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IoT in Action: Food Manufacturing and CPG

Recently, I was able to spend a day with a leading food manufacturer whose products you most likely enjoyed at your Fourth of July barbecue.  I was with this customer to see what they have implemented and help them understand some next steps to leverage IoT to enhance their business.

I was pleasantly surprised with the automation that this CPG customer already had in place. I was even more pleased with the fact that they use our joint Cisco and Rockwell Automation architecture as their standard for their industrial network implementation.  They had just completed a new processing-to-packaging line that had over 200 different sensors aggregated up to 15 Stratix switches (Rockwell OEM products from Cisco) and then are bringing this to their operational systems for tracking and tracing.

The amount of robotics in use at this food company was pretty incredible to witness.  The automation improvements were not taking away jobs but rather, adding value and new ways to up-skill  line workers to take on more decision making and control of their roles in operations.  Automation in this sense is moving the mundane repetitive roles away from human beings and into machines.  This in itself adds tremendous value  in terms of health and safety improvements.    We are seeing this with not just this company but other CPG customers as well.  Take a look at the CPG video below which profiles some additional automation  use cases in action:

Currently their office systems are virtually separated from their operations but this will cease in the next few weeks as they are seeing benefits of tying all their operational, planning and other systems all together.  This is where Cisco and our partners are bringing value—to help them understand what data they have and how this can move from data to intelligence.  One key area is bringing the operational data into preventative data software to no longer “run to break down” but start to plan maintenance plans and schedules.  Once we have this in place, we are going to help this company move to predictive maintenance where we take all the variables (the human resources aspects- who is available, scheduling, ordering, forecasting and more) to drive to schedule maintenance depending upon the many variables for optimization.

At the same time, we are talking about building metrics so that the various locations can be compared to start to see what can be improved at the locations from other locations to start to drive plant optimization to the next level.  This includes standardizing metrics across all locations, standardizing reporting and delivery mechanisms such as our remote access capabilities and visual factory solutions.  The reason they are able to do this is that they have already started to drive standardization of their networking down to the PLC layer following the Cisco and Rockwell architecture.  Once this is in place, the drive towards IoT and IoE are much easier.

Others have done this across multiple industries and we are seeing this start to become implemented not just in the big companies but also the small and mid-size companies that make up the bulk of our world manufacturing economy.   IoT can truly make a difference for food manufacturers, both big and small.  Thanks for reading.

Mfg.net Webcast Series: The Internet of Things

MFG

Partnering with Manufacturing.net, Cisco recently hosted Part II of a webcast series  on ‘The Internet of Things ’ for Manufacturing.  The content was very well received as it covered some key opportunities in Manufacturing today and how IoT technologies are helping enable an industrial renaissance in many markets today.  The first webcast   was joined by Steelcase’s CIO, Bob Krestakos, Joe Kann from Rockwell Automation and Tony Shakib from Cisco.  Meanwhile, for the second webcast, one of our key partners in the industrial space, Rockwell Automation joined us along with Harley Davidson.   Moderated by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director of Manufacturing.net,  the webcast speakers included David Gutshall, Infrastructure Design Manager at Harley Davidson, Rachel Conrad,  Global Business Manager   at Rockwell Automation and  Bryan Tantzen, Senior Director, IoT Business Unit at Cisco.

Both Part I and Part II are worthwhile, whether you want to learn more about the key areas that are ripe for the IoT opportunity or want to better understand enabling technologies or best practices.  In addition, I summarize David Gutshall’s comments on the Harley Davidson deployment and other best IoT practices in my blog, “IoT in Manufacturing: Insights and Best Practices”.    We hope you have time to check out these on-demand webcasts.  Thanks for reading.

Imagine the Possibilities with IoT and IoE

Cisco customers have asked me how the Internet of Everything and the Internet of Things are going to affect their everyday life.  My answer:  it can be mind-boggling how interconnected sensors and devices are going to impact our daily lives.

Specifically, in the industrial space, I get to work daily with our manufacturing and mining customers who want to understand best practices and deployments, and figure out how to implement various solutions to add value to their business.  Some of this may be tracking adjacent or similar markets with the nuanced changes to apply to their particular situation.

For example, one customer I have been working with is in the process of integrating 4-5 completely different systems into one tool to do correlation events.  In the past, one person had to have the intelligence to look at each of these disparate systems and then start to tie all of this together.  The issue is with the fact is the single person who has this intelligence is the only one who knows what to do.  This may have been job security for that individual, but the situation creates bottlenecks.

