by May 15, 2014 0 comments

GM embraced a globally unified business model that emphasized the deployment of highly standardized engineering and manufacturing platforms that could be easily implemented and supported in any market around the world. Among other initiatives designed to support the new unified operating model, GM invested in information technologies to more tightly integrate its manufacturing plants across the globe, control costs, and accelerate the introduction of new communications and collaboration applications.

The Solution
Seeking to capitalize on opportunities for driving down costs and improving service levels, GM developed plans for a comprehensive overhaul of IT networks at its manufacturing facilities around the world. The new platform – called the Plant Floor Communications Network (PFCN) – would implement a single set of network-design standards worldwide and use the latest networking technologies and equipment from Cisco Systems. To date, the PFCN solution has been implemented at more than 150 GM plants across all its major markets.

The Results
The PFCN solution allows engineers to implement a variety of local physical setups to ensure optimal network performance at a particular plant. The solution includes guidelines that help engineers design both large and small-scale versions of the network.
The network downtime has been reduced dramatically, contributing to reductions in GM’s per-unit manufacturing costs. Furthermore, the new IP-based networks will enable GM to keep pace with new advances in plant-floor devices such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), which increasingly incorporate IP technology. In addition, PFCN will help GM integrate future communication applications that facilitate high-efficiency collaboration among its workforce while minimizing the risks associated with these deployments.

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