Voice over Wireless LAN in manufacturing

Voice over Wireless LAN offers benefits for manufacturing environments. VARs and systems integrators can use these advantages as selling points.

In manufacturing facilities, line supervisors monitor production lines and managers must be able to contact each other and other employees immediately to check the status of various operations and solve problems that regularly arise. A division manager in charge of a particular business unit, for example, is certainly anxious to ensure that the plant is getting products ready to ship in time to make revenue numbers. If a part of the orders for that period is at risk of not being completed in time, fixes can be considered and put in place to keep manufacturing on schedule.

A VoWLAN system makes communications in manufacturing extremely beneficial because managers are constantly on the move. In many cases, a manufacturing plant will have an existing wireless LAN in place, making the deployment of a VoWLAN extremely feasible. Even if the installation of wireless access points is necessary, the VoWLAN solution is still worthwhile because of the monetary benefits associated with immediate communications. In this situation, the value of the company to shareholders depends on effective communication among stakeholders in the manufacturing process. A VoWLAN solution allows managers to communicate immediately and solve problems to keep production in line with sales.

Toy manufacturer benefits from a VoWLAN system

The managers at a toy manufacturer were having trouble communicating with each other. For example, the manufacturing line for a particular toy would begin having mechanical troubles, which would require the manufacturing line supervisor to shut down production until someone could perform necessary repairs. This plant is large, and a single centralized maintenance group takes care of many production lines. The line supervisor would use his office phone to call the maintenance chief, who would then need to track down the right mechanic to fix the problem. The issue was that "phone tag" would result, causing significant delays. Often an hour or more would elapse before this coordination would be done and a mechanic would be notified that he needed to work on the problem. Meanwhile, the company would be losing $500,000 each hour the production line was shut down. Something had to be done to speed up communications needed to coordinate maintenance when problems arise on one of the production lines.

To solve the problem, this company installed a wireless LAN throughout the manufacturing plant to support the use of VoWLAN phones. All managers, supervisors, and maintenance staff were equipped with VoWLAN phones. A production line supervisor can now call the maintenance chief directly via VoWLAN phones. The maintenance chief may be out of his office assisting one of the mechanics and still be able to receive the call immediately. The maintenance chief can use the VoWLAN phone to coordinate the right mechanic to fix the problem. Because everyone carries the VoWLAN phone with them at all times, telephone tag is no longer an issue, and communication is immediate. This time savings significantly reduces downtime of the production lines, which in turn improves the company's profits.

Learn the role Voice over Wireless LAN can play in the following environments or download Chapter 1, VoWLAN applications and benefits from Deploying Voice over Wireless LANs by Jim Geier, and learn the history of Voice over Wireless LANs and how to calculate ROI.

Voice over Wireless LAN: Opportunities for VARs and systems integrators

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  How to calculate ROI

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