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Integration and Customization in Manufacturing: Some Exciting Trends

Recently I wrote about a few real life examples of IDC Manufacturing Insights 2014 Predictions: Worldwide Manufacturing and their Top 10 predictions in two parts.  They can be found: Part 1 and Part 2.  I wanted to continue with this and wrap up the discussions with some additional examples.   Hopefully, this helps illustrate what is already happening today to help you see some real life examples that are already taking place.

IDC wrote about Product Lifecycle Management or PLM. Traditionally, this is something that has always been a standalone solution and not one that is integrated into the full product design process.  We are seeing an integration of this silo (as I mentioned in my first post on this series) into the product design earlier.  Not only are we seeing this in the design process but also in the actual manufacturing workflow and shop floor design as well.  When a change is made in the product it is quicker then ever before to make a change to the recipe or the manufacturing process with a ‘one click’ push to the operational side of the company.

This helps a company react to the changes that the customers are asking for and also is an incredibly quick way to start to integrate into the ‘mass customization’ that customers are asking for in many consumer products.  Customers want to be able to have a product built for them and for their specifications.  I have seen this happen with my son’s soccer cleats even.  We are now able to order his shoes online with his number on them and they arrive within a week.  While that is as simple as just adding a silk screen it is a great first step in the evolution of customization.  Another example is what Motorola does with the Moto X where you can order the phone to your custom color and options and they will deliver it to you as requested (and for an incredibly low price!). Ultimately this can be done because ever process and every mechanism on the processing line can be tracked and changed on the fly.  At Hannover Messe 2014 we will be part of the Factory 4.0 demonstration that will highlight this integration and customization on the show floor, stop by and see this in action.

The last 2 predictions from IDC are around the future of where we are going and the fact that the investments will be on the factories of the future.  We are already seeing more focus on the shop floor than in the ‘carpeted areas’ where IT had normally lived in within the manufacturing environment then in the past.  With more visibility in the shop floor, companies are able to improve their operations and ultimately drive towards more effective operations.

This trend is apparent with the fact that all of our business partners in this space have started to implement IP and Ethernet in their products.  We have slowly seen this adoption improve over the past 5-7 years and in the past 2 years it is exploding with the implementation that is happening with our customers.  Check out the Industrial IP Advantage as an area to start your own education in this incredibly exciting market.  And, we are here to help you drive towards your operational excellence goals.  Thanks for reading.

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More Reactions to IDC’s 2014 Manufacturing Predictions- Supply Chains and B2B Commerce

Recently I wrote about a few real life examples of IDC Manufacturing Insights 2014 Predictions: Worldwide Manufacturing and their Top 10 predictions. I wanted to continue with some more examples to illustrate what is happening now and hopefully help you see some real life examples that are already taking place.

To follow up with IDC’s Prediction #4

Supply chain technology investment will involve modernizing existing systems while also trying new approaches, many systems already exist, but the issue is that they are in a ‘silo’ versus the other systems and it is difficult to talk across the systems.   If you have multiple vendors on multiple platforms, it is difficult to get to the information but then also make sense of this information.  In fact, most of our customers use different systems within their environment so even within a first level silo (company A) it is difficult to start to see what information exists let alone start to analyze this information.  When you start to get to a second level silo (company A to company B information flows) you are now looking at silos within silos trying to talk with other silos.

I do not see these systems being ‘ripped and replaced’ but augmented with a layer above them to then start to build visibility and correlation across the systems which can then be tracked across companies to add visibility.  We have been working with one of our business partners, HCL, to build a cloud offering where we are able to quickly install a platform, extract data from your existing systems and start to add value to you multiple locations operations and diverse portfolio.

The fifth IDC prediction was around the modernization of the B2B Commerce Backbone.  I have seen this happening with many of our customers and business partners where they are using the information they have already on hand and start to use it in new ways.  Look at this article on Amazon and anticipatory shopping.  By taking the data that they have and mining this information is going to change how and what we order.

We are seeing this same use of analytics from the manufacturing market, not to predict what you are going to order, but when something may fail.  Taking the data and tracking the sensor information, now much easier to access and track with new products and offerings, and driving this into an analytics engine.  Using  analytics, the ‘normal ranges’ are known and can be applied  when the sensors are seeing any abnormalities occur.  This helps to then understand what is happening and where it is happening and then start to understand where items may fail.

A few of our customers are taking this information from their customers and aggregating all of this information from different locations, adding sensors from the environment and then taking this information to drive the predictions back to their customers.  Interestingly, some of our customers and partners see this as a service offering to allow better information and comparisons to stop failures and drive towards the 99.999% uptime that every company would like to have.

How are you wrestling with modernizing or revamping your supply chain? Are you adopting analytics in your sales or manufacturing processes?  Let us know.  Thanks for reading!

