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We’re Ready to Obsolete Product Recalls: Are You?

“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.

 

Recalls Recalled from Cisco Business Insights

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.

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IoE-Powered Business Transformation Boosts Agility and Efficiency for Oil and Gas Companies

This week I’m attending CERAWeek, the premier international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials, policymakers, and innovators. While this is the 34th annual CERAWeek conference, the mood is definitely not “business as usual.” The disruption and uncertainty created by plunging oil prices and shifting market dynamics has created the urgency throughout the industry to rethink strategies and adopt connected technologies to spur operational efficiencies.

But disruption can also create opportunity. Forward-thinking oil and gas (O&G) firms see today’s turbulent market as an opportunity to gain competitive advantage by harnessing new technologies. For example, in the Eagle Ford region in North America, improved drilling technologies are now enabling oil rigs to produce 18 times more efficiently than in 2008, and 65 percent more efficiently than in 2013.

A new study by Cisco highlights the opportunity to achieve even greater efficiencies through transformed business models and digital technologies powered by the Internet of Everything (IoE)—the networked connection of people process, data, and things.

With IoE, oil and gas firms have the opportunity to make IT services a commodity in the business, creating the potential for dramatic cost reduction and improved operational efficiency. The illustration below shows several ways O&G operations can benefit from connected technologies. To achieve these benefits, however, they will need to bring together both the IT and the operational technology (OT) sides of the business. Our survey indicates that oil and gas firms have a long way to go in breaking down the barriers between IT and OT. In fact, only 41 percent of respondents “completely” or “somewhat” agreed that their firms’ IT and OT strategies are aligned.

OandG_Digital_Tranform_01

Source: Cisco, 2015

Here are some examples of how IT-OT convergence can impact the areas of data, collaboration, and cybersecurity: Read More »

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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.

Just look at the auto industry. An air-bag recall will cost one manufacture up to $235 million. While a gas pedal problem will hit another manufacture with upwards of $2 billion. Yes, billion.

But recalls aren’t isolated to the auto industry. Food. Toys. Tech. Virtually no industry goes untouched.

And it’s not just the size of a recall that matters. It’s the damage to your brand’s reputation. Plus, recalling a product is more complex than ever.

Here’s why. Read More »

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A Turning Point for Oil and Gas: Managing Through Turbulence to Digital Transformation

This is a big week for the global energy industry, as thousands of energy leaders, experts, technologists, and policymakers gather in Houston, Texas, for the 34th annual CERAWeek conference, the premier international event for the industry. As a corporate sponsor of the event, it’s also a big week for Cisco.

Just last week, Cisco released a new report focused on the need for digital transformation in the oil and gas industry. Based on a survey of oil and gas executives, analysts, and consultants in 14 countries, the paper validates CERAWeek’s “oil day” theme, “Turning Point for the Oil Industry.” For forward-thinking oil and gas companies, the price volatility and turbulence in the market could represent a turning point toward true digital transformation. Read More »

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Manufacturing Customer IoE/IoT Globe Trotting: Part 1

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.

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