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Digital Manufacturing: Transforming Your Business Model

- October 5, 2015 - 2 Comments

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Today’s announcement of Cisco’s Digital Solutions for Industries at the Global Editor’s Conference highlights our unique approach to help customers capture the promise of digitization. As Tony Shakib’s blog notes, “Digital transformation necessitates a combining of business and IT strategy that connects everything, embraces analytics, and takes a holistic approach to data security that spans technology and operations.”

Digital disruption is already happening across manufacturing and other industrial sectors, and we’re stepping up to help businesses in these segments harness the benefits of digitization across their value chains. For example, using innovative models like machines securely connected (thru Cisco Connected Machines) for real-time monitoring and analytics across Cisco’s Intercloud, digital manufacturers are optimizing their plant operations with improved control, increased efficiency, less downtime, higher productivity and duty cycles, and more flexible manufacturing.

Research suggests that a significant number—as many as 40 percent—of incumbents will be left wounded, probably mortally, by digital disruption over the next five years. In the face of these pressures, CEOs recognize that those companies who can leverage digital technologies and business models will come out ahead. This video provides an overview on the challenges, opportunities and benefits of Digital Manufacturing:

For forward-thinking manufacturers, digital transformation is not just a new challenge but a major opportunity—maybe the most significant in decades—to pull ahead of competitors. Digital Manufacturers are seizing the opportunity to recalibrate and redesign business models and processes from R&D and engineering through supply chain and services, not just production operations. Our Digital Manufacturing infographic illustrates more of the market context, as well as the business outcomes, that result from adopting digital business models.

The Digital Manufacturing Journey: Boosting Visibility and Agility

The best way to view digital manufacturing is not as a single point solution but a journey and a commitment toward continuous improvement, improving visibility and integrating every part of the value chain for increased agility—speed, simplicity and flexibility. The key here is to leverage the foundation of digital manufacturing—a comprehensive, secure, end-to-end infrastructure—built on a converged network architecture that enables and enhances automation, collaboration, and business intelligence. It should span the entire business, including R&D, engineering and supply chain, as well as production operations, distribution, and retail elements.

In many cases, manufacturers start with a specific operational initiative that may require process improvement and automation, where for example, application of our Connected Factory solution portfolio constitutes a unified, converged connected enterprise network (see our Accelerator Bundles for a jump on the competition here). From being off-line and unconnected, to starting to connect your production environment, to more holistically connecting your digital enterprise, and all the way to more sophisticated—and simpler—supply chain orchestration, the entire journey requires commitment, as well as laying a foundation with the right building blocks. Read our white paper, “Boosting Agility, Visibility and Profits with Digital Manufacturing” for more details on steps to digitizing your business.

Where Are You in the Digital Journey?

The business outcomes and benefits of going digital are clear. From improvements in visibility, security, operational efficiency and productivity, to reduced downtime and increased supply chain flexibility, the results deliver a real competitive advantage to any manufacturer, whether Consumer Packaged Goods, Automotive, Materials, Life Sciences or any other manufacturing segment. It’s an exciting time for the manufacturing and industrial sectors. Where are you on your journey to becoming a digital manufacturer? Please comment below and let me know what you think. Thanks for reading.

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2 Comments

  1. Good to see Cisco joining the movement toward digital manufacturing. Good luck with this, Chet. Realizing this vision will certainly require manufacturers to shift to a new set of technologies. But we believe it will also require a cultural shift, with manufacturers becoming much more collaborative both internally and externally. Jeff Moad, Manufacturing Leadership Council

      Hi, Jeff! Thank you for commenting and for your encouragement with Cisco's drive to accelerate more of a digital business reality for our manufacturing customers, across functions and workflows--RD&E, Supply Chain, Production Ops, Sales and Service. We completely agree that the cultural shifts required for transformation are paramount, involving a shared, unified vision and collaborative transparency. As one example, our decade-long experience with IT/OT convergence for the Connected Factory (Converged Plantwide Ethernet for Production Ops) would suggest that digital transformation requires a whole host of collaboration and confluence--including considerations for taxonomy/language, governance/process, organization and most importantly, culture.