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Experiential Learning Center


Projects ~ 2005

Village of Forest Park- Business Planning

The Village of Forest Park had an outdated and fragmented public image. The village needed a new brand strategy the business community could support. Working with the Village of Forest Park, the Madison Street Merchants Association, the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce, and the Forest Park Main Street Redevelopment Association, the Village of Forest Park ELC team recommended the following:

  • Phase I: Brand Development
    • Pursue a branding strategy that emphasizes the uniqueness of Forest Park
    • Convey an accurate representation of Forest Park through the brand
    • Develop a unified message and a consistent visual image of the community
  • Phase II: Brand Implementation
    • Pursue low-cost "guerilla" marketing tactics displaying the village logo such as shopping bags and receipts, blookmarks and flyers, vehicle ornaments, events, postcards and premium items
    • Remove competing Web sites with outdated information
    • Develop an official village Web site that includes e-marketing, navigation, site features and unification


EIGERlab- Market Research

The EIGERlab Technology Commercialization Center (TCC) partnered with the ELC to study the market potential for "disruptive technologies," specifically precision small parts. The EIGERlab ELC team conducted a quantitative analysis of the market size for precision small parts. The team provided EIGERlab guidance for planning and developing incubator industries in the micromanufacturing in the Rockford area.


Grant Thornton Corporate University- Internal Global Marketing Plan

Grant Thornton LLP partnered with the ELC to develop an integrated global marketing plan aimed at raising awareness among students, faculty and student influencers about Grant Thornton LLP, its potential, and its offerings. To learn about its target market and the factors that most influence this group, the Grant Thornton ELC team developed, collected and analyzed surveys, conducted focus groups and interviewed university faculty. Based on their research, the Grant Thornton ELC team recommended repositioning Grant Thornton LLP as a premier organization which provides long term career growth and continuous learning opportunities. The team also suggested Grant Thornton LLP and Grant Thornton University pursue specific internet marketing, nationwide marketing and on campus marketing tactics.


AgTech- Emerging Market Analysis

The AgTech New Uses Entrepreneur Development Center (AgTech) wanted to gain insight into emerging markets in the bio-based materials and energy sectors. The AgTech ELC team conducted research and evaluated several product opportunities for Dried Distriller Grain solubles (DDGs), a by-product of ethanol production. The team recommended Agtech pursue adding DDGs to landscape stones.


Nicor Gas- Optimizing Efficiency for Field Operations

The NICOR ELC team created a plan to optimize the efficiency and minimize the cost of field operations for the NICOR Gas customer service organization. The team suggested allocating work to specific resources based on the attributes of both the available work and resources. Key in this effort was the ability to forecast, with accuracy, the actual workload for given periods and optimally staff resources accordingly. Also, Key Performance Indicators were achieved/improved upon as a result of this endeavor.


Caterpillar, Inc. - Differentiated Orders Project

The project team worked on an inventory process project that is a part of the "Differentiated Orders" issue Caterpillar is facing. This team modeled Caterpillar's inventory buffers and sized those buffers to optimum levels based on order rates that now allow production/order flexibility while minimizing holding costs.


Caterpillar, Inc. - Employment Forecasting Tool Project

The ELC team developed an employment forecasting tool that is now being used to determine future needs in the organization. It gives the organization the ability to view needs at an aggregate level and to drill down to specific departments. This tool is not only used to forecast future employment needs, but it also assists in meeting training needs. It uses historical data on termination sources, future termination expectations, sales forecast and production plans.


Caterpillar, Inc. - Executive Information System Project

The ELC team developed an Executive Information System that gives each department head access to data that is pertinent to his or her product group and the division in a dashboard format. This system has the capability to allow him or her/VP to input directly his or her forecast for consolidation in the aforementioned Rolling Forecast Process. The system includes trend information, results of operations with variance analysis, unit build, shipment schedules, and forecast information.


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