Oct. 16, 2017
Who says that studying is pretty theoretical? Certainly not the students of Saint Vincent College who recently heard a hands-on lecture in supply chain management and purchasing at the premises of NORMA Group in Saltsburg.
The graduate students of Saint Vincent pursuing a master of science degree in management: Operational Excellence met for class at NORMA Group in Saltsburg and not only heard an overview of NORMA Group as a company but also received first-hand expertise in supply chain management and purchasing.
Mike McGlinn, supply chain manager at NORMA Group, spoke on push versus pull and the wastes associated with a push system. He emphasized that overproduction due to large batch sizes is a typical characteristic of push principles and at the same time the worst kind of waste. It causes other wastes and obscures the need for improvement. The pull principle on the contrary shifts the process toward a replenishment culture in which the company only starts the production process when there is a demand.
Judy Cody, purchasing manager at NORMA Group, spoke on the critical role purchasing plays in a lean production environment. The traditional responsibility of purchasing is to provide purchased materials and services on time, at the lowest costs and the highest quality to meet customer demands. In a lean environment however, purchasing plays a critical role in improving the flow of information and materials throughout the supply chain. It engages in strategic sourcing activities including market research/trend analysis and vendor evaluation and partnership building and actively looks for ways to reduce processing costs for both direct and indirect materials. She emphasized the fact that purchasing and suppliers have to bring value to the supply chain in a lean environment and find new ways to meet demands.
After the lectures the students had the opportunity to ask specific questions and get the answers from the experts directly before they moved on to a one-hour plant tour.
NORMA Group has partnered with Saint Vincent College since 2016. The partnership includes educational opportunities for NORMA Group employees, as well as real-world work experience for the college business students through on-the-job internships at the company. Matt Miller, Operational Excellence Leader at the NORMA Group plant in Saltsburg, has been teaching the graduate Operations Management class at SVC for three years.
Photo A: SVC and NORMA Group participants in the hands-on class in Saltsburg included, front row, from left, Bill Anders, production manager in Saltsburg and student of the graduate program, Paul Carr, Michelle Hart, Selin Konur, Edward Li, Carla Pellis and Zachary Kupec. Back row, from left, Matt Miller, instructor, OEL in Saltsburg, Sean Gillespie, human resources business partner in Saltsburg and student of the graduate program, Yuting Xie, Katherine Shaw, Jesse Reed, Dylan Deglau, Josh Hough and Ron Monack.
Photo B: Saint Vincent College and NORMA Group students at supply-chain management and purchasing discussion in Saltsburg.
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