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11/8/2006 TOLEDO BUSINESS LINK
Center offers customized training
Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
UT's Executive Center for Global Competitiveness hopes to improve the economic conditions in Northwest Ohio by helping individual businesses improve their competitive edge and allow them to stay in Ohio and remain vital, Carrie Herr, director of ECGC, said.
Since the ECGC formed in February 2005, it has helped businesses and industries to identify problems or assist with initiatives they wanted to begin. The center blends competitive problems with solutions from the resources and services of UT's College of Business to address their needs and help with those issues, Herr said.
According to Herr, the rules of business have changed and many companies have not embraced that concept soon enough.
Businesses do not only need to have an edge over their competitors located in the United States, they need to be up-to-date on what their global competitors offer, she said.
That is where the ECGC comes in.
The ECGC works with businesses on an ongoing basis to help them maintain their competitive edge, even globally.
"We listen to their strategic mission and what they might want training on," Herr said.
The ECGC offers partnerships to the business community through providing LEAN manufacturing training and Six Sigma training (which teaches a business how to eliminate waste and costs by improving business processes), corporate interns, customized on site MBA programs, research projects and other College of Business resources and services.
Don Warner, vice president and director of quality and training for SSOE, Toledo's largest architectural and engineering firm, said their training and development program was in a "state of pause" in 2003 due to "tough times" in the architectural and engineering field.
In2005, after the market improved, he said SSOE began to strategize with Herr about how UT might be able to help them re-establish their program.
Warner said UT developed a program "specifically tailored" to meet their needs.
The yearlong program included monthly coaching and follow up sessions to provide SSOE with training in two areas: professional skills and leadership development training.
"Through the context of the learning experience, we were able to solve one of our problems," Warner said.
Warner said Herr "got them connected with experts" and "knocked the ball out of the park" in terms of meeting their needs.
SSOE has not yet received training on specific global business issues, but Warner explained SSOE is already a global company with an office in Shanghai, China.
Another company that has utilized the assistance of the ECGC is the Campbell Soup Supply Company in Napoleon.
Campbell's manager of training and organizational effectiveness, John Stovcsik, said, "We had started to implement the Six Sigma and LEAN Management programs and went to UT for some references."
UTlinked Campbell with an outside consultant who helped to promote continuous improvement within the company.
"We've had numerous continuous improvement teams that have helped to save us money. I can't give an exact amount, but it's in the millions," Stovcsik said.
Hesaid obtaining UT's assistance was Campbell's own initiative and what they learned from the program, they later implemented.
The ECGC is located at the Seagate Convention Center until the end of the month until it moves into a temporary location on Research Drive located off Arlington Avenue. From there, the ECGC will find its permanent home at UT's future Complex for Business Learning and Engagement, which is scheduled to be open in 2008.
ONTHE WEB: Executive Center for Global Competitiveness