Dedicated to building a better community by connecting higher education to area businesses, the Doermer School of Business (DSB) at IPFW has created partnerships with local companies to help them develop efficient techniques for increasing product output. Such partnerships prove to be mutually beneficial, giving students an opportunity to apply classroom theories to real world problem-solving.
Partnering over the past decade with Do it Best Corp., DSB students have recently helped the company’s Medina, Ohio, distribution center streamline operations. “Do it Best Corp. differentiates itself in the home improvement marketplace as a highly responsive, low-cost distributor and we are always looking for opportunities to enhance our efficiencies,” says Randy Rusk, Do it Best Corp. communications director.
A key factor in the successful program is professor Rob Palevich, former chief technology officer at Do it Best Corp. Palevich brings over 30 years of workplace experience into the classroom, teaching students the principles of maximizing efficient operations.
“Professor Palevich has a truly outstanding background,” says Michael Eikenberry, dean of DSB. “He’s also a successful entrepreneur. Since retiring from Do it Best Corp., he has created his own company, RP Global Consulting Services, specializing in efficient supply chain management.”
Palevich was awarded a $250,000 grant to develop a course in which students learn to use statistical software to analyze business operations and increase performance. Central to the instruction is project-based learning. In the fall 2014 semester, students observed and analyzed operations at the Do it Best Corp. distribution center in Medina to determine how the company could operate more efficiently.
“A specific procedure is used to package each item before it is shipped,” Palevich explains. “When trying to maximize output to meet shipping deadlines, employees sometimes overlooked procedures, resulting in packaging problems. Our students analyzed the procedure and found ways to streamline the process so the work would be done efficiently and orders would be completed to company standards.”
Eikenberry says that business owners seek employees who can contribute and believes students graduate from IPFW’s DSB equipped with the tools they need to improve a company.
“IPFW students can tailor the knowledge they’ve acquired in the classroom to meet a company’s specific needs,” says Eikenberry, describing the win-win situation that empowers DSB students to help businesses.
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