Centers work for state business and industry

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by in Academic Departments, Annual Report, Economic Impact, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Issues, Research

The Wisconsin Idea was created as a way to keep the benefits of UW-Madison education from being an isolated island of knowledge and technological advances. In 2013, the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) and the UW E-Business Consortium (UWEBC)—two of the biggest bridges connecting university research and Wisconsin industries—are celebrating anniversaries.

For the past 20 years, the QRM center has been helping member companies reduce company-wide lead times to become more efficient and profitable in the increasingly competitive global marketplace. And for the past 15 years, the UWEBC has fostered a collaborative learning community for Wisconsin’s leading companies, and has focused on thought leadership, business best practices and emerging technologies.

One of the architects of these two bridges, QRM founding director and now-Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Emeritus Rajan Suri, wanted to show that U.S. manufacturers could compete against manufacturers worldwide regardless of labor costs. Suri and current QRM Center director, Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Ananth Krishnamurthy, have done just that over the past 20 years, helping more than 200 companies improve their bottom lines by shaving inefficiencies and reducing lead times from assembly to delivery.

Seeing the QRM Center as a partnership between companies, faculty and students at UW-Madison, Suri could not be prouder of the center’s success. “We’ve not only preserved manufacturing jobs,” he says, “but we’ve grown manufacturing jobs in our member companies in the face of stiff global competition.”

While the QRM Center is focused on company-wide strategies, the UWEBC applies a holistic view of e-business to its member companies from diverse industries. In 1998, its founder, Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Raj Veeramani, realized that UW-Madison was uniquely positioned to provide a trusted, non-commercial environment where companies can explore, learn about, and examine different e-business technologies and strategies.

Global competition and accelerating advances in technology will require companies to be increasingly nimble, Veeramani says. “The cross-pollination of best practices and innovative ideas, within and across industry sectors, through UWEBC’s unique collaborative learning community is a powerful mechanism to amplify the Wisconsin Idea and to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. companies.”Bucky Badger head

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