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Productivity Gains Through Culture, Visuality, and Collaboration (Part 4): Building a Business Case for Collaboration

Collaboration is again on my mind as I prepare to board a giant Airbus A380—the largest passenger jet in service today—for the long flight from San Francisco to India via Frankfurt.

I think about the various problems reported about the A380 program. The plane was essentially built in France and finished in Germany. The two locations used different versions of engineering software to design the aircraft’s incredibly complex wiring and electronics. Needless to say, the designs were not compatible, leading to an enormous amount of rework and production delays. This resulted in higher production costs, canceled orders, and billions of euros in lost revenue. It is doubtful that the A380 program will ever be a commercial success for Airbus.

Could more effective collaboration and communications capabilities have prevented this scenario? I think so. In fact, the business case for improved collaboration has never been clearer. Read More »

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Productivity Gains Through Culture, Visuality, and Collaboration (Part 3): Extended Workplace Visuality and Pervasive Collaboration

In Part 2, I explained why organizational culture and leadership are probably the most important factors contributing to gains in employee productivity and innovation. This week, I’d like to describe two additional, highly essential enablers: extended workplace visuality and pervasive collaboration.

Extended Workplace Visuality: A visual workplace is one in which information needed to collaborate, engage, and stay productive is made available at the right time and place, rather than hidden away in spreadsheets and other documents on various employees’ laptops.

Visual displays have complemented lean manufacturing practices on the plant floor for many years, significantly reducing work-in-process inventories and manufacturing lead times, while driving cost and quality improvements. Visual thinking has also been adopted in environments such as airports and hospitals to improve operations, customer service, safety, and quality. Read More »

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Bombardier Trains and Cisco Systems – Connecting the Human Network

July 31, 2012 at 2:29 pm PST

For those of us who didn’t know, Bombardier builds what they call “complete,  sustainable rail transportation systems’. These  days that’s important.

Bombardier’s customers are transit agencies around the world, and the company must continually innovate to help its customers operate trains efficiently, safely, and with a superior passenger experience. Bombardier came to Cisco for assistance in developing an on-board network that will give its customers efficient, cost-effective capabilities that enhance the passenger experience.

Peter Granger, Industry Marketing Manager talks about Bombardier’s implementation of a ruggedized mobile network

Customer comment: “Transit agencies purchase their railcar systems with the expectation of them lasting for many years,” says Erik Larsen, Engineering Specialist II, Network Communications and Security for Bombardier. “Cisco helped us design a network that provides leading-edge industrial intelligence to support agencies’ strategies for attracting and maintaining ridership while easily scaling to meet their changing needs over time.” Read More »

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The new manufacturing workforce enabled by Cisco Unified Access

July 31, 2012 at 4:34 am PST

My eldest nephew is a recent college graduate.  He lives in Boston and walks to work, which is less than 2 miles from his apartment.  When I was his age, I commuted fifty miles in bumper-to-bumper traffic to get to work (uphill, both ways)!

Young, skilled workers who want to live, work and socialize locally are pushing companies to locate in cities.  Many employers are accommodating the hiring demands of the new workforce, as a means to recruit and retain new talent.

An estimated 10 million manufacturing jobs are currently unfilled due to a growing skills gap.  As the talent pool shrinks, companies are paying close attention to what the next generation of skilled workers wants – all with the end goal of employing, retaining and keeping workers away from the competition.

Watch the video that I refer to later in the blog

An undeniable truth is that these young workers, and most of their not-so-young co-workers, want the freedom to use their own personal smartphones and tablets at work. And more than ever, they want to use them from anywhere, even when they’re on the move. This mobile BYOD desire is causing an avalanche of new devices (15 billion by 2015), applications and cloud-based services.

Business and IT leaders are paying attention.  A May 2012 Cisco IBSG Horizons Study reveals that IT is saying yes to BYOD. A whopping 95% of respondents say their organizations permit employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the workplace.  Have a look at Peter Granger’s blog to learn about how manufacturers are implementing BYOD.

Working according to our own terms does present a variety of new business and IT infrastructure challenges. And thanks to Cisco Unified Access, employers can safely accommodate the demands of the new workforce, and enhance their own business productivity in the process. 

The new workforce’s insistence on working their way may not only change the way we do business; it just might ease that bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic!

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Welcome Sue Nolin, Industry Marketing Manager, to the Manufacturing Industry Blog

July 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm PST

It’s a pleasure to introduce Sue Nolin, Cisco’s newest Manufacturing Industry Marketing team member.

Sue Nolin rejoins Cisco after ten years in the world of successful networking start-ups.  She was formerly with Cisco’s VPN and Security Business Unit, as the result of Cisco’s acquisition of Atliga Networks in 2000.  Sue has since sold and marketed networking solutions commonly used by manufacturing industries.  They  include WiFi, RFID and Unified Communications technologies, and how they are applied to address business problems.

Sue looks forward  to sharing her views and thoughts on manufacturing  industry-relevant topics and to  your comments on her blogs. Agree or disagree? Tell us! Sue has a bachelor’s degree in English/Communications from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts,  so don’t criticize her writing -- just her views!

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