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IoE and KFC – The Possibilities are Endless

Well, 2013 was a whirlwind and the first month of 2014 has flown by with hypersonic speed.  We are definitely living in very unique and interesting times.  As I reflect on the past year, one obvious theme or revelation always comes to the forefront…..technology and the use of it is the common fabric that enables change in our lives, whether its social, economic or environmental. The use of or the abuse of technology has always been the underpinning foundation for change.

The beginning of the New Year is always interesting and fun for me.  I’m always intrigued, fascinated and often times amused by the pundits, prognosticators, “experts”, fortune tellers and the like who have never been shy about offering their viewpoints and perspectives on the trends and movements of the coming year.

Predictions:  Do You Hunker or Bunker Down?

In fact a very interesting….amusing story came out during the end of last year about a gentleman named Norman Feller, kfc3who went into a bunker for 14 years over the fears of the fallout from the Y2K virus.  Mr. Feller emerged from his bunker absolutely sober and of sound mind. In fact, Mr. Feller had the wherewithal to visit his local KFC restaurant and be absolutely amazed by the innovation of KFC’s “Double-Down” sandwich. The combination of putting together bacon, cheese and chicken fillets was earth…”bunker” shattering for Mr. Feller .  Now, I’m not sure if this story is actually folklore or true, but I do know that people and societies have various emotional responses to technology trends, predictions and/or “hype”

2014 Manufacturing Trends and Predictions

Manufacturing is no exception.  There are no shortage of predictions and trends being applied to the manufacturing industry.  One of the common technology trends being cited is the Internet of Everything’s impact on the industry. My colleague Chet Namboodri wrote an outstanding blog entitled, “Predictions 2014: Wager on the Internet of Everything”   He leverages the expertise and research from Bob Parker,  IDC Group Vice- President, to provide insights and predictions on how IoE will have a profound impact on manufacturing markets and industries.

I think we can all agree that we are living in amazing times with wonderful possibilities.  The world is “smaller” and more connected.  The changes we promote and execute against will affect not only our next-door neighbor, but our trans-continental neighbors.

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3D Value Chains: Real Life Observations

Recently my colleague Chet Namboodri in his blog “Predictions 2014: Wager on the Internet of Everything” did a great level set on predictions for 2014 Manufacturing trends.  I want to add some additional comments on what I have been observing in the field and with our customers today.

The first IDC prediction described 3D value chains as an incredible source of rich productivity and we are seeing this as a goal of many companies.  Not only is it the collection of this data, but it is the sharing of this data across the value chain that is going to start to explode.  What this is starting to mean is that a component assembly company wants to have supply chain information from their manufacturing partners.  This is expanding beyond the dock, into the warehouse and even into the manufacturing lines and cells as well.  This tightly aligns with what we are seeing with customers already getting access to this information from their shop floor.

Take a look at this recent demo that John Chambers and Jim Grubb did for an example of the traceability and sophistication that a robust network can bring and how problem resolution can be much faster with real-time visibility.

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Connecting Manufacturers for Productivity, Growth and Time to Value with the Internet of Everything

As 2014 kicks off and gets rolling, the economic supply-and-demand landscape is starting to look much different than recent years.  Many manufacturing companies are rethinking strategies, investments and competitive approaches to take advantage of an emerging industrial renaissance globally. Savvy manufacturers are utilizing the Internet of Everything (IoE) to converge and secure real-time visibility between business networks (information technology, IT) and control and automation systems (operational technology, OT) and to reduce costs, improve uptime, increase asset utilization, and lock-down on end-to-end security.

In fact, as part of our overall industry presence, we will be discussing this very topic at an upcoming session at Cisco Live Milan. At the “Connecting Manufacturers for Productivity, Growth and Time to Value with the Internet of Everything” (session # BRKIND-1229), held on Wednesday 29 January at 4:30 pm, we will discuss how IoE solution architecture provisions immediate, secure access to plant performance and production automation systems for management and expert teams worldwide, providing open-standard, IP-based communication and control infrastructure for production operations.

Many of our customers tell us that because Cisco’s solutions for manufacturing have proven, validated architectures, we reduce the risk for operations and control engineers.  In addition, we provide them with access to networking knowledge, design guidance and expertise and more, so they can rapidly deploy smart and connected factories.  If you are coming to Cisco Live Milan, please join our Cisco Manufacturing Industry and IT/OT Business Group executives and subject matter experts to learn more about best practices for this growing segment.  Similarly, for the Oil and Gas industry, we have a session called “IoE in Action: Solutions and Case Studies in Oil and Gas” (BRKIND-1230) which will offer guidance and strategies to companies in this segment.

Cisco Live Milan is a chance for you to learn more about networking issues for industrial environments and figure out how to leverage IoE to meet your goals – whether it’s reducing costs, speeding time to market or improving operational effectiveness.

If you are already registered to attend Cisco Live Milan, you can register to attend this session on your Cisco Live Schedule Builder today.  For more general information on Cisco Live, please visit the main event website here.  See you in Milan!

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