Students learn real-world supply chain lessons on field trip to PAC-CLAD facility

A group of high school students experienced real-world applications of supply chain management theories when visiting the Petersen facility in Annapolis Junction, Md., earlier this year. The students from North County High School in Glen Burnie, Md., were exposed to order processing, manufacturing and transportation during their dual-credit college program field trip.

The goal of the outing was for students to witness active parts of the supply chain, said Christine Allen, shipping and inventory manager for Petersen’s Maryland facility. Students toured the Petersen plant and saw how an order is processed, where manufacturing materials are sourced, how steel and aluminum roof and wall products are made, how the finished products are prepared for transportation and how products are transported to customers. The tour also featured a visit at the Baltimore facility of A. Duie Pyle, a provider of asset- and non-asset-based transportation and supply chain solutions in the Northeast.

“We did a combined tour of our location and A. Duie Pyle’s transportation facility,” Allen said. “The students saw our freight getting loaded, and then we ‘followed’ the freight to ADP. We talked about our operations, what we do, what we make, where we get our material, what happens after we make it and where it goes. I also showed them a little bit about production so they can see best practices for that area, too. I also explained Petersen’s scrap recycling program, which reintroduces material into the supply chain.”

Chris Incudine, terminal manager for A. Duie Pyle’s Baltimore facility, said it was beneficial for the students to see products made that morning, then packaged and make their way into A. Duie Pyle’s system. “It allowed the students to further understand the shipper-to-consignee process. Our dock management system involves the use of Bluetooth scanning of labels that are applied to each piece of freight that is picked up by A. Duie Pyle, and then the scanning of pallet position labels inside each trailer. The students asked great questions,” Incudine said.

While at A. Duie Pyle’s warehouse, the students saw what happens when freight arrives on a truck, and how it is moved to different areas and the procedures associated with those actions, Allen said. “Students enjoyed the learning experience. They had to identify best practices and areas for improvement. It was a practical, hands-on field trip. In school students are taught theories, so it was nice for them to see real-life applications of those theories,” she said.

One of the challenges these students will face in 10 years is keeping a steady flow of qualified CDL drivers in the industry and keeping up with technological advancements within the trucking/LTL world, Incudine says. “Without innovation a business can still be profitable and successful, but not for ADP. The need for innovation in A. Duie Pyle’s world is a necessity to keep us in the ranks as a top carrier,  and we have fully embraced this challenge, enacting innovative operational strategies and leveraging available technologies.”

Allen and Incudine believe the field trip was beneficial to the students and to them as well. Allen said, “Think about what you learned in high school or college, and how much of that was actually practical; not much. Anything we can do to encourage real life learning, we’re both a big fan of. The students asked really good questions. Chris and I agree that if they need to do a field trip once a year for that course, we would look forward to hosting again.”

Ironically, Incudine was skeptical of the idea of a field trip to his facility because it was the first tour of its kind at this location, “But now that I know how informative and successful it was, I would be disappointed if these did not continue each year. By exposing young minds to parts of the industry they typically don’t see, it benefits both the students and the companies they tour.”