The University of Nebraska at Kearney is one of many programs nationwide helping prepare distribution and manufacturing companies' future work force, as featured in this month's MDM Premium. One way they do this? A branch simulation lab, which was designed and put together by Dr. Jim Toppen. The lab was modeled after an HD Supply training branch he used to manage and even includes a Prophet 21 ERP system for students to use.
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In the lab, students learn a myriad of skills, including front counter sales, packaging and shipping, managing a showroom, and forklift operations. This hands-on experience gives them an edge the first day on the job, as they are already familiar with the way a distribution company operates. Faculty members serve as customers, and test students' abilities to deal with different real-world situations.
MDM Associate Editor Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier visited the "branch," and put together this program, featured in May's Executive Briefing, to give you an inside look at the operation: