Thursday, November 21, 2013

Vol State and Electrolux Team Up For Logistics Program

A gas range may not seem like a global nexus, but when you consider the myriad parts that go into manufacturing a gas range, and the number of countries those parts come from, manufacturing takes on a whole new perspective. That’s the case for logistics and supply chain professionals at Electrolux in Springfield. It’s their job to collect the parts from sources across the planet and get them to Springfield assembly in a timely and cost effective manner. Every decision they make has an impact on the bottom line. Electrolux has teamed up with Vol State to give those professionals a new view of their jobs and global logistics. Ten Electrolux employees are taking Vol State logistics classes together as a group.

“It’s helped to see how we interact with each other,” said Liz Johnson, the unit leader for the logistics group. “We’re each in different areas, and sometimes we didn’t see how decisions one of us would make affected the next person.”

“I think sometimes in a typical classroom setting you’re a little reserved and shy,” said Adam Tracy of Nashville. “When you’re with co-workers you are more likely to share and talk about it.”

The class is termed a cohort course, meaning that the group of students takes several classes together. It promotes bonding and the sharing of ideas. However, it’s rare for an entire cohort to come from the same company. The students have some class meetings at the Highland Crest college campus in Springfield and the rest of the work is done online, for greater flexibility.

“Most of these folks are from the operations side,” said Vol State Instructor Don Ellis. “One of the things we have talked about is interdependent operations. They’re going to get a much better understanding of how things work.”

Elllis is teaching several of the courses. He’s Global Sourcing Quality Manager for Dupont and teaches for Vol State part-time. The idea for the class came from Electrolux. 

“Electrolux Supervisor Russell Schild took one of our Logistics classes and began sharing my PowerPoints with Electrolux Supply Chain Director, JT Terzo,” said Associate Professor of Logistics, George Wilson. “JT found the PowerPoints meaningful for what he was trying to accomplish at Electrolux and we worked to set up the cohort class.”

Now other companies are considering the same method- a program of classes for their employees to take together. The Electrolux students will earn a technical certificate when classes are completed next spring, but they say the benefits from the course work happen daily.

“The logistics classes have a lot of stuff we use every day, we just didn’t know the terms for it,” said Phillip Duncan of Springfield. “We learn together. It helps us grow together.”

For more information on the Logistics and Supply Chain Management program at Vol State visit:


Pictured: Electrolux logistics employees and their Vol State instructor on the warehouse floor. Left to right: Adam Tracy, Phillip Duncan, Don Ellis and Liz Johnson.

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