Cisco partners logistics consultant to provide SCM solution

A key piece to the solution is Cisco's Integrated Services Router, which the networking equipment maker says will securely connect disparate pieces of a supply chain.

SINGAPORE--Cisco Systems has unveiled a suite of solutions that it says will help optimize business processes within a supply chain, which run over an Internet Protocol (IP) network.

At the SCM (Supply Chain Management) Logistics World event held here earlier this week, the networking giant announced it has partnered logistics consulting firm D.W. Morgan to help Fortune 1000 manufacturers implement the Cisco Demand Driven Supply Chain (DDSC) solution. The DDSC suite comprises Cisco's Integrated Services Router (ISR), wireless LAN (local area network) products, security products, as well as its IP communications and voice solutions.

The ISR is an integral piece of the DDSC solution, said Victor Szczerba, global lead at Cisco's supply chain solutions division. The router is embedded with data, security, and wireless technologies, which a company could plug into any IP network and create its "own, secure, centrally-managed network location", he said.

Disparate components of the supply chain, such as the company headquarters, manufacturing factory, the ODMs (original design manufacturers), third-party service providers and retailers, could plug the ISR into their networks, and share and access information securely in real-time, Szczerba explained.

One such customer is Adept Technology, an automated materials handling and assembly equipment manufacturer, which outsourced its logistics and transportation management functions to Cisco and D.W. Morgan.

The DDSC solution can help the company respond immediately to a customer's needs, said Lee Blake, Adept's vice president and general manager, in a media statement. "We might connect a customer in China to a service person in Germany, who could dispatch the necessary parts from a Singapore facility," he said. "(With the solution), we know what parts are available, where they're located, where they're needed and how to ship them fast and cost-effectively."

The DDSC solution will ship in two weeks' time. Cisco officials declined to disclose its pricing, except to say that the ISR costs "a couple of thousand (US) dollars".