Ruben Howard says that sometimes, educating students in a classroom isn’t enough.
He says some students need more hands-on teaching methods to learn, alongside a taste of real world experiences.
“The goal of the collaboration is to expose students majoring in logistics management to the various conveyors, sortation equipment, warehouse control systems, robotics and the automatic retrieval systems used in the industry,” says Howard, Dean of Transportation, Distribution & Logistics at Olive-Harvey College. “That’s the basic overview. When students are learning theory in class, a lot of them may not be able to get a hands-on component. What does it actually look and feel like?”
The living lab, which is one of Wynright’s tech centers, provides students with a real distribution center look and feel.
Howard says the living lab also helps students gain a better understanding of how certain equipment make a warehouse efficient, how distribution centers are being revolutionized and how companies organize management order fulfillment.
“The living lab allows students to take the theory that they learned inside the classroom and apply it to real world applications,” he says. “It’s one thing to learn it inside the classroom, but in our field, it’s just a theoretical knowledge base. Students may not get an opportunity to see it and feel it in a real world business setting.”
Howard says one of the best parts of working with Wynright is that students can observe and learn how distribution centers operate through equipment simulations without disrupting the company’s workflow.
“When you go on a tour of [another distribution] facility, they can’t start and stop the conveyor belt to show students what technology is used,” he says. “They can explain it, but they can’t stop it, or use it as an example. What makes Wynright unique is the technology center allows them to do simulation and see a particular product of theory in place. That’s the advantage.”