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UNIBusiness takes Six Sigma Certification and service ops to new heights

June 17, 2016 - 12:00am
UNIBusiness Editor
Italy Countryside

Hamilton ESP International Fellow for Supply Chain and assistant professor of management Dan Bumblauskas joined UNIBusiness three short years ago and has been making a big impact ever since. As a former professor at the University of Missouri, Bumblauskas had co-pioneered a Six Sigma methodology class with James (Jim) Noble from the Missouri College of Engineering in which students learned the six sigma consulting process, sat for a certification exam, and completed a live client based project with an Irish company to attain a greenbelt certification. He brought the program to UNIBusiness in 2013-14 and extended its opportunities to UNI students which has proven to be extremely successful. But Bumblauskas wasn't done.

During his time in Columbia, Bumblauskas had taught a class titled Service Operations Management. It quickly became one of the most popular and beneficial courses to come out of the operations and supply chain management area and also a personal favorite of Dan's to teach as so many job opportunities exist for operations and supply chain managers in the service sector. When he saw the synergies that existed between this course and the Italian service, tourism and hospitality based economy, the idea to offer the service operations class overseas was born. Both Italy and the United States are often referenced in the top 5 in tourism, hospitality and service management as a percentage of GDP. Typical operations management classes are geared towards companies that fall within the manufacturing industry, but in this day and age, most companies are more well positioned towards providing some sort of service offering or service package to its end users which is why Bumblauskas felt this class was so important to add.

The service operations program in Italy was nearly six years in the making as his first site visit to Italy was during the 2010-2011 academic year. Although Bumblauskas recognized the opportunity a while back, he wanted to wait until the found the right fit in a partner university that would be able to help make the most of the experience. He found just that and more in the staff at Sant'Anna Institute in Sorrento, Italy. Bumblauskas went on to cite President of the Institute Cristiana Panicco, study abroad coordinator Serena Vacca, and internship coordinator Emily Hammeren as being "amazing to work with."

The group spent a total of two weeks abroad in May 2016 absorbed in what is essentially the service operations capital of Italy. Sorrento is a town located on the coast in southern Italy, and thrives almost solely because of the tourism industry. Bumblauskas explained, "the town is really only alive six months out of the year. It shuts down a bit in the winter season, but picks back up every year April through August."

The group arrived in Sorrento in the middle of May and divided their time between being in the classroom, meeting with companies, and exploring the beautiful country. The group met with some of the well experienced and industry-best companies when it comes to service operations. Students were able to ask questions and begin to understand what kinds of practices make them so successful. Senior marketing and management major Annie Goodell said this was her favorite part of the trip. "It was interesting to see how they operate because their practices are very different from the US. They may not always perform the most efficiently, but they always produce a high quality service offering."

The companies also benefited from students being there. Following the question and answer session, company owners would be able to ask questions and get feedback from an American perspective because most of their customers are either from the United States or the United Kingdom. In total the group visited nine different companies, ranging from holiday farms to travel agencies to an olive oil factory.

Bumblauskas plans to offer the trip to UNI students again in 2018, alternating years to give students the option between the Ireland Six Sigma and Italy Service Operations Management programs. Currently we are working towards partnerships with other universities, such as the University of Missouri and University of Nebraska, that would allow students to travel with another university on the years Bumblauskas will be in the other country.

To learn more about the program or opportunities like this contact Dan Bumblauskas at

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UNIBusiness Editor

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