Today’s small to medium -size businesses (SMBs) rely on advanced communication technologies to keep them one step ahead of their competition and expand customer communication. As time is money in an SMB environment, small business owners need an easy-to-use voice system that can help keep them connected at all times regardless of location, while reducing costs and boosting employee collaboration.
Today, Cisco extended the global availability of its popular Unified Communications 300 (UC300) Series, Model UC320W, to Australia, Austria, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Portugal, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, and a “country pack” available in Switzerland. Crafted specifically for SMBs, the UC320W is an affordable business-class voice collaboration system designed to help drive productivity and profitability, while minimizing operational costs. Through the use of IP telephony, SMBs can be accessible to customers from any location, ensuring operations run seamlessly so they never miss that prospective client call.
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.
A unified communications solution provides the tools to work from anywhere on any device
Whether telecommuting is a privilege for your employees or a necessity for your small business, chances are good that at least a couple people in your company work from home or while on the road. Many small companies enable telecommuting via a virtual private network (VPN), which is a good first step in giving employees remote access to business resources on your network. But for folks to be as productive away from the office as they are in the office, they need additional collaboration tools provided by unified communications (UC). If you’ve built the right network for your business—one that supports your existing needs and future applications—you can more easily add UC to further untether your mobile employees. Read More »
Congratulations to Boeing on shipping it’s first 787 Dreamliner to ANA (All Nippon Airways). The world has been waiting and US Manufacturing has delivered. But it’s not just US Manufacturing -- suppliers as far away as Australia, Italy, Japan and Russia, to name but a few countries have been working with Boeing Engineers to bring the airplane to market -- and using Cisco or Cisco Partner technologies to do so!
The video, courtesy Associated Press’ YouTube Channel, shows the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner Airplane being handed over by Jim Albaugh, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, to ANA’s President and CEO - with a large key!
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 »