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Experiential Learning Center

Projects ~ 2006

Caterpillar, Inc.

In spring 2006 the Caterpillar Aurora manufacturing facility sought to improve the performance of the "man-hours ratio." The ratio of man-hours versus machine hours had been increasing to the dismay of plant management. Caterpillar was looking for an automated Web-based reporting tool to identify the problem areas and allocate manpower to the different sections of the plant more efficiently. The Cat ELC team developed a high level design concept for the development of this tool.

Mental Health Association of the Rock River Valley - Bridging the Gap

The Mental Health Association ELC team addressed the communication gap that exists among medical professions treating certain forms of mental illnesses in the Northern Illinois region. The team recommended a comprehensive Web site, www.rockfordmentalhealth.org, that Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) can use to gain knowledge for ongoing patient care. The Web site is a tool sponsored by MHARRV. PCPs are able to access and use the Web site as a convenient and efficient resource for information regarding Mental Health. The Web site has a primary focus of providing PCPs information about resources and support networks available and fosters a closer working relationship between the different entities that provide mental health care in the Rock River Valley area.

AgTech Initiative- Market Analysis and Planning

Deveco Corporation and the AgTech Initiative partnered with the ELC to commercialize an ethanol-based glass cleaner, WinWash R. The AgTech ELC team conducted a thorough market analysis and developed a marketing plan for the product. The team's recommendations included a new product name: soclean, a new label, new packaging and a new color and scent for the product. The team also proposed a retail price for the product and channels in which soclean could be distributed. Finally, the team developed marketing materials and sample sizes to help promote soclean.

Caterpillar, Inc. - Competitor Sales Analysis

For more than 80 years, Caterpillar Inc. (www.cat.com) has been building the world's infrastructure and, in partnership with its worldwide dealer network, is driving positive and sustainable change on every continent. With 2005 sales and revenues of $36.34 billion, Caterpillar is a technology leader and the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines. This ELC team conducted research to identify the current market influences of Sanitary Landfill infrastructure development in India. They performed a market segmentation analysis to assess the Indian Sanitary Landfill market and the dollar opportunity for compactors in India. In addition, the team delivered a market analysis, a quantitative forecast of the market size and growth rate for the emerging market in India, a marketing plan for compactors in India, and various business model scenarios.

Caterpillar, Inc. - Caterpillar Wage Structure Analysis

The Aurora, Illinois Caterpillar manufacturing facility is one of the largest employers in the greater Aurora area with roughly 2,500 diverse, skilled workers. Employees use cutting edge technology to manufacture, weld and assemble wheel loaders, hydraulic excavators and power train components. This ELC team investigated the competitiveness of Caterpillar wages in the counties surrounding the Aurora facility. The team administered a survey to local area manufacturers, analyzed the results, and made recommendations to address wage structure and retention at the Aurora facility.

Masie Center's Learning Consortium - Next Generation Learners

The Masie Center's Learning Consortium (www.masie.com/masie/) brings members together from over 200 companies worldwide to collaborate and learn on the issues and challenges they face in the field of learning. The Masie Center's Learning Consortium asked this ELC team to study the impact "next generation learners" (NextGen) will have on the learning cultures of the organizations they will join with over the next few years. The team investigated the characteristics of NextGen learners including how they process information, collaborate, work, want to learn and interact in a social environment. They also explored whether NextGen learners are truly different or just a leading indicator of the future. Finally, the team presented recommendations to attract, develop, and retrain NextGen learners.

Mental Health Association - Marketing Plan Creation and Implementation

The Mental Health Association of the Rock River Valley (MHARRV) (www.mharrv.org) works to prevent mental illness; provide public information and education; promote and improve care and treatment; and offer hope and support to people experiencing mental and emotional problems. Group Hope is a support group initiative in partnership with the MHARRV. Group Hope seeks to help people suffering from clinical depression or bipolar disorder by providing a forum where they can work together, along with other caring individuals, to help and support one another. Group Hope asked this ELC team to develop a marketing plan to raise awareness of Group Hope and the overall benefits of support groups. The ELC team developed and implemented five promotional vehicles to increase awareness. The team also conducted a feasibility study and launched a new Group Hope chapter at the NIU Women's Resource Center in DeKalb, Illinois.

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