In the UK, the manufacturing sector is undoubtedly one of the most diverse industries; even its decline has been much maligned in the press and eyes of economists. It is still a conglomeration of many technologies and processes with very different end consumers the focus.
Employing nearly 3 million people, the sector makes up 11% of the entire UK economy; still a significant proportion of GDP.
The biggest enterprises in this large industry are, of course, faced with a lot of challenges. Some of these include coping with global growth requirements in new markets, increasingly aggressive global competition, the need for increased operational efficiency, and the seamless adaptation to the ever changing needs of the consumer in this new global village in which we live. At the heart of success is being able to overcome the problem of effective collaboration in the business, with their customer base and in the supply chain.
This is further magnified by an ever more dispersed operational base for many companies, with suppliers and pre-manufacture often happening thousands of miles away, leading to more air miles and a challenge with delivering speedy time to market. In an era when quality can’t be compromised margins are squeezed more than ever before.
Forward thinking manufacturing companies are looking towards modern solutions, such as video conferencing, to facilitate efficiency and growth. With this technology businesses can make faster, better decisions, reduce the costs of running a global supply chain, increase production flexibility and enjoy better collaboration across multiple locations. In short, they can be better whilst saving money in their processes.
Here are a couple of examples of manufacturing companies that are taking advantage of the benefits of video conferencing.
SRG Apparel: Global textile manufacturer
This is one of the biggest male and female fashion focused manufacturers in the UK. Their products are sold in supermarkets and high street retailers across the world. Although the company is based in the UK, it also has main offices in China and Bangladesh. This means that the company is reliant on the immediate nature of video conferencing to connect and interact with different parts of the business. The company is renowned in the industry for fast turn around times from design to prototype, sampling to delivery. They do everything they can to maintain their reputation, and meet the tight deadlines set by their many high profile retail clients.
To help simplify their processes the company implemented the Polycom RealPresence group video system in their offices worldwide, including in their manufacturing locations in China and Bangladesh. They also use the Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS to communicate with clients and customers around the world, to deliver professional and engaging interactions that foster more productive relationships.
With these solutions, the company is now able to identify risks in the business very quickly. Customers and clients can now touch base on a regular basis. There is less need for prototypes to be shipped from location to location. In short there is far more transparency in the business.
The video conferencing solution has also opened lots of new business opportunities for the company, as more high profile retailers around the globe can interface with the headquarters in the UK.
The company also uses video conferencing to stay abreast of market intelligence factors. This has helped them ensure they are well and truly up to date with global and local fashion trends.
Toshiba TEC: Global tech giant
This global tech giant has offices in the UK, other parts of Europe, in Asia, and practically everywhere else. The headquarters are in Tokyo, Japan. They provide electronic components, close up circuit boards, cash registers, barcode printers, RFID systems and a lot more. They are influential in the retail sector worldwide.
To ensure that their project teams in Europe and those in Japan are connected, the company deployed a range of Lifesize video conferencing solutions in strategic locations within the business. The solutions deployed feature a multipoint bridge, which makes it possible for 6 international groups to take part in a single conference at any given time.
Following the deployment of this solution, the company analysed its investment and saw a significant reduction in international travel costs. Today, 70% fewer flights are recorded between office locations. The solution was initially deployed for meetings at the European level and for audits with accountants, but, today, the video conferencing solution is being used for remote training and even the introduction of new products.
These are just a couple of high profile examples of how the manufacturing industry is using video conferencing to drive improvements in efficiency, reduce costs and increase productivity across their businesses. Video conferencing solutions from Polycom, Cisco and Lifesize have helped these UK manufacturers improve their bottom line and remain ahead of the competition.
In an industry where trends change monthly it is crucial that companies embrace every means at their disposal to make things happen faster. Video conferencing is fast becoming an indispensable tool in the manufacturing sector.