I am consistently asked by our customers: How can manufacturers contain customer satisfaction without excessive overstock? How can manufacturers better predict the output of manufacturing? What is the impact of manpower, materials, and methods on OEE? Could there be a link between IT-OT infrastructure and manufacturing visibility and resiliency?

Manufacturers are meeting these challenges by adopting a digital first model and many plan on accelerating their technology transformation to power real time visibility and execution. Industry research shows that by 2023, 30% of manufacturers will enhance their shop floor digital twin with real-time signal transponder data, leading to an 80% reduction in logistic bottlenecks in shop floor and storage areas – Source: IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Manufacturing 2021

In a complex manufacturing supply chain, one weak link can bring an entire plant down. How can manufacturers achieve perfect order while overachieving customer satisfaction? The answer is found in manufacturing visibility and resiliency.

Insights and Action: Quickly see the source of problems, for swift remediation

Most manufacturing visibility and insight can be developed through analysis of the real-time stream of data. Looking through that stream, we can identify patterns in materials, machines, processes, and labor, that lead to delays, quality issues, or cost implications. This visibility includes material variance insight, overall equipment effectiveness insight, overall manpower effectiveness insight, and more.

Establish a scalable infrastructure: Reliability, assurance, automation, and security

The architecture to enable manufacturing visibility and agility is complicated. We have identified two major decision points that require immediate attention through building a reliable and connected infrastructure with an encompassing end to end cybersecurity

Build reliable and pervasive connectivity infrastructure

Connectivity is a prerequisite for collecting data from equipment, people, and the environment. Depending on use cases that range from basic wireless sensor networks, to software-defined networking, or programmable networks for large-scale management, there is a need for varying levels of sophistication. Manufacturers must assess the following when selecting the infrastructure:

  • Reliability, assurance, and automation (the biggest considerations for connectivity and data transmission).
  • Operability in various plant conditions (ex. outdoor locations exposed to adverse climates, ease of implementing rules-based configurations across sites, and control over network access—are key considerations).

Install intelligent E2E cybersecurity

Data is a manufacturer’s intellectual property and plays a central role in implementing manufacturing visibility and resiliency. Extracting, moving, computing, visualizing, and analyzing data will involve security risks. The entire production value chain and network must be secured against threats. Manufactures can achieve this with firewalls, intrusion detection systems, intrusion prevention systems, and endpoint protection. In addition, systems must continuously self-monitor to identify and isolate potential breaches.

Manufacturing visibility and resiliency offer great promise for manufacturers to optimize business operations and, at the same time, improve customer satisfaction. The golden key to pervasive manufacturing visibility and resiliency lies in the scalable infrastructure that delivers factory data in real time. This “restructuring” of your infrastructure allows your factory to be prepared for anything that can be thrown its way.

I have posted a few links below to help you get started on your journey today:

Cisco Manufacturing Solutions

Cisco Industrial Security Solutions

Cisco Portfolio Explorer


Carlos Rojas

Global Industry Lead