Global Paint Manufacturer Shows the Colors of the Future
CIOs around the world are at the center of technology trends such as cloud, social media, consumerization of IT, and mobility. This is the first blog in a four-part series exploring and sharing how CIOs around the world are responding to these trends and creating new ways to innovate, grow, and deliver superior customer experience.
The manufacturing industry has been hit harder than most as a result of the global recession. As the market recovers, however, manufacturers are finding that IT has also changed. Consumers are more demanding, and expect new products faster. Suppliers and plants are globally dispersed; regulatory requirements are increasingly stringent. Manufacturers must manage these issues while also figuring out a way to improve margin as the economy recuperates.
However, as the saying goes, “Change is another word for opportunity.” Paint and specialty chemical supplier AkzoNobel is one of the first global manufacturers to revolutionize how it works with – not just some of its suppliers and partners – but its entire supply chain. In an industry not always known for technology innovation, AkzoNobel’s CIO, shares how they have opened the door to a new way of running its business.
Based on a cloud of web-enabled devices, the integrated supply chain goes beyond standard PLM, ERP, and CRM systems to connect suppliers, partners, R&D, the assembly line, customers, and the head office. CIOs are accustomed to the idea of sharing electronic information, but Cisco additionally allows these various players to really work with each other – in real time – using social media-style collaboration tools like Quad, mobility devices such as smartphones and tablets, and video conferencing.
When you are a manufacturer headquartered in Europe, have operations in 80 countries, and must remotely monitor customer plants as part of manufacturing processes, this ability to collaborate in real time is a huge win. It makes not just the company but the whole supply chain more lean, agile, and responsive.
This expanded collaboration in turn brings manufacturers closer to their customers, improves margin, and creates a more efficient operation. Pretty good in a fast-changing global economy!