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An Update on Recent Industry Events and IoT in Manufacturing

It has been a crazy past three weeks with IoT and IoE for myself and also Cisco.  We recently hosted Cisco Live where we had over 25,000 attendees onsite and over 200,000 more attend virtually.  By the end of that week, I felt I had met each and every one and had at least a 15 minute conversation with them.  The buzz is there and our customers are telling us we are aligned to tackle this market and make IoT  in manufacturing take off.  Aside from our customers, I also had the pleasure to talk with leading industry and manufacturing analysts on our vision of IoT as well as various customer projects.  Here’s what one leading analyst blogged about right after CiscoLive:

“…current plant networks are like spangled spaghetti, which Cisco is attempting to untangle it based on its powerful networking routers and switches in a secure, simple and an effective way. The converged platform approach solves flexibility, scalability and responsiveness challenges of end-users. At a juncture, wherein customers across industry verticals are looking at standardization and standards-driven manufacturing, Cisco clearly has cracked the code with this platform approach.”  -

-Muthuraman Ramasamy, Frost & Sullivan

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Cisco Supply Chain Operations Places in Top 10 of Gartner Ranking

Congratulations to the Cisco Supply Chain Operations (CSCO) team. For seven consecutive years, Cisco has placed in the Top 10 of Gartner’s prestigious ranking!

Led by Cisco Senior VP John Kern, the supply chain operations team here at Cisco has undergone an extensive transformation and continues to be recognized globally as a best-in-class practitioner. With more than a thousand contract manufacturing and component suppliers, logistics (3PL) and other service partners, along with more than 25,000 orderable product IDs—which are broadly mixed amongst build cycles of engineer-to-order, configure-to-order, build-to-order and build-to-stock—the complexity and global scale of what our Cisco-resident supply chain gurus deal with on a daily basis could be staggering for some organizations but is managed with excellence by CSCO. Beyond the outstanding development and fulfillment supply chain and manufacturing management services rendered, CSCO has served as a tremendous expert asset and executive connection for our go-to-market expansion with manufacturing customers’ lines of business, particularly related to the Internet of Everything (IoE) market transition.

The splashy ad below illustrating a vision for the Internet of Things (IoT) has become much more of a reality and the technologies and products shown are in use within Cisco’s supply chain ecosystem today.

Recently, two Cisco colleagues — Edna Conway, VP CSCO and Chief Security Officer and Bob Dean, Director, Manufacturing and Energy Vertical, co-authored an excellent article for Manufacturing Leadership Journal entitled ‘The Fourth Dimension of Supply Chains’. The article highlights how new technologies are empowering supply chains as never before, and how they are also exposing enterprises and ecosystems to new risks.  Cisco’s comprehensive approach to mitigate risks and bolster confidence across the supply chain focuses on the four areas of malicious modification/substitution of technology, counterfeit products (both raw materials and finished goods), the security component of supply chain resiliency and misuse of intellectual property.

Discipline surrounding that fourth topic of securing intellectual property has become an even greater concern in the face of new business models and innovations with the application of IoE in manufacturing. Best-in-class manufacturers are, like Cisco, increasingly leveraging their supply chains and ecosystems to develop offering portfolios balanced between sustaining and disruptive innovations that are derived from scrutinized customer segmentation and guided by such principles as value-driven design discipline, cross-BU portfolio platform awareness and rationalization, differentiated solution-service bundling, and connected system-level lifecycle services (e.g., Product as a Service). All of these design and innovation processes require immersive and intimate collaboration with customers and across supply chains.

Cisco’s relevance to enable manufacturing supply chain and innovation strategies to achieve more transformative business outcomes has never been greater:

  • Virtualized and distributed compute with Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Supply Chain Collaboration accelerating time-to-market with value-oriented product and service offering innovation;
  • IoE-enabled ‘3D Value Chains’ with ubiquitous visibility accelerating portfolio rationalization decisions, improving throughput and enabling more sustainable supply chains;
  • Business video with IoE-enabled connectivity accelerating lifecycle service offerings throughout the supply chain, like remote access, monitoring and diagnostics with mobile expert/advisor.

What are some of the challenges, innovations and opportunities in your global supply chain today?  Join the conversation below and let me know.  Thanks for reading.

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