SAVE & MVF “University Challenge” for 2019

By Stephen Kirk, PhD, CVS, FSAVE, FAIA – Vice President Education, Miles Value Foundation

SAVE International (SAVE) and the Miles Value Foundation (MVF) sponsor a competition for all universities that offer semester courses on value engineering (VE), value analysis or value management (VM). The course may be in any discipline including engineering, architecture, management or general sciences.

The purpose of this competition is to recognize the students and the universities for their value work. SAVE and MVF encourage universities to offer semester courses in VM and believes the competition brings visibility to each university.

The winning student team receives up to $3,000 towards travel expenses to the 2019 Value Summit being held June 8-11 in Portland, OR.

Submission for 2019

SAVE and MVF encourage professors of university VE courses to nominate their best student value study. Professors interested in submitting a student value study must email their nomination to Dr. Stephen J. Kirk, MVF Vice President Education, at by March 15.

Student or student team value studies must be submitted by the course instructor to the SAVE business office at by April 30. Each university may submit only one value study prepared by an individual student or student team. Value Study Reports are to identify:

  • the study topic
  • the participants
  • the VM process followed
  • techniques used, including function analysis
  • the study results


Judging of submittals will be based on the information provided in the report, use of the value methodology and the quality of the written report in communicating the process and results. The evaluation jury will consist of the SAVE Vice President/President-Elect, SAVE Director of Conferences, SAVE Certification Board Chair and the MVF Chairman. Should a tie occur, the SAVE President will make the final selection.

2018 Winner

The winner of last year’s University Challenge was student team members Etu. E. Emmanuel, Laura Schulz, Tim Lang, Richard Deshon, and Ashraf Fakhouri. The advisor was professor Celestine Aguwa, PhD, VMA from the College of Engineering – Industrial and Systems Engineering at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. The title of the VE study was, “Application of Value Analysis to Improve Trim-to-Foam Attachment in Seat Assembly.

Abstract of Study

Recently, several manufacturing companies have been experiencing high volumes of rework: typically, 70% of components are sent to re-work, and 50% of the components re-worked are specific to trim-to-foam attachment issues. There are numerous problems arising from the trim-to-foam seat assembly such as high component re-work, complex tasks during seat assembly, high cycle time in the foam line, reported hand injuries during installation and inefficient re-work for the complete seat process. This paper utilizes the Value Analysis (VA) job plan, a six-step process approved by SAVE International for process, product or service improvement, as a systematic approach to improve the trim-to-foam attachment process in a seat assembly. The expected outcomes of this research will lead to an increase in the quality of seats assembled, improve the assembly process, reduce the rework, reduce operator injury and recommend better components for the seats.

Other University Submittals

Two other universities, Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of Limerick, Ireland, also competed. ASU students Raman Rajan, Abhas Garg, Bharath VC, Sefatullah Mohammady and Vishal Kelani submitted their paper on the VE study of a “Motown Museum Expansion.” Their advisors were professors Dr. Stephen Kirk and Chris Kmetty.

Susanne Marx submitted the VE study, “Setting up Effective and Efficient Project Communication for the Project: Baltic Museums: Love IT!” Prof. Michael Klotz from Stralsund University of Applied Sciences served as her advisor.