Strategies and Solutions: Students Do the Research

 

Relevance300

At UAB’s Business Analysis Laboratory business students as­sist companies in solving real-world problems, using the latest research techniques. O’Neal Steel, the largest privately held steel distributor in the United States, with an­nual revenues of approximately $2 billion has been a frequent Lab participant. O’Neal’s customers include companies such as John Deere and Caterpillar, as well as automobile industry firms, construction companies, and builders. “O’Neal wanted the Business Analysis Lab to survey custom­ers in different parts of the country,” says Thomas DeCarlo, Ph.D., holder of the Ben S. Weil Endowed Chair of Industrial Distribution and director of the program. “To achieve this goal, our students developed a Web-based questionnaire as­sessing six different elements of satisfaction—from product quality to salesperson effectiveness to service and delivery. They examined the data from completed surveys, looking for trends and changes in customer satisfaction due to incidents such as late deliveries,” Dr. DeCarlo explains. “The data were then summarized and presented to O’Neal’s management team. O’Neal will likely use this data to shape future employee training sessions.