Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
January 2004
University of Wisconsin Ė Madison E-Business Institute Provides Support for Wisconsinís Industry Clusters

In 2003, the University of Wisconsin Ė Madison established a new campus-wide institute dedicated to translating corporate e-business vision into reality. The University of Wisconsin - Madison E-Business Institute (UWEBI) provides member companies a unique, collaborative and non-commercial environment where they can learn e-business best practices and address e-business challenges.

The UWEBI will serve as a statewide hub for multidisciplinary research and industry collaboration on e-business and e-commerce issues. It will help enhance economic development in the state by enabling e-business transformation of Wisconsinís industry clusters.

The UWEBI is characterized by a focus on leading-edge research, along with technology transfer and industry outreach, that enhances industry competitiveness. Through collaboration with other campuses, technical colleges, extension organizations and research institutions, UWEBI will establish a unique e-business competitive intelligence and knowledge-transfer network that is available statewide. The UWEBI is committed to enhancing economic development through outreach activities and large scale opportunities that benefit entire industry clusters, not just individual companies. It is also invested in building human capital through student involvement in research and outreach activities, and knowledge-dissemination to industry.

One initiative of the UWEBI is a partnership for innovation in Wisconsinís plastics industry cluster. The goal of this initiative is to foster collaborative innovation networks in the highly fragmented plastics industry. Innovative plastics product development through technology transfer of new polymer materials, processes and tools is a key part of this initiative.

Another initiative of the UWEBI is helping small Wisconsin companies adopt e-business practices to develop stronger ties with their large customers and deliver additional value to them thereby distinguishing themselves from the lower-cost foreign competition. Working with the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the UWEBI will develop and disseminate validated and cost-effective approaches for Internet-aided supply chain collaboration.

A third initiative of the UWEBI utilizes Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). RFID has major implications for manufacturing, distribution, retail, and healthcare, among others. The UWEBI is developing a RFID workgroup to gain insight into path-breaking ideas and technologies to invent new RFID-based products and services and to improve supply chain management and asset management processes.

The UWEBI will serve as Wisconsinís leading center for collaboration, technology innovation and industry outreach on e-business. The UWEBI will help enhance economic development by accelerating the understanding and successful adoption of e-business strategies, technologies and practices in Wisconsinís industry clusters.

UW-Madison School of Business and College of Engineering Professor Dr. Raj Veeramani is Director of the UW E-Business Institute and Consortium. For more information or to get involved in projects, contact Raj Veeramani at raj@engr.wisc.edu.

--Sheralynn Liantonio

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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