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July 3, 2014

CSU Program wins national award for innovativeness

By Jaclyn Seymour

Cleveland State University, and its partner Asia Institute, won the 2014 Innovative New Program award for the first-of-its-kind program.

“Follow the Smart Phone Trail” took flight to China in March 2014 with 31 undergraduate and graduate students. They visited 10 different companies in 10 days.

Students got to track the end-to-end supply chain operations.

GoAbroad AwardThe first stop on the tour was the company Benchmark, and Meagan Cornwell said they were the most helpful.

“They did a really excellent job of explaining the difference of how it runs there [China] and how it runs here in the United States,” said Cornwell, an undergraduate Operations and Supply Chain Management student said. “They gave us a good rundown of basically the whole system and how it all works together internationally. I think they did the best job explaining all of that.”

The tour included visits to leading smart-phone companies like ZTE and Huawei (original design manufacturing and original equipment manufacturing), Knowles and TE Connectivity (component manufacturers) and Yangshan Deep-Water Port that import and export.

“We got to see some really cool technology based companies,” Cornwell explained.

“It was interesting. I never really taken a glimpse of the entire process. Supply chain to me was get all your stuff from other people and put your product together. It was interesting to actually see the whole thing and process, and it gave me a better understanding of where my company is in the supply chain. It gave me a better idea of what a good supplier needs to be.”

Cornwell also works for Thogus Products, an injection molding company in Avon Lake, in the operations department.

“This was the first job for me outside of the military so for me it was all condensed to Cleveland, but now I have a more global understanding of an entire supply chain,” Cornwell said. “Seeing that entire process from beginning to end really solidified my understanding.”

The program began five years ago. The first trip back then was planned for Japan, however, due to the Japan earthquake, the trip was canceled. Because of the economic boom with American companies moving across seas to China, Oya Tukel, the Chair and Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management, and her team decided to redirect her focus.

“We wanted to focus in Asia because of the fact that supply chain companies and activities are there,” Tukel said. “There is so much going on there. We wanted to show the students the business dynamics. The world is there in Asia.”

Every year, during spring break, student applicants and a team from Asia Institute and Cleveland State board to China.

Asia Institute works with different aspects of supply chain management and work with Tukel on the aspects of content, ideas and course work.

“We share ideas, we discuss things and we get a lot of student input in terms of the course work and what they study,” Tukel said.

“We designed this field study in supply chain management. Every year it got better and better and better, and this year’s program that we did end up putting together won a national award because of the innovativeness of the program.”

Asia Institute approached Tukel because they felt Cleveland State deserved recognition for the innovative program. GoAbroad.com is the organization that looks at all different kinds of international programs, not only in business, but different categories that schools and programs can apply to show it is benefiting students. 

“For medicine they go to Africa and do immunizations and you can apply to get a GoAbroad award,” Tukel explained.

Cleveland State made the top-five cut as a finalist for the award in the innovative category. Then, in San Diego, there was a conference, and Julie Good in the Center for International Service and Programs was attending the conference when the announcement was made that Cleveland State won the award.

“We were very happy about it,” Tukel said. “I was very happy that they were looking at supply chain as a discipline. It’s not very well known what supply chain is but it’s very important for businesses today, and I also like the fact that CSU’s name is out. The national recognition is wonderful.”

Cleveland State had a leg up on the competition because they were the first to generate a program of this kind.

“This is the very first time among all the schools in the nation that manage to show students from one end of the supply network to the other where the product is ready and is being used,” Tukel said. “We looked from supplier to supplier to supplier to manufacturer to distributor and then to retailer.”

Cleveland State’s focus is on engaged learning, and Tukel said this is a great example.
“Students are seeing things, touching things, talking to the managers directly,” Tukel said. “We focus on engaged learning and this is a very good example of engaged learning.”

Cornwell said that it is different than sitting in a classroom.

“You actually get the first-hand experience, almost like you are getting a small internship, a tinny tiny internship,” Cornwell said.

Tukel explained that this is important for students because if they become managers it is important to understand globally how things work.

“If we have global managers coming up it is important to see how the world works and how competitive it is,” Tukel said.

The program also paid a visit to an Apple store in Shanghai to show how people are using the smart phones.

“In 10 days we looked at who contributed to these phones and then we looked at how the telecommunications companies use the phones to be able to provide services to us,” she continued.

“It was really great in terms of information being received, the company’s interest to the students of how much they are willing to show and tell to us, and we wanted to get that recognition and get CSU’s name out,” Tukel explained.

For next year, Tukel wants to try to make a few changes. She would like to pick another industry that is relevant to Northeast Ohio to take students next year, but this time she would like to bring managers of different companies to come with the students.

”The students would be able to listen to the managers there [international companies] but be able to listen to the managers here [United States] coming with us. I thought maybe we could take them with us and they can actually give more insight to give us answers that maybe can’t be answered on Asia’s end. I thought that would be really nice.”

If you are interested in applying for the trips, applications are due the first week of November. Flyers and emails are sent out prior to bring attention to the students in August. The application and information about the upcoming trip can be found on the website in August. However, to get involved you have to be related to supply chain.

“One of the most important is that they are somehow related to supply chain,” Tukel said.

Financial aid can help if you are interested in applying. The Parker Hannifin Corporation donated scholarships to students this past March to assist students to go to China. Pricing can be different for the next trip, but the 2014 trip was $2,850.