John Deere, working with integration and technology partners Prime Technologies (now Kubica) and AeroScout, used the existing Cisco Wi-Fi networking nodes that it had already installed throughout the facility to avoid the expense of installing RFID readers for a new manufacturing solution.
John Deere MaxEmergeXP
Here’s the story: John Deere’s Seeding Group factory in Moline, Ill. was seeking an automated solution to improve on its manual work in process manufacturing system. It wanted to increase efficiency in the way it replenished welding material as well as improve the way it carried out processes at its assembly stations at the plant. The factory in question assembles John Deere’s row-crop planter machines -- the MaxEmerge XP range - that are used by farmers to deposit a variety of seed in soils and seedbeds.
The new system uses a wireless back-haul to a Cisco infrastructure that enables the SAP, reporting and programmable logic controller (PLC) systems to communicate live. It’s intended to improve material replenishment and reduce delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas. It allows the equipment manufacturer’s kitting staff to boost material replenishment speed, and allows assembly workers to prepare for specific equipment as it approaches their assembly stations. The RFID Journal Story goes into excellent detail on the wip process and the process improvement, but I did want to reiterate some of the key business metrics:
“Our goal was to improve Takt time *,” says Shay O’Neal, John Deere Seeding Group’s project manager, who expects the reduction to increase from what he estimates may be about 5 percent improvement in Takt time thus far. He reckons there has been a 40 percent reduction in cycle time because of the improvement in replenishment. He has also seen a decrease in overtime work undertaken by kitting staff at the welding station. “I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the system met our needs,” O’Neal said in the RFID Journal article.
John Deere has seen a 40 percent increase in efficiency in welding due to improvements in material replenishment and fewer delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas.
On the assembly line, the system provides a view into the work in process (WIP), which thus far has reduced the cycle time (Takt) it takes to assemble a single product by about 5 percent.
Since existing Cisco Wi-Fi nodes read the RFID tag of each seeder as it passes from one assembly station to another, indicating where it has been and what its next assembly location will be, John Deere avoided the expense of installing RFID readers.
One of many overlooked areas where manufacturers are finding real productifity and efficiency gains is in the Warehouse. Sure, Supply Chain Agility is key to the global recovery, but some companies are still not using the best technologies to address their business imperatives.
But we don’t try to do absolutely everything ourselves. We recognize that there are other companies out there that have the same customer-centric focus that Cisco has.
Intermec is one of those companies. Cisco has been working with Intermec for years. We have joint RFID and Barcode based solutions and many of the Intermec devices are certified as Cisco Compatible interoperability tested. I recently met up with Dan Albaum, Intermec’s Senior Director of Marketing. Dan told me that the technology continues to evolve and told me about the events Intermec had set up to spread the word.
Intermec have recently announced a refreshed product lin and is running events in various cities, some events for Intermec partners to understand the value propositions for their customers, and some aimed at customers and prospects showing how the Cisco Wireless LAN compatible devices and end points can address their business care-abouts.
Wow -- I’m impressed. We have the best folks in Cisco. I’m sure of it. The best in the industry. And I don’t just mean me (he jests)!
No, really, Cisco’s innovation is ‘on fire’ as John Chambers puts it. I’m not just saying that because I work at Cisco. I’m saying it because I meet up with folks every day at Cisco who simply impress me with their down-and-out inventiveness. It might be products, processes or business architectures. Whatever it is, I’m often left thinking we have to tell our customers about that.
Innovators -- here are just a couple I found at Cisco - more where they came from! Actually Neil Dieder, Tech Leader, and Walt Shaw, Sr. Prod. Line Mgr, both from WNBU, the Cisco Wireless Networking Business Unit.
I speak to many customers at Executive Briefings (EBCs) and they echo my sentiment. When I talk about what we’re doing in the manufacturing industry, many of them say ‘Wow, I didn’t know Cisco did that!’ Well, I guess that’s the purpose of the EBC. Bring the customer to Cisco to tell them stuff they don’t know. Add that to what they do know and, well, they’re going to make a more informed decision.
It’s hard to choose one innovation since there are so many, but since my blogs are about manufacturing, I decided to talk about something that, on the surface is not all that exciting. Wireless Networking. Been around for years right? Right. Easy-peasy, right? Wrong! Read More »