events leading up to the decision to launch the space shuttle STS 51-L (Challenger). The case study and the CD-ROM describe the events and illustrate the technical details discussed in the study.

Key Features:

  • Provides background materials on ethics and design so that the students can analyze the case study effectively
  • Includes topics relating to ethics, design of O-rings, project management, risk, and safety
  • Satisfies the ABET 2000 criteria for developing the students’ abilities to use techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
  • Perfect for a freshman course conveying the design and ethical challenges that engineers face, but also suitable to teach details of design at a sophomore level or higher
  • A timeline in the CD-ROM takes the reader through design decisions and challenges faced by NASA engineers between 1972 to 1986
  • A comprehensive instructor’s manual CD-ROM includes teaching suggestions, subsequent design changes, possible answers, PowerPoint presentations, answers to presentations, and answers to multiple-choice and essay questions

Learning Objectives:

  • To evaluate alternative design options using ethical, safety, reliability, risk, schedule, and cost factors; students must choose an option and defend it
  • To apply principles of ethics stated in codes of professional societies to an engineering decision-making scenario

Company: NASA
Current status of the developer: Manager of Technology, Media, and Telecomm at Deloitte Consulting LLP; Associate at Alston & Bird LLP; CEO of VAC Worldwide


SAP Implementation at Wellborn Cabinets case study
Developed by Steven Carter

Problem studied: Wellborn Cabinets is a family owned business that was founded in 1961. The company’s headquarters and largest factory are located in Ashland, AL and occupy over two million square feet, building about 5,000 cabinets a day. Wellborn primarily supplies builders and dealers who work with customers to design kitchens and dressing and entertainment suites, with a typical order of 20 cabinets containing 15,000 pieces and costing about $15,000. Wellborn began to use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems about 10 years ago to manage its business.

Wellborn Cabinets adopted a system called Symix, a full ERP system, in 1998. Although Symix had a complete set of modules, all of which were used across all of the company’s departments, each plant used its own database so two plants that were close together were not linked on the financial end. As a result, spreadsheets were used to merge data and engineers had to maintain 580,000 discreet bills of material. Shopfloor workers knew the bills of material were not accurate and paid little attention to them, instead building the cabinets using “tribal knowledge”, which led to frequent returns and many defects. Marketing, engineering, and training issues were also not addressed adequately.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand that a large Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) package can be successfully implemented by a medium-sized company in a reasonable time frame with strong benefits
  • Develop an appreciation for the SDLC (system development life cycle) process for Management Information Systems and how it was used at Wellborn Cabinets
  • Understand the use of software and business consultants in implementing an ERP system


Company: Wellborn Cabinets
Current status of the developer: Consultant, Technology and Security Risk services, Ernest Young, LLP

Data synchronization case study
Developed by Michael Fuller during Summer 2007

Problem studied : Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T) has contractors and field offices spread out all over India and abroad. Currently when a remote job has a work order that it cannot approve it has to be sent to the region office and the main headquarters when applicable. The software that the remote sites use to request work orders is called Cema, but it does not offer an automated solution for synchronizing it records with the main database. Currently the process of getting a work order approved is a manual process and could mean waiting a day for approval. Before a work order is approved all the resources at the remote site sit idle, waiting for approval. So reducing the approval delay will also reduce the time equipment sits idle at the job site.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how L&T Solved a Communication Problem
  • Learn the Pitfalls of Transferring Information Over the Internet
  • Learn About Secure Communications Techniques

Company: Larsen & Toubro Limited, Chennai, India

Induction welding case study
Developed by Pramod Rajan during Summer 2007

Problem studied: There were three main problems faced at the inspection stage of induction pressure welding process

The first problem was with the inspection time of the welds. The time taken for the cooling and inspection is more than the time for set up and the welding. This made the processing stagnant at the inspection stage in the production environment. So BHEL is looking for a faster method of inspection.

The second problem encountered by the operators at inspection was the inaccessibility of welds. It was tough to access some areas of piping for inspection.

The third problem was with the pasty welds or kissing bonds. When the crack surfaces stay in very close contact with each other then the bond between the two surfaces of the crack is called a kissing bond. This is a very dangerous bond. The welds appeared to be fused and pass the ultrasonic inspection but failed at the work site. Lack of bonding and mismatch are the types of defects commonly appearing on these welds.

Learning Objectives:

  • The case study briefly explains the induction pressure butt welding process and issues with it.
  • The case study underlines the importance of in-situ weld inspection
  • Understand the NDT techniques used for in-situ inspection of induction pressure welding
  • Analyze the different possible alternatives applicable to the problem
  • The students get to choose one possible alternative and defend it and also get to know how to solve real-world problems

Company: Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), Trichy, India

Thermal Comfort Analysis case study
Developed by Jaasmeen Hamed during Summer 2007


Company: Larsen & Toubro Limited, Chennai, India
Acoustic Emission testing case study
Developed by Lee Lerner and Bobby Dixon during Summer 2007



Learning Objectives:

  • Students learn various aspects of global engineering challenges.
  • Differentiate between alternate methods to implement the data acquisition system interface

Company: Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL),Chennai, India