RMIT students have been operating as strategic consultants to logistics company CombiLift as the Irish organisation looks to expand their business into Australia.
The Associate Degree in Business students have collaborated with their counterparts in Ireland and Finland to create a strategic plan aimed at helping CombiLift to increase sales of their fork lift trucks and straddle carriers.
The company, who already operate in 75 countries, are looking to double their annual revenue within five years and see Australia as the biggest opportunity for growth.
Swati Dave, Program Manager, said: “Six teams of students were tasked with producing a strategy framework for CombiLift’s expansion into Australia based on their own market research.
“The three-month project was a truly international business exercise which helped to prepare these students for the global workforce.
“I was impressed with how the students worked together and overcame the challenges of different time zones and cultures.
“The students had to work hard in connecting with their team in Ireland and Finland while handling all their other assessments as well.”
At the end of the project the students from Ireland travelled to Melbourne to meet their RMIT teammates and present their final plans and recommendations to Combilift. While in Melbourne, the Australian and Irish students had a marathon of meetings to finesse their project and presentation skills.
RMIT student Elliot Poynton said he has been impressed with the company’s approach to him and his classmates.
“A particularly interesting aspect of this assignment has been the way CombiLift have used us as consultants rather than simply treating as like students,” he said.
“It has taken us out of the academic environment into the real world of international business and has both focussed our thinking and enabled us to apply our business skills in a very practical way,” he said.
Joshua Shaw, who was part of the winning team, described the experience as challenging but rewarding.
“Working with students on the other side of the world was not always easy but it taught us a lot about time management and delegation,” he said.
“My communication skills have improved and I now have a greater awareness of different cultures.”
Chris Littlewood, Australian Business Development Manager, CombiLift, has been very impressed with the way the students have approached the brief.
“CombiLift has a range of equipment which has been developed with unique capabilities for lifting and storing loads across the logistics industry,” he said.
We need good, practical, creative ideas about how to develop our business in Australia and the level of commitment and interest from the students has been very impressive.
“The project has prompted Combilift in Australia to review and refine our marketing strategy and we have taken on board many of the innovative ideas and suggestions made by the students and are integrating them into our local marketing plan."
The other universities involved in this project were Satakunta University of Applied Sciences and Metropol University of Applied Sciences in Finland and Dundalk Institute of Technology in Ireland.
Story: Ainslie Logsdon