Borderless Networks and Manufacturing

March 21, 2011 - 0 Comments

So here we are, in the middle of March Madness. Lots of people that don’t normally follow college basketball, but still a great social environment and an opportunity to get together and pretend we know the teams we all picked in our brackets. Sometimes we pick based on “loyalty” and other times there are other reasons.  We all have various “borders” we deal with every day.

So, bring on Borderless Networks. In the manufacturing area we still tend to think of a “border” between the factory and the business. After all, how can those people in the front office know what we need in the factory, right? Well, that separation gets smaller and smaller every day. Why? Because we’ve blurred the border. Sure, there are appropriate firewalls and security between the various layers. But every day we run into people that tell about needing data from the plant, from the machine, from the supplier, from the sales force, from the channel, from the customer. And sometimes we’re not in the office, we may be at home, at a different supplier, in an airport, at a concert or ball game with our kids.

The point becomes, there is data there and I am not there but I need to make a call and affect my plant productivity or answer a question from my CEO because there is a big opportunity or a major customer disappointment about to happen.

This is the power of Borderless Networks. Remember back when there was always the local expert? Knew how the controls worked, how the parts fit, how it all worked together.  He had total control. And at the end of the month, when the bosses in the office wanted to know how well we did, he just printed a report and let them translate dollars into what got done. We would never dream of giving them real access to the plant, right?

Now we have outsourced suppliers, of both production components and parts of the controls. We have a variety of machine builders that excel at what they do, and due to their lower installed cost we have integrated a number of machines into our production infrastructure. But those machines may have come from half a world away. We have senior executives and sales people alike asking for visibility into the production process or where their particular order is. And with the open Internet they can have that information, and expect it. Even if they, too, are half a world away. And there are fewer hours in our day as we try to handle personal as well as professional responsibilities. So the world has changed.

Borderless Networks allows that change to happen, to be productive for your management, your customers, and for you. The basic concept is access to whatever you need, from wherever you are, from whatever device you use, and whenever you need it. Any device, anytime, anywhere. But Borderless Networks from Cisco allows you to establish who can get in, and from what source, and if you don’t trust the source, you can provide limited accessibility until you can verify who they are.

That access can include the vendors/suppliers that you select. It can be on a one-time basis, it can be for whatever time you wish. It can be via physical presence or VPN access. If you want your CEO to be able to see actual OEE for a line, you can let that happen, while not allowing any other access. If you want your machine supplier in Germany to see how well the machine is running and allow that on a continuous basis, you can. You could also specify that you would only allow access between 14:00 and 15:00 each day. The point is, you have eliminated the “borders” while maintaining your own control.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that this all applies to both wired access and wireless access. Cisco Borderless Networks for manufacturing give you both. Cisco Borderless Networks gives you that flexibility plus the efficiency and productivity you need to scale into future operations.

OK, so as to my final four: Ohio State, Kansas, Notre Dame and North Carolina.

Those of you that follow me will know my national champs. Feel free to comment.

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