Annual Report 2000: Engineering InterAction
College of Engineering / University of Wisconsin-Madison

Industrial Engineering

The Dean's Message

College Departments

Biomedical Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Engineering Physics

Engineering Professional Development

Industrial Engineering

Materials Science and Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Interdisciplinary Degree Programs

2000-2001 Industrial Advisory Board

College Consortia

College Centers

College Services

Private Support

1999-2000 Financial Summary

Faculty and Department Directory

College Publications


Cycle time reduction: figuring the savings

John Deere fleet

hen John Deere Horicon Works completed a manufacturing cycle time reduction project with its supplier, Danfoss Fluid Power, cycle time was reduced more than 50 percent. While this accomplishment made the project a success, the savings that resulted weren't as apparent.

UW-Madison graduate student Chris Schluter and School of Business Associate Professor Ella Mae Matsumura (right) collaborated with College of Engineering Professor Rajan Suri (left) and his Center for Quick Response Manufacturing ( to determine the actual cost reduction. Their project, which developed a framework for manufacturing cycle time reduction cost accounting, had two main goals. First, the researchers needed to create a standard process to determine the financial impact of manufacturing cycle time reduction. Second, they needed to accurately estimate the cost reduction of previously implemented projects, like that with Danfoss Fluid Power.

Suri and his team realized that product costs are driven by the direct cost for work on the product and the indirect costs related to support activities. They hypothesized that the total change in cost is a function of the changes in both direct and indirect activities. The team noted that efforts to reduce cycle times usually resulted in reducing both direct and indirect activities, establishing a link between manufacturing cycle time and manufacturing cost.

This link helped the researchers develop the template they needed to calculate the cost effects of cycle time reduction, thus meeting their first goal. The template was used to calculate the 13-percent savings Danfoss realized after the manufacturing cycle time reduction, clearly illustrating both the power of quick response manufacturing and the effectiveness of the new accounting methodology.

Researchers study the who, what, when, where, why and how of inventory

Rockwell Automation is creating a modeling and analysis framework to study and improve their multi-echelon distribution network. The company wants to evaluate distribution network configurations and compute tradeoffs in supply chain inventory/service levels for alternative policies and operation-level strategies. To assist them with this daunting task, Rockwell Automation awarded a $235,000 grant to a team affiliated with the Global E-Business Consortium.

Leading the research effort are Associate Professor Leyuan Shi and consortium director and Professor Raj Veeramani with School of Business Professor Ed Marien and Assistant Professor Jim Rappold. The team and its graduate students are working with the guidance of Rockwell Automation managers Natraj Shanker and Dan Ludwikoski.

By employing a combination of network modeling, simulation and optimization methodologies, Rockwell Automation is gaining insight into their distribution network structure, the interrelationships between various locations and echelons of inventories and other resources in the network, as well as network dynamics over time. The project also examines management systems and operating policies and is developing inventory decision models to determine appropriate stock levels at Rockwell Automation's manufacturing facility and in a portion of the distribution network.

Making the information age accessible

Standard telecommunications systems could become more accessible thanks to a five-year, $3.37 million Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) grant. The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education, awarded the grant to a team of industrial engineering and Gallaudet University (Washington, D.C.) researchers. This grant is in addition to a five-year, $6.75 million grant from RERC on Information Technology Access. Professor Gregg C. Vanderheiden, director of the UW's Trace Research and Development Center, and Judith E. Harkins, associate professor of communication arts and director of the Technical Assistance Program at Gallaudet, are principal investigators on the grant.

The focus of the Telecommunications Access RERC is to identify strategies for making standard telecommunications systems more directly usable by people with all types and degrees of disability and to work with industry and government to put access strategies into place.

The RERC's research program takes on new significance and immediacy with the Federal Communications Commission's adoption of regulations requiring all standard telecommunications products to be designed to be accessible and usable by people with disabilities wherever this is readily achievable.

"The purpose of this grant is to see to it that people with disabilities--and all of us as we age--will be able to take advantage of these new technologies," says Vanderheiden.

Harold J. Steudel, Chair
3107 Mechanical Engineering Building
1513 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706-1572

Tel: 608/262-2686
Fax: 608/262-8454


Copyright 2000 University System Board of Regents


Published: September 2000