Manufacturing: Be there while staying here

September 26, 2011 - 3 Comments

One of the challenges all of today’s manufacturing companies face is global operations that require increased attention from a diverse and oftentimes shrinking or aging workforce. Manufacturers and machine builders are faced with challenges every day in terms of getting the right engineer or expert from her office to the plant floor half the globe away. If the plant is down or operating inefficiently there are huge cost impacts to the manufacturer, huge support cost to the machine builder, and just tremendous impact to the value chain.

At Cisco we have shaved hundreds of millions of expense dollars from our budget by using a variety of collaboration tools. These start with Unified Communications but they include tools like WebEx, TelePresence, Video and Active Collaboration Rooms. These all add on to the existing capabilities of Borderless Networks. Many of our manufacturing customers already use these tools and are successfully stripping cost from their Operations every day.

Imagine the power of walking into a conference room, pressing a button on the phone and instantly seeing your assembly operations in China and Germany, being able to share data with the operations people from both plants with your staff in Michigan. Finishing that meeting you can capture the action items via your interactive whiteboard, set up follow-up calls via WebEx (all without printing, by the way! A Green feature!). Then you can get a cup of coffee and head back to your office and handle the call from Brazil about the packaging machine that wraps half the skid, then shuts down – and you do that from your phone, finding the design engineer that is at a customer site in Australia. And you did this all without having to fly anywhere, and you had visual contact with everyone.

(I realize I crossed a lot of time zones in the above, but when we fly we do that today. How often have you been in China or Germany and gotten a call in the middle of your night?)

What would be the value of seeing this happen while you were home? And here I do mean home, in your home office, as well as your office across town. You resolve issues in a timely manner, you connect and collaborate with the right people wherever they are to resolve the current issue, and you can read a book to your son or take your daughter to her soccer game or cook dinner for your spouse. You can even go for a walk in the neighborhood and reacquaint with your neighbors.

All of these solutions and more are available today from Cisco. We do this through the same network you are reading this blog on. We do it in an Open Standard technology. It all exists today. And we do it without forcing you to walk through one of those body scanners at the airport. Isn’t that a plus?

If you aren’t familiar with our Manufacturing Solutions, get in touch. Tell us why you aren’t familiar or what we could do better. We value your feedback, and together we will get to better answers.

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  1. I ran into this commercial jvn2s6n4zN8and I thought it illustrated the point. There is some liberty taken as it from a third party that Cisco does not as yet recognize, but think of this:

    the opening table with you and a few constituents there.
    Facing the table opposite you. Licking their chops.

    With Telepresence and/or WebEx you can resolve this. Be not afraid!

  2. Mark – excellent point about lack of experts these days. I remember reading a Reprint from Energy Manufacturing 2010 Supplement of Manufacturing Engineering® that talked about what we now call the Cisco and Librestream Manufacturing Mobile Video Collaboration Solution. Anyway, getting to the point, I was utterly amazed that the Oil industry is experiencing a growing shortage of qualified personnel. Really cronic in fact. Access to expertise is a long-term concern for the industry. Many of the industry’s most experienced personnel will retire in the next five to seven years with few incoming personnel to replace them. According to Booz Allen Hamilton, today there are only 1700 people studying petroleum engineering in 17 U.S. universities, compared with more than 11,000 in 34 universities in 1993. For example, at Saudi Aramco, the state-owned national oil company of Saudi Arabia, half of the workforce is less than 30 years of age and more than 60 percent of its engineers have fewer than 10 years of experience. These factors have created a critical need to deliver high-quality, just-in-time technical support to well sites in a repeatable, reliable manner. Cisco Pulse is another great solution to the problem – more info here for readers in the article: Baker Hughes uses Cisco Pulse to instantly locate worldwide experts for collaboration on well site operations. A great read for folks looking to solve cronic expert shortage issues.

  3. Well said Mark.