Operations Management Students Get Firsthand Look at How Envelopes Are Made

Posted by on August 29, 2014

Recently, Minnesota School of Business-Lakeville students in operations management got to visit John Anderson, an envelope manufacturing company.

Neil Johnson and Jon Anderson had a vision to start their own envelope company, which they did in 1983 in Edina, Minnesota, called John Anderson. In 1996, Johnson Anderson moved to their current facility in Shakopee, Minnesota, to allow room for growth. In 2000, the company further expanded and started offering customers a full-service commercial print shop.

Operations Management students

During their field trip to John Anderson, the business management students and instructor got to hear firsthand from the vice president of operations, Jon Laurent, the importance of education in the field.

They also got to utilize applied learning to see the different processes of design, steps involved, and how technology has made business processes more efficient. Laurent also Illustrated how to apply process and value stream mapping for process design, explained how to make time/cost trade-off decisions in projects and compared how lean principles are used in manufacturing as well as service organizations.

Before speaking with Laurent, most students thought the process of creating envelopes would be fairly easy and fast. However, after touring the manufacturing plant, they quickly realized that there is tons of technology and processes that are in place in order to effectively manufacture envelopes.

One of the concerns students from Operations Management had was the issue of waste. Most waste from the company consists of defected envelopes that do not function correctly. In order to ensure that materials are fully utilized a recycling program, where all of the waste paper goes back to the compactor and gets picked up by a recycling company is in place. John Anderson also has green contracts with Forest Stewardship Council, to make sure they are within compliance with the sustainability of forestry.

The students were also very surprised by the fact that the facility would run 24 hours a day, however, there is a lack of qualified individuals for open positions. Jon discussed with students the importance of obtaining an education. Overall, students thought, “envelopes take a lot more work to make than we thought!”

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