A new year- and time for new initiatives and a chance to fast start your competitiveness as a manufacturer. According to our recent Manufacturing Thought Leadership Study, digital manufacturers who have connected their factories and production facilities are driving up to 19% more profits (over 10 years) than their ‘unconnected’ counterparts.

What are some of the issues holding manufacturers back from undertaking networking and automation, wireless or security initiatives in their factories? Many have told me it is not inertia or budget, but sometimes being overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. In today’s typical factory , there are so many “things” to connect (including machines, robots, sensors and more) as well as processes to allow manufacturers to reap benefits and address challenges that more traditional models and operating practices were not able to do. The challenge is identifying and prioritizing what area to tackle first.

We all know that major gains in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), reduced downtime, and manufacturing flexibility can be achieved with a factory that is digitized and connected. By providing visibility to machines and processes, manufacturers can anticipate issues that create unplanned downtime. By putting in place a secure, converged and wireless-ready network, manufacturers can have a platform that enables the agility to quickly start up new machines, cells, and lines, and rapidly deliver new products.

But how do you get your factory to be digital? In many cases, companies have delivered on basic Ethernet connectivity and may have managed switches; however, they have not connected the IT and operational-technology networks. Or your factory wireless deployments may have been unplanned, isolated from the central network and are not location ready. Finally, security in the factory is typically limited and not foolproof. Rarely are factories deploying the network-level security that includes identity policies and secure remote access tools that can give management the confidence that the plant-level data is protected from hackers or competitors.

During our upcoming #CiscoChat on January 19 at 9:00 a.m. PST, members of our @CiscoMFG team including myself and Brandon Lackey, Manufacturing Vertical Business Development Manager, will be joined by Lorenzo Veronesi, Analyst at IDC, to discuss ways to tackle these areas and accelerate deploying a connected factory to take advantage of the benefits for Digital Manufacturing.

Join us to participate, get answers and follow what is sure to be an interesting discussion on January 19 at 9:00 a.m. PST, using hashtag #CiscoChat. Thanks for reading!




Douglas Bellin

Global Lead, Industries

Manufacturing and Energy