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Cisco and Partners add Business Value for Continental Tire

September 1, 2011 - 3 Comments

There’s been a lot of buzz on the Internet about the way Continental Tire of the Americas has vastly improved its manufacturing process. They adopted an innovative solution based on a Cisco architectural networking approach provided by Cisco Partner Applied Group combined with AeroScout’s asset tracking solution and a inventory management system from Global Data Sciences enabling their manufacturing facility achieve a 20 percent reduction in component tire losses. Now that’s significant!


Chet Namboodri interviews Peter Granger about the benefits Continental Tire is achieving from the Cisco Unified Wireless based manufacturing/wip solution

It was a real pleasure for me to take part in  the Customer case study event organized by Cisco, AeroScout and Global Data Sciences for me to speak about the Cisco contribution. The video gives a short summary as Chet Namboodri, Cisco Industry Blogger-in-Chief and Global Managing Director of Cisco’s Manufacturing Industry Marketing interviews me about what was said, and the benefits Continental expects.

That event is where I met up with folks from Continental, AeroScout and Global Sciences  to hear from the customer first hand how the solution  is increasing production and efficiency in its North America manufacturing plant. That plant is located in Mount Vernon, Illinois, and it produces more than 1,000 different tire SKU’s in its 60-acre (2.6 million square-foot) facility.

The implemented solution leverages Continental Tire’s Cisco Unified Wireless Network to add a Real-Time Location System (RTLS) and automated Work-in-Process (WIP) tracking without having to install a proprietary network of readers and sensors. That’s key. Cisco provides standards-based solutions that work well with a customers backhaul, which, for most customers is also Cisco. Cisco’s Architectural approach means networking elements and processes work well together with ‘compatibility’ tested solutions such as those from AeroScout.

But now back to the customer…

Continental Tire implemented a solution designed to efficiently track and manage tire assembly and material carriers. The facility uses the AeroScout’s Wi-Fi RTLS solution to help fork truck operators quickly find and deliver materials and tire components to the right station according to customer orders and optimal manufacturing schedules. As a result, Continental has reduced delays and production stoppages, minimized idle time of machines and significantly increased daily throughput.

I met up with Greg Pemberton, MIS Director at Continental Tire of the Americas, at the event and he had this to say for the press release: “To meet growing customer demand, we needed to ensure current operations were running as efficiently as possible . The combined AeroScout and Global Data Sciences solution provides real-time visibility into the inventory on the plant floor and allows us to drive lean manufacturing without the risk of running out of material.” He also told me that the support he got from Cisco was exemplary, and complimented the Cisco’s Account Manager on his efforts. That’s what we like to hear!

I also spoke with folks from Global Data Sciences, in particular, Tony Kirkpatrick, Director of Manufacturing Logistics, Global Data Sciences, who presented alongside us. He confirmed (as Michael Mantzke, Chief Executive Officer, Global Data Sciences Inc. had in the press release), that Global had recommended AeroScout for the project and Global drove the application implementation, working closely with AeroScout, Cisco Systems and Applied Group (the local Cisco and AeroScout reseller). Payback period is estimated at six months. Here are a few metrics:

  • Cisco-based solution with partners such as Applied Group, Global Data Sciences and AeroScout
  • Automated Work-in-Process tracking of component carriers in real time driving Lean Manufacturing
  •  Solution Enables 20 Percent Decrease in Component Tire Losses
  • Continental Tire estimates a payback period of less than six months

How does it work? Well, the implementation consists of AeroScout Wi-Fi Tagsattached to 1,100 carriers. The location of each carrier is transmitted via the facility’s Cisco Unified Wireless Network to AeroScout’s MobileView software and then passed to the Inventory Management System. Mobile computers secured to each fork truck allow drivers to search for any required component or tire assembly. The carrier location is displayed on a map of the facility together with critical information, allowing operators to deliver inventory appropriately and eliminate scrap.

For more information, check out the following references:

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  1. Great blog, Peter. Wow — a payback period of less than 6 months is definitely something that will grab the attention of any potential customer!

  2. Cisco never fails when it comes to customer satisfaction. this is indeed another great news!

    • Thanks for your comment Ivan. You’re absobutely right – even as Cisco is transforming to ‘Next Cisco’ our customer relationships remain stronger than ever and they appreciate that we are making extra efforts to be even easier to deal with and to focus on their core business issues, rather than simply be a technology company.