We recently attended the American Manufacturing Summit (AMS) and North American Manufacturing Excellence Summit (NAMES) held in Chicago, IL where Cisco was a main sponsor at both events. AMS provided a great opportunity for industry executives to have in-depth discussions on IoT and its impact on manufacturing while NAMES brought together manufacturing executives looking to implement a better, more efficient way of manufacturing.
Major themes from the American Manufacturing Summit:
Manufacturers stand to reap the greatest benefit from the IoT transition. This is based on the opportunities for manufacturing through the entire value chain – from R&D, to Connected Products, to Connected Plants, to Omni-Channel Sales and Services. Lots of attendees stressed that they want to do a better job of optimizing technology. At the summit, we looked at case studies across the value chain and different industries and discussed best practices, lessons learned and risks.
Specifically, the summit highlighted four primary use cases:
- Connected Products – How are manufactures connecting their products and what is the value proposition?
- Smart Factories – IoT is enabling manufacturers to lighten their manufacturing floor increasing OEE
- End-to-End Supply Chain Synchronization – How manufacturers are digitizing information to increase visibility
- Omnichannel – Using connected products across a variety of platforms to improve sales and customer service in the field.
During the AMS summit, Randal Kenworthy, Practice Director – Manufacturing, Americas Business Transformation, along with the support of colleagues, Dan Boutell, Senior Advisor – Manufacturing and Nandu Nandakumar, Practice Advisor – Manufacturing, Americas Business Transformation, had the opportunity to discuss the IoT impact in manufacturing – especially around acquiring data from sensors and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) for use cases like increased connectivity and predictive maintenance. We also showcased Cisco’s Circuit Emulation over IP Network Modules (CEM) and Unified Wireless Location-Based Services solutions.
Attendees responded positively to the discussion. Interestingly, a lot of responses we received were that they are utilizing some aspects of IoT connected technologies now, but most of the data they are currently gathering is lost and not used. They don’t know what they don’t know, so data analytics will be a first step in the right direction.
Major themes discussed at the North American Manufacturing Excellence Summit:
As the manufacturing landscape continues to evolve, companies and industry leaders are constantly facing pressures to keep up with growing competition. Agility has become crucial as manufacturers manage complex issues like controlling escalating costs and managing a dynamic workforce; all while dealing with pressures to implement a better, more efficient way of manufacturing. Below are a few of the major topics addressed during the summit:
- Continuous Improvement, Lean / Six-Sigma.
- Employee involvement and Leadership.
- Use of technology to drive organizational change.
Once again, our subject matter experts took part in a discussion centered on building smarter manufacturing with IoT. We asked the question, where is manufacturing headed and explained how IoT will fundamentally change how products are invented, manufactured, shipped and sold. With IoT, IP networks and analytics, manufacturers can become more efficient, improve worker safety and offer new business models. Manufacturers that master this new dynamic will have a variety of new opportunities for revenue growth and cost savings.
Attendees/customers shared some key concerns and questions around IoT integration in manufacturing, inquiring about how Cisco can help:
- How do we move data from machines and sensors to a place where we can analyze the data?
- How do we capture the knowledge of the aging workforce and train the younger ones?
- How can we use a remote expert solution to minimize travel costs and better analyze problems as they happen?
- How can we reduce energy consumption and how does Cisco solution compare with others like Johnson Controls, Honeywell etc.?
Overall, both summits proved to be successful and provided an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas, share questions and concerns, and paint a picture of how the manufacturing industry is evolving, as industry leaders’ work to optimize plant floor technology, manage a dynamic workforce and control costs. What are you most excited to see from IoT in manufacturing? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!