Western Herald – WMU professors incorporate Steelcase ideals into curriculum

WMU professors incorporate Steelcase ideals into curriculum

Tyler Wilson

Staff Reporter

In today’s very competitive world, any way to have the leg up on the competition will increase their odds of obtaining that dream job they’ve spent so many tuition dollars for. Two Western Michigan University professors from the Haworth College of Business took that lead for their students and sought to implement area business practices into their classroom.

Dr. Tom Scannell and Dr. Sime Curkovic looked to Steelcase, Inc. to gather information that they can pass onto their students.

Scannell and Curkovic, along with two Steelcase supply chain managers, published an article covering Steelcase in the Supply Chain Management Review that focused on the area of supply chain management.

“Steelcase is a good corporate citizen,” said Scannell. “They make their company available to researchers like us who then learn best practices so that we can bring practical knowledge in to our classes and also publish articles.”

Steelcase, Inc. is one of the largest global manufacturers of office furniture in the world.  They build For 100 years, they have brought human insight to business by studying how people work and where they work. These insights help achieve higher levels of performance in the workplace, according to Steelcase’s website.

“We reached out to Steelcase to understand how they manage their suppliers,” said Curkovic. “They do it in a proactive way. They opened their doors to us and said that we could ask questions so our students and industry could learn more about how they manage risk with their suppliers.”

Steelcase is one of many other manufacturers of office furniture in West Michigan.  Herman-Miller and Haworth Furniture Company are among other major companies in the region. Curkovic said that the Haworth Furniture Company donated all the furniture that is currently in Schneider Hall and WMU’s College of Business also bears Haworth’s name.

Haworth is another corporate citizen which provides ongoing support to all of the major programs in the Haworth College of Business.  Efforts are in progress to further strengthen the ties between Haworth and WMU’s supply chain management program in particular.

The focus of Scannell and Curkovic’s publication highlighted the topics of supply chain management field, risk management and the newly developed Global Procurement Process (GPP) at Steelcase.

The idea for the research arose after Curkovic conducted a survey during his research sabbatical last year about risk management in the supply chain and found that Steelcase provided interesting feedback in the results.

“Steelcase is doing something very unique and very forward thinking in supply risk management,” said Scannell.  “We wanted to learn more about it and publish it and bring it in our classroom.  We want our supply managements students learning the latest and greatest techniques that industry uses so that our students are more readily employable than other students elsewhere.”

Because the field is in high demand, Haworth College of Business continues to build its supply chain program for the foreseeable future.  If fact, WMU’s Integrated Supply Management program is being recognized at the national level with the program being ranked 12 in the nation, sharing this high ranking with Stanford, and the average starting salary for WMU ISM grads is $52,000 with some getting offers in the high 50s and low 60s.

Steelcase is very helpful and influential to the Haworth College of Business, so much so that WMU students can be among some of the best educated in the nation.  With the work of Scannell and Curkovic, Steelcase will help give some of our business students the best advice to lead them to future successful careers in supply management.

“Students can major in the stuff we research,” said Curkovic.  “We are creating a world class undergraduate program at WMU.  We went to Steelcase and said ‘tell us what you’re doing that is current so that we can teach to our students.’ We did this so we can take this in to the classroom and by doing this we built up a world class program.”

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