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Business Agility in the Evolving Workforce

Eighty-Five percent of companies with global supply chains experienced at least one supply chain disruption in the previous 12 months.1 Risk is inherently unpredictable. Fortunately, the current workforce is undergoing its own transformation to be able to identify and manage risk on a global basis.

For more than 35 years I have worked with companies and manufacturers around the world on supply chain related business opportunities. One thing senior executives of those firms all had in common was a relentless, positive perspective and motivation for improvements in the global supply chain. Risk management has become the pervasive mantra throughout the supply chain world, but as technology evolves the need for increased business agility is at an all-time high. As manufacturers continue to adopt more technology and become more sophisticated and global, not only do they become more vulnerable to risk, they also have more opportunities to manage risk.

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Research and Development – Who are the Global Leaders?

May 1, 2013 at 10:03 am PST

Following on from my recent blog about “Is Manufacturing Coming Back to the US?” one of Morgan Stanley’s Investment guys, Ruchir Sharma, (Managing Director and the head of the Emerging Markets Equity team) has a book out called ‘Breakout Nations’ and in it he says:

“Every Investment idea is right for a while”

He was talking to Fareed Zakaria on his GPS program. Fareed cited that in the 1980’s investing in Japan made you a big winner until the 90’s came around. In the 1990’s it was all about Tech stocks. Then the Tech bubble burst. The Fad for the 2000’s was emerging markets.

And he asked are emerging markets submerging? I was interested mainly because the discussion lead to which countries invest most in R&D, and that is a leading indicator of success for economies worldwide. In fact, the numbers don’t lie. It looks like we may be entering a new phase with different leaders of growth, and it may be the US that becomes the new focus of manufacturing and innovation.

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Cisco Power Over EtherNet (POE) – What’s the Benefit to Your Business?

April 25, 2013 at 11:11 am PST

An introduction to how Cisco Industrial POE can simplify electrical wiring, increase device portability, and lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). This is available on the Cisco IE3000 and IE2000 Series products now.

IP devices are becoming Ubiquitous, and the Internet of things is upon us, and predictions are for billions of devices connected over the Internet of Everything. So, what does this mean in terms of connectivity? Will everything be wireless? Clearly not for several reasons, including up-stream and downstream high speed connectivity with data centers and storage, and issues of reliability in harsh environments. However, many devices such as sensors will be wireless, and they’ll need to be back-hauled back to the data center or control areas.

So those sensors and devices, which may or not be battery powered, will need to connect to a wired infrastructure of some sort. Many will need a wire-line, especially in the world of manufacturing, energy and utilities.  That’s where Power over Ethernet, or PoE, is proving invaluable. Read More »

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Is Manufacturing Coming Back to the US?

April 22, 2013 at 11:49 am PST

Manufacturing Exports up over past 18 months for USA.

Douglas Burtnick of Aberdeen Asset Management was heard on NBR recently talking about how the US export story is really interesting, and often overlooked by those not focused on the manufacturing industry. He said…

 “Companies are seeing external demand for anything from machinery, to electronics, to chemicals, and they’re starting to think about where they really want to manufacture those products. That’s a big deal, because this is the first time in several decades that we’ve actually thought about manufacturing coming back to the US.”

Clearly that affects Aberdeen’s investment philosophy, but he also points out how the phenomenon will affect different regions in the US, and the types of products that will be built here.

This is a significant change from companies going overseas to look for lower costs. So what’s caused the change? Most agree that there are three major reasons.

  • US Manufacturing  is humming

    . US Manufacturing is humming

    The first is to do with the issues of distance, communications and language. Transportation costs are significant. Whilst communication and collaboration techniques from companies like Cisco enable real time connected manufacturing, meaning that manufacturing is becoming more connected, this makes the US itself more connected. Overseas transportation costs of materials and goods themselves  can still be significant, and a clear target for reduction.

  • The third area has been well articulated by commentators. Read More »

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One Size Does Not Fit All – Cisco Embedded Industrial Solutions

Walking around the 2013 Hannover Messe Faire can be a daunting task whether its navigating through the Hannover campus and its’  13 co-located tradeshows Leitmessen-2013or figuring out which one of the broad range of special events, forums and key note speaking engagements to attend.  One thing is for certain.  The Internet of Things”, The Integrated Industry”  and “The Industrial Revolution 4.0″  themes all describe the evolution of connecting, embedding and extracting intelligence from previously unconnected devices. Although the industries can not come to a consensus on what to call this paradigm shift, one thing is for certain….The chosen protocol that’s empowering this evolution is ETHERNET.

The challenge lies in integrating Ethernet functionality into devices, machines or automation equipment that doesn’t always conveniently fit into a 1u, 2u, 3u, 4u… or DIN rail mounted enclosures.  Designers, integrators and machine builders need a flexible alternative to address the diverse applications, size and environmental considerations required to truly take advantage of deploying anytime, anywhere, any device connectivity to industrial automation applications.

ess2020Cisco is a pioneer in providing robust, and scalable embedded technology solutions.  Kevin Holcolmb, Cisco Technical Marketing Engineer, discusses our new ESS 2020 Embedded Switch.   Read More »

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