The MHEDA Journal - Second Quarter, 2012 - (Page 35)

INDUSTRY AWARENESS EDUCATION Out Of The Classroom, Into The Shop Associated offers itself up as a real-life case study for MBA students. A recent collaboration between Associated (Addison, Illinois) and Robert Morris University (RMU) gave eight graduate students the opportunity to put their business acumen to the test in the material handling industry. In an effort to increase awareness about the value that the industry provides to the supply chain, Associated partnered with RMU’s Morris Graduate School of Management in an experiential learning project. RMU’s approach is to engage students in evaluating and analyzing real world issues to reinforce and embed the skills they have acquired in their course curriculum. To support this cause, Associated approached the school and offered to act as a real-life case study. The company invited students to its headquarters in Addison to study the business over the course of ten weeks before presenting their findings—and recommendations—Associated senior management, including President Mike Romano, along with a members of RMU’s faculty and administration. How it All Began The idea of working with graduate students emerged while Corporate Marketing Manager Shari Altergott was working on her MBA at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in 2009. After taking part in a similar project with another company, Altergott brought the idea to Associated. In 2010, the company developed a partnership of its own with NIU. The project with NIU came in the midst of a companywide rebranding effort. Changes in the business environment incited Associated to migrate from providing lift trucks, parts and service and move into complimentary segments of the industry such as fleet management and engineering services. “We asked the students to evaluate the rebranding plan and determine if it was a valid way for us to go to market,” says Altergott. “Their feedback supported that market conditions were conducive to our new direction.” In 2011, working with RMU, Associated asked a new group of students to look at its rebranding efforts, but from a service and aftermarket standpoint, rather than a sales standpoint. In order for the new brand promise to be successful, Associated knew that employees throughout the organization must understand, embrace and project the new direction. With this in mind, RMU students were tasked with working together to develop a business strategy centered on service employees to engage them in embracing the company’s new brand promise in a way that would complement and support Associated’s rebranding initiative and drive incremental revenue and profit. To accomplish this, students studied the industry, the company and the roles and functions of service employees at the company. Altergott and her marketing team provided industry resources and contacts to aid students with their research. In learning about service employees, Students The MHEDA Journal | Second Quar ter 2 012 35

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The MHEDA Journal - Second Quarter, 2012

President's Perspective
From the Desk of Liz Richards
Ask Your Board
Meet The MBOA
Mackinnon Equipment & Services
Member Profile
Bode Equipment Company's Office Supervisor Meredith Fowler is a jack of all trades
Customer Service Automation
Continued Growth Expected in 2012
The Off-Season
Convention Program - Re-Imagine Your Business
Convention Program
Exhibitor's Showcase Guide
Out of the Classroom, Into the Shop
The Link between Sales and Absorption: To sell more, service more!
Social Media and the C-Level: Objections Discussed
Sucession Planning and the Emerging Generations: Five Trends You Need to Know
Sucession Planning
Sucession Planning and the Emerging Generations: Five Trends You Need to Know
Work-Life Balance: It's All Up To You !
Controlling Your Workers Compensation Costs
Transactional vs. Consultative Selling
The Traits of Great Salespeople
Who's to Say What Is Sexy
Spotlight on MHEDA News
MHEDA University Calendar
New Members
MHEDA Milestones
New Products
Index of Advertisers by Product Category

The MHEDA Journal - Second Quarter, 2012