In manufacturing, what you can see determines what you can prevent. Your ability to make improvements and corrections based on the early detection of machine-failures is the best solution when it comes to preventing downtime. But when your infrastructure can’t support full visibility into operations, things get tricky. It becomes even more complex as you expand your business and acquire new connections that aren’t compatible with your current equipment. Talk about a headache!?
The good news is, there’s a seamless way to solve this problem. But it all starts with your infrastructure.
Determine whether your outdated and in trouble—Understand the risks you’re facing and what’s at stake—Discover how others have successfully upgraded and are now saving millions—Take action now and prioritize your future.
Determine whether you're outdated and in trouble
Do any of these problems sound familiar?
- You’ve added new manufacturing equipment capabilities and now your switches won’t work/You have failing switches that are overdue for replacement.
- You want to automate new areas on the plant floor, but your current equipment can’t support it.
- Your business needs to manage much more data than it has in the past without creating any security holes
- You’re networking team is becoming more spread out with mergers and acquisitions, having to train a limited team to be knowledgeable on multiple different platforms.
If you find yourself relating to these situations, you’re not alone. The latest Trend Micro Report reveals that 65% of manufacturing environments are still running on outdated operating systems—including firewalls, switches, and storage systems that are no longer supported by the manufacturer.
Reason 1: It’s becoming your biggest threat
Understand the risks you’re facing and what’s at stake.
The biggest problem that manufacturers with old equipment face is the drastically increasing vulnerability to cyber threats, network failures, and outages—All of which may, in turn, have a serious impact on the company’s business operations and reputation. An article by Cheops reveals that all technology is prone to breaches and threats. The fact is that modern technology is continuously supported by manufacturers and regularly given the required patches and updates to counter these threats. When an IT infrastructure reaches end of life after 7 to 10 years, the manufacturer will no longer support the product. The absence of new patches and updates means that vulnerabilities that cropped up since support was discontinued will simply remain unresolved. It will only be a matter of time before they put all your IT at risk.
And there is not just one complication triggering this conversation. You have multiple reasons why an upgrade is becoming necessary. Above all else, you want to be ready for the new opportunities to grow your business and beat your competitors to market. The backbone of growth in this industry is a robust networking infrastructure that’s ready to evolve with your business as it expands.
Reason 2: Those who’ve upgraded are now saving millions
Let’s look at a transformation story that will make you rethink your current strategy.
The world’s leading automatic transmission manufacturer, AWNC, had an outdated network costing them 1 million dollars every two weeks due to outages. They knew it was time for a big-change so they got rid of their outdated communications and networking equipment and replaced everything with Cisco.
“This transformation has exceeded our expectations on every level, in the year it’s been in place, the Cisco network has optimized factory productivity and improved the bottom line of the Durham plant so much that we’ve already recouped our initial financial investment.” said Ayako Wilson, Senior General Manager, AWNC.
The payback was immediate. AWNC recouped their entire investment within the first 9 months all without experiencing any downtime. The payback was quickly evident in the people, processes, and systems. Production personnel at AWNC now have real-time access to data that, until the installation of the new network “had been handwritten and transferred to spreadsheets and then analyzed and reported on days or weeks later. With the new network foundation, as well as a new MES and related systems in place, data generation, gathering, collection, analysis, and presentation to operators, engineering and management happens in minutes and hours—not days and weeks.
Manufacturers that are looking to manage increasingly more data and grow into new markets are just seeing that big change is necessary and everyone is being affected by it.
Reason 3: You will grow faster by doing more with less
Take action now and prioritize your future.
Everything is changing in manufacturing. IDC reports that “By the End of 2021, 25% of Global Manufacturers Will Apply Machine Learning to Data Across Product Development, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, and Service for More Rapid Decision Support, Improved Quality, Differentiated Products, and Innovative Business Models.” You want to be well rooted in the ground with a strong foundation designed to last. We are constantly discovering how industry 4.0 and digital transformation provide new opportunities to drive productivity, protect assets, and process data like never before. What’s even more exciting are the capabilities that these new technologies enable
- Mass customization for connected consumers
- Empowered employees accessing critical data at their fingertips
- Optimized production directly aligned with demand
- Live product performance for quick changes and increased productivity
According to a recent Deloitte industry outlook report, manufacturing companies are trying to think outside the box when it comes to expanding markets. 64% percent of the manufacturers surveyed are looking for increased market share in their existing markets. How do they expect this to happen? Through innovation. Brands are looking to stay ahead of industry trends and strengthen customer experience. When a brand can introduce a new technology that competitors have yet to offer, consumers wishing to own that technology will buy it. Many will become loyal customers, adding to the brand’s market share.
By Caroline Hilla
Published with permission from blogs.cisco.com.