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Connected Machines: Reducing Unplanned Downtime and Improving Service

Many manufacturers operate at high volumes, and unplanned production downtime is costly. One leading auto manufacturer estimates unplanned downtime in a factory can cost them as much as $20,000 per minute. Often these line down situations are the result of production machine failures that could be avoided if data from the machine was available to anticipate the failure so a planned repair could take place in a standard maintenance window. I’ve traveled the world recently and visited with the world’s leading manufacturers across many sectors. What I have seen is that almost all of them are focused on reducing unplanned downtime with predictive maintenance.

This issue is also driving plant floor machine builders and their manufacturing customer to prioritize their digitization and IoT efforts to connect machines to enable real time access to new types of structured and unstructured data from production processes. This is a recurring theme reiterated in a recent survey by SCM World and Cisco. We asked plant managers and business line executives what “things” they were connecting now and in the years ahead. Production equipment was listed as a top priority, with 62 percent planning to connect these resources by 2020.

SCM slide CM blog

Machine Builder OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are facing new business imperatives, as well, to grow services business and customer intimacy. As their manufacturing customers demand the highest possible availability, quality and uptime, OEMs are striving to become more agile and proactive. They’re looking for solutions to enable zero-touch deployment and provisioning. They’re exploring ways to control support costs with remote connectivity and monitoring. They’re also taking more control of the aftermarket for parts and tools. Connectivity and remote access are essential capabilities to enable new predictive maintenance and machine-as-a-service (MaaS) business models.

By some estimates there are more than 60 million machines in factories throughout the world and 92% are not network-connected.1 So the task is enormous and only achievable with a simple, secure and scalable solution from a company that can deliver it globally.   Read More »

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Cisco’s Solution Framework for the Digital Journey

Every country, city, industry, and business is becoming digital in order to leverage the unprecedented opportunities possible from rapidly expanding connectivity around the globe.

Digitization requires customers to rethink their business, operations, and technology strategies. Cisco’s research, along with countless business experts, forecasts that 40% of today’s leading businesses will be displaced by competitors disrupting the market with new approaches— digitization is an imperative for business survival.

I am excited about today’s announcement of Cisco’s Digital Solutions for Industries. This showcases our unique approach to help customers capture the promise of digitization.

Tony Shakib news conference

Digital transformation necessitates a combining of business and IT strategy that connects everything, embraces analytics, and takes a holistic approach to data security that spans technology and operations. According to the 2014 Digital Transformation report by the Altimeter Group, 88% of companies report undergoing a digital transformation — however, only 25% have mapped the digital customer journey and have a clear understanding of new or under-performing digital touchpoints. Read More »

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Digital Manufacturing: Transforming Your Business Model

digitalindustries banner

Today’s announcement of Cisco’s Digital Solutions for Industries at the Global Editor’s Conference highlights our unique approach to help customers capture the promise of digitization. As Tony Shakib’s blog notes, “Digital transformation necessitates a combining of business and IT strategy that connects everything, embraces analytics, and takes a holistic approach to data security that spans technology and operations.”

Digital disruption is already happening across manufacturing and other industrial sectors, and we’re stepping up to help businesses in these segments harness the benefits of digitization across their value chains. For example, using innovative models like machines securely connected (thru Cisco Connected Machines) for real-time monitoring and analytics across Cisco’s Intercloud, digital manufacturers are optimizing their plant operations with improved control, increased efficiency, less downtime, higher productivity and duty cycles, and more flexible manufacturing.

Research suggests that a significant number—as many as 40 percent—of incumbents will be left wounded, probably mortally, by digital disruption over the next five years. In the face of these pressures, CEOs recognize that those companies who can leverage digital technologies and business models will come out ahead. This video provides an overview on the challenges, opportunities and benefits of Digital Manufacturing:

For forward-thinking manufacturers, digital transformation is not just a new challenge but a major opportunity—maybe the most significant in decades—to pull ahead of competitors. Digital Manufacturers are seizing the opportunity Read More »

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Security for the Digital Manufacturer: Recap of recent #CiscoChat

Earlier this week, I hosted a #CiscoChat along with other team members of the @CiscoMFG team including Nancy Cam-Winget (@ncamwingw), an industrial security expert and Distinguished Engineer at Cisco, along with cohost Gregory Wilcox (@gswilcox_ohio) of our strategic alliance partner Rockwell Automation (@ROKAutomation). We had a thought-provoking interchange on how new digital business models impact industrial security interests, as well as some of the other inherent security risks for manufacturers.

If you missed the chat, the full recap is here, and below, I summarize a few of the highlights and insights for me.

Why is security for manufacturers such a top-of-mind concern, discussed across engineering, production, supply chain and boardroom alike?

By 2020, there will be an estimated 50+ billion intelligent things connected to the Internet. The emergence of more “smart” connected factories, in which machines and devices Read More »

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Tesla Powerwall May Be a Game Changer for PV Energy Production, but Distribution Networking is Vital

During Elon Musk’s presentation of Tesla Powerwall, a battery system that lets you store energy to power your home, he shared a slide showing a small area of the Texas panhandle – with a small blue square representing the land area necessary to produce enough solar power to meet the entire electric power needs of the United States.

“...very little land is required to get rid of all fossil fuel electricity generation in the United States.”  Elon Musk

“…very little land is required to get rid of all fossil fuel electricity generation in the United States.” Elon Musk

As you might expect, this generated quite a bit of controversy about whether or not his assertion is even within the realm of possibility.

Does Musk’s claim pass the smell test? Read More »

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