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E-Business Institute helps industries enhance business strategies

Dharmaraj (

Dharmaraj ("Raj") Veeramani (large image)

UW-Madison has launched the Wisconsin E-Business Institute, a campus-wide initiative to help Wisconsin industries develop a better understanding of how Internet-enabled technologies and practices can increase a company's competitive edge in fierce global markets. The institute will complement the College of Engineering-based E-Business Consortium (formerly named the Consortium for Global E-Commerce) collaborative learning activities by conducting multidisciplinary research and leading outreach efforts that enhance e-business practices among the state's core industries, including manufacturing, distribution, healthcare and finance. For more information on institute projects, see

Polymer Engineering Center and E-Business Institute work to Boost Growth In Wisconsin Plastics Industry

University of Wisconsin-Madison received a $600,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help enhance sustainable economic growth in the state's plastics industry cluster. At a time when original equipment manufacturers are increasingly outsourcing to suppliers in foreign countries, this grant for a university-industry partnership will help Wisconsin increase its competitive advantage in global markets.

Employment in Wisconsin's plastics industry ranks tenth in the nation, totaling more than 53,500 jobs, and is ranked 12th in the nation for plastics shipments, totaling $9.9 billion in 2001, according to Plastics Data Source.

The grant from NSF's Partnership for Innovation Program will be used for research, education and outreach activities to drive innovative plastics product development, foster collaborative innovation networks, and enhance industrial competitiveness through technology transfer of new polymer materials, processes and tools.

This university-industry partnership to enhance economic growth will be led by the UW Polymer Engineering Center and the UW E-Business Institute in partnership with the State of Wisconsin and other UW campuses, technical colleges and corporations in the state's plastics manufacturing cluster.

EBC forms radio frequency identification workgroup

The E-Business Consortium (EBC) has formed an industry workgroup on RFID (radio frequency identification). "RFID is poised to fundamentally change the way organizations track, trace and manage their assets. This will have major implications for various industries including manufacturing, distribution, retail, healthcare and pharmaceuticals," says Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Raj Veeramani This workgroup will focus on analyzing the true capabilities and limitations of RFID technologies, validating the practicality and potential business benefits associated with them, understanding the keys to successful deployment and adoption of RFID technology applications, and gaining insight into the future evolution of these technologies.

E-procurement tool benefits B-to-B interactions

Although many of Rockwell Automation's worldwide customers hoped to implement e-procurement systems that help improve ordering and fulfillment transactions within the company, after the systems were in place, the results were not as successful as Rockwell Automation hoped. Working with researchers from the college's E-Business Consortium (EBC), Rockwell Automation staff learned the breakdown was not necessarily technological, but often the result of organizational glitches.

Additionally, EBC researchers developed an assessment tool to help Rockwell Automation determine its customers' readiness for adopting an e-procurement system. The tool establishes benchmarks for companies at the development, rollout and adoption phases of their e-procurement strategies. And after they've implemented the system, the tool also provides a "scorecard," so that companies can tell which aspects are working or not working, and why.

Professor and EBC Director Raj Veeramani says that because the tool really identifies various areas of risk, it can apply to many companies and many situations. "The tool relates to any type of business-to-business interaction," he says. "So you can tailor it easily."