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Business Students and Administrators Tour Steelcase

April 23, 2013

ATHENS, Ala. - The Department of Logistics, Acquisition, and Enterprise Systems Management at Athens State University, along with the administration of Steelcase, have joined forces to provide a glimpse into the workings of the company’s largest manufacturing facility located in Athens, Alabama. A group of students from the Athens State College of Business, along with administrators and professors, toured the Steelcase plant on March 25.

“Students were very interested in touring the manufacturing and distribution center of Steelcase,” said Athens State Adjunct Professor Susan Calhoun. “They saw first-hand the process from the receiving raw materials to the distribution of a finished product.”

In addition, students gained access to The Nerve Center – otherwise known as Communication Central. They discussed the operations of the center with Steelcase Plant Manager Doug Batdorff. Batdorff explained that the nerve center at Steelcase served as a center for communication and accountability. Bartoff also explained that each area of the production process has up to the minute analysis of productivity and profitability.

Approximately 20 students attended the tour. The majority of the students were from classes that focused on the logistics and managerial concentrations in the College of Business at Athens State.

Batdorff took the time to discuss with the students that Steelcase looks for management candidates trained in problem solving and critical thinking. Students learned that the manufacturer looks for employees who recognize a problem, understand the root cause of it, and present a solution with the least disruption to productivity.

The representatives from Steelcase who served as tour guides included Human Resources Manager Larry Burchfield, Lean/Quality Team member Don Byford, and FDC Shift Lead Wes Allen. Athens State’s Director of Development Ronnie Knox, Assistant Director of Development Pam Jarrett, and Adjunct Professor Susan Calhoun accompanied the students.

“Athens State and Steelcase have had a wonderful working relationship for years,” said Knox. “Their commitment to serving the community in which they do business, and championing the educational development of local students, is a great asset to our area.”


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