“Product Recall.” Just these two words are enough to strike fear in the heart of a manufacturer. As John Kern points out in his blog, The Internet of Everything Will Help Solve Problems That Lead To Recalls, “Product recalls can be a headache for customers and consumers, but a financial nightmare for manufacturers.” Not only are longer-term corporate reputations and brand promises deflated, but even more insidious, shorter-term litigation and financial liabilities become a daily reality for industrial companies facing recalls.
Issues like the recent Takata air-bags, Blue Bell ice cream and other high profile cases garner news headlines almost every day. Manufacturers continue to wrestle with how to establish robust product design methodologies, component through finished-product traceability and genealogy (including context), vendor accountability and supply chain rigor–as well as production controls and visibility–all in order to avoid future issues with recalls and ensure quality output. And every sub-segment of manufacturing has its own set of related regulations adding a layer of regional complexity to the problem–whether it’s pharma, automotive, consumer packaged goods, high tech, metals, machine builders or otherwise.
The infographic below provides some food for thought with examples of the impact of recalls and how the Internet of Everything (IoE) enables the Connected Factory and a digital manufacturing world where product recalls and quality issues are less the norm and more of an anomaly.
IoE and Connected Manufacturing with predictive analytics and connected supply chains all converge to enable a platform to truly put an end to the tyranny of recalls. With a converged factory/OT and IT/enterprise network, manufacturers tap into the intelligence and accumulated analytics, to further drive innovations and improvements not just in production processes but also development and engineering, so that products are designed AND produced more robustly.
From my home in North Carolina to San Diego, to Atlanta and all the way to Greater China—Shanghai, Shenzhen and Taipei—throughout April, I am presenting at several Manufacturing industry, Supply Chain executive, and Internet of Things (IoT) regional events, along with visiting all types of manufacturing customers. Earlier this month, I was at a customer advisory where we met with industrial thought leaders eager to share experiences (see Tony Shakib’s blog, “The Digital Factory: Real Solutions and Real Outcomes”). In the meantime, several of my colleagues exhibited Cisco industrial solutions this past week at Hannover Messe in Germany. Across the globe, manufacturers are wrestling with how to capture the opportunity and value associated with IoT and Internet of Everything (IoE) strategies. The good news is that the industry is thriving, alive and well and at the forefront of IoT adoption.
At the IoT Regional Forum in Atlanta last week, I had the opportunity to meet some manufacturing companies from the region and hear first-hand the challenges and address questions they had regarding automation and networking and the convergence of IT and OT, from technology to culture to organization. What I hear repeatedly are questions on how to tie together the various islands of automation and information that exist throughout most factories and across manufacturing enterprises. In addition, the lack of one integrated view results in delayed decision-making and responses to issues and problems that arise, and inhibit the introduction of new products and business models.
Often, we will assist our industrial customers with this IT/OT convergence by recommending a pilot or proof of concept approach to adopt wired-and-wireless networking architectures for use cases that demonstrate quick results and impact, and then more broadly adopt the technology across that and other plants within the enterprise. Interestingly, ARC analyst Greg Gorbach recently wrote up a blog proposing a “Let’s Just Try it” approach in profiling our customer Stanley Black and Decker.
At this year’s Hannover Messe International (HMI), the world’s largest industrial fair, it was more about how industrial companies are leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) to evolve Industry 4.0 from theory to practice.
The Internet of Things was everywhere at this show. Almost every vendor on the show floor had an IoT message, in addition there were numerous keynotes and panel discussions centered around IoT. There was a lot of excitement around Industrie 4.0, which facilitates the vision for a smart, digital factory enabled by IoT.
Cisco’s presence at this event was to show how we are taking IoT beyond the theoretical. Cisco partners and customers demonstrated leadership in defining, implementing and showcasing connectivity for the production floor from cloud down through to the sensor. Visitors to the booth this year began to understand and realize that a tested and validated Cisco Connected Factory architecture is the best path to accelerated business value. One engineer from a large automatic company told me, “Ok. Now I get it. Your value is the architecture. You’re taking the complexity out of deploying a stitched together product solution.”
Oliver Tuszik, head of Cisco Germany, reiterates in this video how Cisco is a source for real solutions and practical, proven approaches to IoT including Cisco’s integration with Profinet:
Springtime in Germany brings us Hannover Messe, one of the largest industrial conferences and exhibitions in the world. This year, Cisco will feature our validated and proven Manufacturing and Power Transmission & Control solutions. Our portfolio of market-leading industrial products and solutions offered with our complete lifecycle management services that address the key challenges of the fourth industrial revolution.
Optimized workflows and operation with secure remote access to global experts and real-time plant floor data analytics
Some of the key new capabilities we are highlighting include:
Enhanced solution and product support for Profinet-based connected factories
Updated industrial security by introducing identity management and services into Industrial networks to increase access security
Cisco technologies and products will be showcased and integrated into a multi-vendor and highly flexible production plant. In the SmartFactory KL booth located Hall 8, D20 we will be displaying a modularized automation and control structure that can be flexibly combine machines and automation modules in the production process. The demonstration will showcase the advantages of interoperability including quick setup and modifications to multi-vendor plant assets, product changes in real-time, and a versatile platform for production automation.
See one example of how we do it in this overview of our Industrial Ethernet (IE) 4000 switch series:
The convergence of Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) is becoming more important now than ever – and that sentiment was heard loud and clear at last week’s complementary Cisco Live Melbourne and Rockwell Automation ConnectED events. Held for the first time under the same roof, the two events provided a unique opportunity for end users to learn how to accelerate industrial business performance in a joint experience.
Attendees to both events alike enjoyed seeing examples of industrial technology in action such as the Connected Vineyard demo, which I had the pleasure of demonstrating to customers in the Cisco Live World of Solutions.
In the demo, we discussed how to add business value on top of sensor information. For example, the images below show sensor information in an easy-to-read dashboard that can help us troubleshoot potential issues before they affect the bottom line.