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Manufacturing Recovery? Who says?…

…well, it looks like several folks are saying it!

American Factories were going all out in September – is it a sign that the US economy is picking up?  Wall street certainly seemed to respond well to some key indicators at the beginning of October.

Take a look at some of the performance metrics below and you’ll get an indication of why…

  • The ISM (Institute for Supply Management) Index (PMI™)  rose to 51.5 for September from 49.6 in August. Anything above 50 shows growth (growing rather than contracting), and a nearly two point rise reverses previous months declines, the fastest pace since May.
  • Pace is slow, but signs are hopeful. The new orders index rose from 47.1 to 52.3 suggesting humming production this month, and suggests November will be good too.

However…

  • The economy isn’t growing as fast as the Fed Chairman would like. Hence an open-ended QE3 (Quantitive Easing 3) and a statement that interest rates will remain low until 2015.
  • JP Morgan Economists are saying that we’ve seen a slow down in US Manufacturing and it’s tracking more like the overall US economic growth – sluggish, suggesting the best may be behind us. Still growing though, but slowly.

Overall I’m a bull on US manufacturing. There are a number of US companies looking to bring back jobs from overseas. But the labor shortage in the US is getting worse. Baby Boomers retiring, not enough skilled or trained workers to take their place. A recent Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute study stated that manufacturing sector can’t find workers with the right skills to fill around 600,000 jobs. Hopefully Cisco’s Remote Expert and Cisco’s other solutions will help. Check out Ron Kafka’s blog titled “Realize Business-Wide Benefits with Cisco’s Remote Expert” to find more about Remote Expert. Read More »

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Cisco, Customers and Partner Speak of Possibilities at ITxpo

We all know something about the evolution of agriculture.  Once upon a time, a horse pulled a plow, led by a man who spent days upon days in the fields.  And small, local rivers were dammed to redirect water to crops.  Today, monster machines plow acres in minutes.  And irrigation systems feed farms that are hundreds of miles away. 

The long-term evolution of productivity and efficiency was dramatic.  But what does the near-term evolution of business processes look like?

I hope you can join Cisco at Gartner’s Symposium/ITxpo.  You’ll get near-term business evolution insights from folks like Barry Libenson, CIO of Land O’ Lakes, Inc., and Ron Gilson, CIO of Johnsonville Sausage, Inc.  They’ll join Marie Hattar, Cisco’s Vice President of Enterprise Segment Marketing and Bhavani Amirthalingam, World Wide Technology Inc.’s Vice President of Information Technology on Monday, October 22nd at 3:30 pm to discuss the topic, “Work Your Way: A Mobility Strategy for Business Success”.

Cisco’s Unified Workspace makes “Work Your Way” possible

Just a short decade ago manufacturers communicated by phone, by email and by foot. Many business conversations occurred in the same geographic location. Product management, operations meetings and training often occurred on the same campus. A company’s culture and reputation was defined by things like face-to-face meetings, hallway conversations, employee recognition and the attention provided to customers.

Today, employees, supply chains and processes are widely dispersed.  Meanwhile, skilled workers are retiring and they’re harder to replace.  What evolutionary solutions are manufacturers choosing in order to bring remote and shrinking resources together?   Read More »

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Welcome Michael Schwarz, IBSG, to the Manufacturing Industry Blog

Please Welcome Michael Schwarz to the Manufacturing Industry Blog

It is with great pleasure I introduce Michael Schwarz as our latest Manufacturing Industry Thought Leader. Michael has a distinguished career at Cisco and is currently director of automotive EMEA within the global manufacturing practice of the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG).

In this role, Michael consults with senior executives from the auto industry looking to capitalize on the transformative power of the Internet for faster innovation, superior customer experience, and new business models.

Michael brings more than 15 years of top management consulting experience and solid industry knowledge to the organization. Before joining Cisco, he was a senior principal with Booz Allen Hamilton based in Munich and Chicago. There, he worked for clients in the automotive, aerospace, industrial goods, and financial services industries. Prior to Booz Allen Hamilton, he worked at Siemens Nixdorf and ZF Friedrichshafen. Read More »

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Making peace between IT and Operations – Plant Engineering Article

Bridging the gap between IT and Operations

Understanding the shared goals can bring peace – and value to manufacturers.

Check out last quarters’ ‘Plant Engineering” Magazine (May 2012) and you’ll find Cisco’s published article where we discuss how the world of IT and Operations are coming together – and it’s no longer a clash of corporate titans, more a collaboration of corporate allies.

We talk about the convergence between IT and OT (Operational Technologies) as businesses are embracing open standards and enjoying increased value at lower costs, and the issues that can raise.

The article covers how important it is to remember that the fundamental purpose for the IT organization is to provide the availability and the protection of critical information. The manufacturing operations group on the other hand, needs to build a product to sell to customers for money. Sometimes, the two groups are at odds with each other over their respective priorities. It is possible, however, to reach a mutual understanding that can meet both groups’ priorities and goals.

Read More »

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Welcome Marc Girardot, IBSG, to the Manufacturing Industry Blog

Please Welcome Marc Girardot to the Manufacturing Industry Blog

It is with great pleasure that I introduce Marc Girardot as our latest Manufacturing Industry Thought Leader. Marc has a distinguished career at Cisco and is currently managing director of the Global Automotive Practice in the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG).

As a core team member of IBSG’s manufacturing senior staff, he provides strategic assistance to car manufacturers and to related organizations looking to capitalize on the transformative power of new technologies. Marc consults with senior executives from the auto industry and coordinates Cisco’s global efforts to accelerate innovation and industry  transformation in automotive.

Throughout the globe, Marc and his team have worked for most Auto OEMs on topics such Innovation, Connected Car, Customer Experience, Next Generation Dealers, the Car of the future, Distributed Engineering, and Corporate Culture.

Most recently, Marc co-authored with Michael Schwarz an industry-changing point of view called Electronics-ization in Automotive: Reinventing the Car Industry Model to Boost Profitable Innovation”  which I encourage you to read. Read More »

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