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Machine Builder Business Models, Sustainability and Innovation

So my wife and I recently took a two week vacation to Alaska – without computers or anything but camera’s and our ever important smartphones. I didn’t realize that Marie Hattar, our Segment VP was going to write a blog about the importance of vacations and productivity – see that here. Imagine that, I overachieved via a vacation!

At any rate, back to the vacation – we left on Sunday so Saturday was reserved for clothes washing and packing. Great plan until the motor on the washing machine froze. We ended up Saturday night finishing the wash at her father’s house. Then after the trip (that was fabulous by the way. Everyone needs to take a cruise through the Inside Passage!) we ended up having the repair service visit to confirm the motor was shot (new motor cost more than the washer was worth, so conclusion: buy a new one) and using his washer/dryer for another week. That meant bundling up two plus weeks of wash, carrying it to his house, doing the wash for a few hours, etc.

I was reminded of the challenges a manufacturing company would have due to an unexpected machine breakdown. You have to isolate the problem, get appropriate repairs, possibly upgrade the machine, possibly line up alternate manufacturing capability, etc. I’ve blogged before about the needs for continuing MRO schedules and the importance of properly servicing your manufacturing machines and lines. But how do you prepare for a critical machine that suddenly breaks? Can you rapidly sub out the work? Can you quickly get the machine replaced? What if the newer machine doesn’t fit in the line directly? Read More »

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Cisco and Partners add Business Value for Continental Tire

September 1, 2011 at 10:53 am PST

There’s been a lot of buzz on the Internet about the way Continental Tire of the Americas has vastly improved its manufacturing process. They adopted an innovative solution based on a Cisco architectural networking approach provided by Cisco Partner Applied Group combined with AeroScout’s asset tracking solution and a inventory management system from Global Data Sciences enabling their manufacturing facility achieve a 20 percent reduction in component tire losses. Now that’s significant!

 

Chet Namboodri interviews Peter Granger about the benefits Continental Tire is achieving from the Cisco Unified Wireless based manufacturing/wip solution

It was a real pleasure for me to take part in  the Customer case study event organized by Cisco, AeroScout and Global Data Sciences for me to speak about the Cisco contribution. The video gives a short summary as Chet Namboodri, Cisco Industry Blogger-in-Chief and Global Managing Director of Cisco’s Manufacturing Industry Marketing interviews me about what was said, and the benefits Continental expects.

That event is where I met up with folks from Continental, AeroScout and Global Sciences  to hear from the customer first hand how the solution  is increasing production and efficiency in its North America manufacturing plant. That plant is located in Mount Vernon, Illinois, and it produces more than 1,000 different tire SKU’s in its 60-acre (2.6 million square-foot) facility.

The implemented solution leverages Continental Tire’s Cisco Unified Wireless Network to add a Real-Time Location System (RTLS) and automated Work-in-Process (WIP) tracking without having to install a proprietary network of readers and sensors. That’s key. Cisco provides standards-based solutions that work well with a customers backhaul, which, for most customers is also Cisco. Cisco’s Architectural approach means networking elements and processes work well together with ‘compatibility’ tested solutions such as those from AeroScout.

But now back to the customer… Read More »

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Can You Destroy It?

August 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm PST

What’s the best way to demonstrate the physical durability of a new router? How about a spec sheet detailing stress test results? Not at Cisco; video of the router being used as a basketball and dog food plate gets the point across much more clearly. I was pleasantly shocked when I saw the abuses endured by Cisco’s new ISR 819 Router. It survived not only immersion in hot coffee but also a baking in a toaster oven.

Read More »

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The Customer is King

August 22, 2011 at 11:39 am PST

Thank you all for the warm welcome. I am very excited to join the community and look forward to interacting with everyone!

As Chet mentioned, I will be involved in expanding the social media platform for the Cisco industry team.

I am fascinated by the new relationships that exist between businesses and customers as a result of social media. In the old paradigm, traffic was mostly one way: customers were inundated with sales and marketing information but rarely given the opportunity to provide insightful feedback. Not anymore. Via social media, the customer really is king. Customers rightly now expect a relationship that is collaborative, on-demand, automated, and in real-time. A customer can become a renowned expert and evangelist for a company – or embarrass a company by publicly criticizing its customer service.

Smart companies will embrace and promote this new relationship. It’s the best customer focus group on the planet, and it’s free! However, social media isn’t the goal but rather the journey. A smart company will also have a proper social media strategy, not just a social media presence. This is where I hope to make my biggest contribution. The Manufacturing Industry team has embarked on this social media journey to engage with you, our audience.  We need to be leading the conversation, listening properly and reaching the right people.  I hope that you will join me in this exciting process as active members and contributors as I help guide that journey. Thanks again for the warm welcome, and stay tuned!

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Welcome, Andrew Lach, newest member of the Manufacturing Industry blog team!

Please join me in welcoming Andrew Lach to the Cisco blog and our Cisco industry team! Andrew joins us as a recent MBA graduate from Duke University and will be leading the development of our social media strategy and platform. Prior to Cisco, Andrew led a unique career in Biotechnology, first as a scientist and later as a technology developer. He has also recently worked with virtualization software product marketing in the exciting new field of cloud computing.

I believe that Andrew’s background will bring a unique, interesting perspective and skill-set to our team and blogging community. He has led previous marketing and social media initiatives including guerrilla marketing campaigns and YouTube content creation. We greatly look forward to joining Andrew in action as our Blog Administration Manager. Welcome, Andrew!

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