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Manufacturing: Be there while staying here

One of the challenges all of today’s manufacturing companies face is global operations that require increased attention from a diverse and oftentimes shrinking or aging workforce. Manufacturers and machine builders are faced with challenges every day in terms of getting the right engineer or expert from her office to the plant floor half the globe away. If the plant is down or operating inefficiently there are huge cost impacts to the manufacturer, huge support cost to the machine builder, and just tremendous impact to the value chain.

At Cisco we have shaved hundreds of millions of expense dollars from our budget by using a variety of collaboration tools. These start with Unified Communications but they include tools like WebEx, TelePresence, Video and Active Collaboration Rooms. These all add on to the existing capabilities of Borderless Networks. Many of our manufacturing customers already use these tools and are successfully stripping cost from their Operations every day.

Imagine the power of walking into a conference room, pressing a button on the phone and instantly seeing your assembly operations in China and Germany, being able to share data with the operations people from both plants with your staff in Michigan. Finishing that meeting you can capture the action items via your interactive whiteboard, set up follow-up calls via WebEx (all without printing, by the way! A Green feature!). Then you can get a cup of coffee and head back to your office and handle the call from Brazil about the packaging machine that wraps half the skid, then shuts down – and you do that from your phone, finding the design engineer that is at a customer site in Australia. And you did this all without having to fly anywhere, and you had visual contact with everyone. Read More »

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Wiki Helps Macintosh Users with Self-Support, Reduces Costs for Cisco

Like many IT organizations, Cisco IT provides help-desk support only for Microsoft Windows-based PCs. Yet many Cisco employees choose to use a Mac, even if it means they are on their own for resolving problems, obtaining repairs, installing software upgrades, and similar support tasks. By the end of fiscal year 2009, Cisco had over 8,000 Mac users, and by fiscal 2010, over 12,000.

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Collaboration: with MACS from Cisco it’s as if you’re really there!

February 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm PST

We hear a lot about Collaboration and Innovation these days.  People try to define what each word means, and how they relate to each other. Probably the best source I’ve found so far is in a great blog by Carlos Domingez that addresses just that. Carlos is one of Cisco’s senior thought leaders, so check out his blog here: Collaboration: What Does it really mean? It’s a fascinating read, especially the references to  Evan Rosen and Mark Granovetter. It’s also a great segway to the Manufacturing Active Collaboration Space Solution that I talk about in the video below:

Peter Granger talks about Cisco’s Manufacturing Active Collaboration Solution and how it can help with innovation and product development. GE calls their version Virtual Collaboration Space.

As you can hear in my video, the truth of the matter is that Collaboration and Innovation go hand-in-hand simply because when people get together they feed off one another, adding to each others ideas and seeing opportunities from different angles. They solve each others issues and talk through problems using words,  images and video. When you click ‘read more’ you’ll hear more about GE’s use of MACS in a short video featuring senior GE and Cisco figures. I’ll also solve the riddle I set for you in an earlier blog about how to make a new square out of four matches! Read More »

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GE Innovation – Thinking Outside of the Box (or Should that be ‘Square’?)

December 2, 2010 at 10:06 am PST

As I’m focusing more on Collaboration and Innovation and less on Supply Chain these days, I thought I’d share a story of ‘Ideation with you for my opening blog.  That’s because it’s usually one of the first steps in the product development lifecycle, and makes chronological sense when discussing innovation. In later blogs I’ll share some of the subsequent steps – you know: Selection, Prototyping, Validation, Development and finally, Launch. Different companies use different terms and different processes, but all good products start out with a good idea.

Let me take you back in time for a moment. When I was eight years old I noticed that the local UK comic magazine that I bought on a weekly basis was running competitions for readers to submit puzzles for other readers to solve. I was attracted to the Secret Service game that was one of the prize options, but what was my idea? How was I going to win if I didn’t have a good idea? Well, I decided that I’d submit a match puzzle -- you know we actually had lots of matches in the 60’s! This puzzle isn’t hard (please remember I was eight years old) and looked something like the picture above. The question was “How do you make a square by adding just one more match and not moving the others?”

Anyway, fairly obvious that you make a square by placing a forth match adjoining the other three to make a square with the bases as in the next picture (click ‘read more’ when finished with this page to see how). Well, I had the pride of seeing my puzzle published and, more importantly for me, I actually won the Secret Service game! But that’s not the point… Read More »

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