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CIOs around the world are at the center of technology trends such as cloud, social media, consumerization of IT, and mobility. This is the first blog in a four-part series exploring and sharing how CIOs around the world are responding to these trends and creating new ways to innovate, grow, and deliver superior customer experience.

The manufacturing industry has been hit harder than most as a result of the global recession. As the market recovers, however, manufacturers are finding that IT has also changed. Consumers are more demanding, and expect new products faster. Suppliers and plants are globally dispersed; regulatory requirements are increasingly stringent. Manufacturers must manage these issues while also figuring out a way to improve margin as the economy recuperates.

However, as the saying goes, “Change is another word for opportunity.” Paint and specialty chemical supplier AkzoNobel is one of the first global manufacturers to revolutionize how it works with – not just some of its suppliers and partners – but its entire supply chain. In an industry not always known for technology innovation, AkzoNobel’s CIO, shares how they have opened the door to a new way of running its business.

Based on a cloud of web-enabled devices, the integrated supply chain goes beyond standard PLM, ERP, and CRM systems to connect suppliers, partners, R&D, the assembly line, customers, and the head office. CIOs are accustomed to the idea of sharing electronic information, but Cisco additionally allows these various players to really work with each other – in real time – using social media-style collaboration tools like Quad, mobility devices such as smartphones and tablets, and video conferencing.

When you are a manufacturer headquartered in Europe, have operations in 80 countries, and must remotely monitor customer plants as part of manufacturing processes, this ability to collaborate in real time is a huge win. It makes not just the company but the whole supply chain more lean, agile, and responsive.

This expanded collaboration in turn brings manufacturers closer to their customers, improves margin, and creates a more efficient operation. Pretty good in a fast-changing global economy!

Read more about continuous innovation for the manufacturing industry and how Cisco Smart+Connected Manufacturing solutions integrate communications with business processes.

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Other blogs in this series:
Financial Services: New Banking Business Model
Collaboration Maestro…Bravo! Here We Come
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11 Comments.


  1. I like that “change” equals “opportunity” as you say. Also how the chinese symbol for “crisis” equals “opportunity.” [my Chinese friend informed me once this was not true, though because it is so fitting I will keep the rumour up!] In this sense I think that at first there truly was crisis in that everything and learning to work in new paradigms was confusing, a bit scary even. But..

    Not to stray too far off-point I do believe the world of social media has brought all these large corporations to be more productive for that simple reason of getting to work in “real-time” together. Another great post by this great web-blog! Regards R.Trip

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  2. I agree. Change equals opportunity when we embrace and act on it. Thanks for the comment and we’re pleased you like the blog. Keep reading and come back often!

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  3. Thanks Carrie for the warm welcome. Upon reading your comment above it struck me today that not only does change “equal” opportuinity, opportunity “demands” change. In other words, many opportunities throughout my professional life, the ones missed, were due to me either not wanting to change something, or plain old just not accepting the change of times. Like the whole Social Media concept. I truly believed it was a fad at first and would soon blow over. I stayed away from Twitter like the plague. Now I “love” twitter and all it stands for – finally accepting that society had moved on.

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  4. Cisco additionally allows these various players to really work with each other – in real time – using social media-style collaboration tools like Quad.It’s very good.

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    • I agree – Quad is very good! I love that you can quickly and easily find an expert on a topic based on their conversations and history. Glad you like it too!

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  5. I think innovation in IT is gradually entering every sector. I agree with your recession comments, I think ultimately it’s technological advances that will get us out of our funk.

    The video here is really cool too!

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    • As part of the Executive ViewPoints series, we speak to CIOs from all industries, from all over the world and it is widely believed that IT will enable innovation, superior customer experience, and ultimately business growth. We are so pleased you like our video too! It’s one of our favorites and recently won a W3 award for video excellence.

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  6. I like the video. Especially in Germany we can learn a lot in the ways to represent our ideas.

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  7. Thanks for the information and the video. paint colors have become very technical as you said. There is a great paint booth supplier locally who works with technology to create the perfect color for what every project we need.

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