25 Aug Five Wisconsin Non-Tech Companies Win IT Awards
MADISON, WI – Five Wisconsin companies recently won CIO magazine’s CIO Award, given to 100 businesses annually based on their resourcefulness regarding the use of information technology(IT) within their enterprises. Alliant Energy, Lands’ End, Manpower Inc., Maysteel and Menasha Corp. each won the award, announced in the August 15 issue of the magazine. Alliant Energy and Manpower CIOs are on the cover of the magazine.
The magazine says the 100 honorees were chosen this year from 400applications, and the criteria included resourcefulness that allows the companies to preserve their IT capabilities and “invest in new systems to drive efficiency and fuel growth” even during an economic downturn. While other corporations have cut IT staff and have scraped systems when times got tough, these companies use creativity and ingenuity to apply information technology to cut costs, improve efficiency and to increase performance.
Menasha Corporation: Neenah, WI – Real-Time Computing Pays Off
Menasha Corp. was recognized for its early adoption of Linux that reduced data-center costs by 22 percent. The system’s real-time operations and business processes also transformed the corporation’s relationship with partners, suppliers and customers from one that was focused on product features to one based on customer service and improving customer knowledge of supply chain operations and packaging needs.
“We have found ways to leverage our technology investments to reduce costs, and at the same time improve our business processes,” said Edward Wojciechowski, vice president and Chief Information Officer of Menasha Corporation. “We have found that this positively affects our customers. And while we do it for our customers, it’s quite an honor to be recognized for these efforts by CIO magazine.”
Menasha Corp., which has 5,360 employees in 17 U.S. states and nine other countries, specializes in packaging and returnable plastic for manufacturing and commercial businesses.
Manpower: Milwaukee, WI – Increased Productivity Lowers Costs
Manpower was chosen for an award based on its successful implementation of technology programs that lowered the time and cost associated with its most common business processes, These include time entry for the employees that Manpower places on assignments as well as for data management for its employees and customers.
”Manpower’s success is centered in our ability to create a flexible workforce for businesses,” said Barbara Beck, executive vice president of U.S. and Canadian operations for Manpower Inc. “We’re honored to received the CIO 100 award because it gives our IT department the opportunity to showcase just how effective flexible staffing can be.”
Manpower is a leader in the staffing industry, providing workforce management services and solutions to customers through 4,000 offices in 63 countries.
Maysteel LLC: Menomonee Falls WI- Web Based Real-Time CRM
Headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Maysteel manufactures steel enclosures, sheet-metal enclosures for industrial and electric power distribution markets, sever boxes, kiosks that allow people to purchase advance tickets, racks and other storage boxes, said CIO Mary Fonder.
This isn’t the company’s first mention in CIO magazine—Fondersaid the company’s portal technology project for which it won its CIO award was highlighted in the Dec. 1 issue, as well. The web-based portal allows the company to pull sales and quality information out of the system on a daily basis, which means they can see the number of customer complaints and much more information. Before this project, they only received this updated information at the end of every period, and it took more than 12 hours to manually input it, Fonder said. Plus, customer complaints were often old by the time they’d see them.
Fonder can’t put a financial number on the savings the company has achieved with the project, but she said the project, which took about 18 months to complete from start to finish, makes “a lot more information available to people.”
“It’s nice to be recognized by CIO,” Fonder said .“One of the themes was to do more with less, and at the CIO conference, it was nice to have a blend of big and small companies and look at how each tries to make information more accessible,” she said.
Maysteel, which closed its Mayville plant in March according to the Business Journal of Milwaukee, is privately owned and was founded in 1936.
Alliant Energy: Madison, WI – Centers of Excellence
Alliant Energy’s entry in CIO reads: “Cross-functional IT team identifies common processes and equipment for managing storage, cutting costs by 58 percent.”
The IT department’s budget was cut by 10 percent, but it hardly affected the department because of the way it is structured, with centers of excellence. Current projects don’t put a strain on ongoing ones. Alliant’s IT systems helps employees create formal development plans for their careers and to keep them on the right track and motivated, according to CIO.
Alliant Energy Corporation is an energy-holding company with regulated utility providers as well as non-regulated companies involved in delivering energy-related products and services.
Lands’ End: Dodgeville, WI Systems Increase Revenue and Value
Lands’ End, the well-known clothing direct merchant, was honored for using “ASPs (application services provides) to deliver low-priority projects.” CIO magazine noted the companies strengths include asset management, staffing/sourcing, partnerships and value/governance.
The project the company won its award, Great Go-Togethers or GGT, is estimated to have created an additional $20 million in revenue for the company. GGT, according to CIO magazine, is a simple link between the product database and order-entry system. “A customer who orders a shower curtain may not have thought to order the liner as well,” said Senior Vice President and CIO Frank Giannantonio, in an interview in CIO magazine.
Lands’ End, which distributed 269 million catalogs in fiscal year 2001, also operates 16 outlet and Inlet stores in 4 states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and New York; plus 3 outlet stores in the United Kingdom and 1 in Japan. It adopted its commercial website in 1995, and today, landsend.com is the world’s largest apparel web site in terms of business volume.
Jennifer Braico is a freelance writer and a frequent contributor to the Wisconsin Technology Network. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.