In 1994 Cisco System’s Manufacturing Team announced the strategic intent of being the undisputed world leader in Supply Chain Management. By 2001, Cisco had implemented a ‘virtual factory’ in which almost every function of production and fulfillment was performed through an outsourced network. These functions included Parts Procurement, Material Management, Sub Assembly Outsourcing etc.
In 2010, Cisco began to roll out the next phase of this virtual factory through an internally developed software solution called Cesium. Cesium allows the Cisco Manufacturing Team to connect virtually and tap into the manufacturing data of thousands of suppliers and manufacturers to achieve real-time visibility into quality trends. Cisco says that it can respond more quickly to quality trends and events with access to accurate quality data from its supply network (source Managing Automation April 09, 2010).
Cisco has no plans to market Cesium as a commercial offering, though they do recognize the advantages of maintaining such a solution. “We see quality as a competitive advantage for Cisco,” said Roger Bhikha, Cisco’s Senior Director of Systems and Component Quality. In addition to improved data-quality collection, Cesium is expected to improve Cisco’s component-level compliance and traceability by 20%.
As Cisco realizes the benefits of connecting to their Supply Chain with an automated data collection, analysis and database solution other companies do not necessarily have the financial and human resources required to develop an internal solution. IntraStage can provide a proven, off-the-shelf alternative for those companies which desire a quick, less costly solution with comparable features and capabilities.