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Industrie 4.0: Cisco perspective

Industrie 4.0: Cisco perspective
Once you set aside technology, the three areas to be concerned about are cyber security, product quality assurance, and ethics. So the challenge is once you extend your network across the supply chain, you’re outside of your own domain of control. So delivering security within a single entity is relatively straightforward. The techniques are well-known and tested. How you extend that then across third parties that are not within your control is a bit of a challenge that needs to be investigated further. But from a technology perspective, it’s relatively straightforward. It’s all of the trust, and verify and the commercial aspects that need to be considered as part of the cyber security story.
So if you look at MRO– maintenance and repair operations– some of the stuff that’s being talked about at the moment is using 3D printing to avoid shipping costly parts around the world and reducing stock inventory and stuff like that. That’s all very well but as an OEM manufacturing, you’ve got to trust that third party that’s doing the 3D printing. That they meet your quality– your quality standards. That they use the materials that meet your requirements, et cetera, et cetera. And that is something that we haven’t really done very much in the past. So it needs to be looked at quite considerably.
Because ultimately the liability will go back to the original equipment manufacturer– not necessarily the third party that’s doing that for you. So one of the challenges, and it can be taken two ways really. One of the challenges of distributive manufacturing or going down the 3D route is actually you cut out large parts of the supply chain. You’re going from manufacturer direct to consumer. So what happens to the wholesale, the distribution logistics part of the supply chain? What impact are you having on them?
And if you are starting to manufacture closer to consumption, what happens in the low cost economies of the world– or the so-called low-cost economies of the world– that are making good money out of satisfying those needs at the moment? So there are some big ethical questions that need to be answered as part of the whole digital manufacturing industry 4.0 question.

Whilst many organisations struggle to come to terms with what Industrie 4.0 means to their business model, few have even begun to consider the supply chain implications.

In the short video you have just watched, Stephen Goodman (CTO for Industry and Infrastructure, Cisco Systems) shared a personal perspective on 3 key supply chain challenges for Industrie 4.0:

  1. Cyber security
  2. Product quality assurance
  3. Ethics

Whilst Stephen believes that the technical solutions exist to support cyber physical systems both within a company and across the supply chain. It’s the trust, verification and commercial aspects that need to be considered if Industrie 4.0 is to become a reality beyond the bounds of a factory. He also picks up on the liability theme mentioned by Len and Cerys in relation to 3D printing. Stephen perhaps had a clearer view on where liability may potentially lie, in his Maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) example, it was firmly with the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). His third theme was around ethics and Stephen challenged us to think about the impact of the developing countries, that we have favoured for global low-cost production if we return to more localised production.

In his full presentation, Stephen refers to Industrie 4.0, as the Internet of Everything, and the potential for it to be the Emperor’s new clothes. He raises an interesting point when he suggests that many companies are just beginning to grapple with what the term actually means, and have yet to really consider the supply chain implications.

Talking point

  • What are the potential threats from a cyber-security perspective?
  • What do you think will be the impact of the cyber-physical age on global supply chain design?
  • What are the ethical considerations?
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