I read a great article in PRIME magazine regarding the role of unified communications in driving cost reduction in manufacturing.  The breakthrough here is the new focus on using UC for reducing operational costs in people-driven processes.  I've included an excerpt below...

"CIOs of Chinese manufacturing companies recognize that unified communications solutions offer unprecedented opportunities to reduce costs, foster collaboration and improve their competitive position, according to a new China Computerworld (CCW) Research study, sponsored by Nortel.

Of nearly 100 Chinese manufacturing company CIOs surveyed by CCW Research, close to 74 per cent believe that unified communications is essential for improving efficiency, while 64 per cent hailed its benefits in reducing the cost of employee communications.  These cost savings are being realised as unified communications break down the barriers across email, voice, video, conferencing, presence and other forms of communications to help employees work more easily and effectively than ever.

“Manufacturers have traditionally relied on improvements in manufacturing technology to increase the profitability and efficiency of their manufacturing processes but today’s information-driven business environment requires improvements in people-driven processes as well,” said Haitao Guo, senior analyst and vice general manager of CCW Research. “Our findings show broad support for unified communications among Chinese manufacturers. Early adopters are already finding that unified communications enhances their competitive position by enabling better collaboration amongst employees, partners, and customers no matter where they are located.”

I see huge potential for innovative new uses for UC in manufacturing and operations processes. More to come on this shortly, but I am already seeing many leading MES and factory automation vendors now building notification systems to connect into smart UC systems.  I welcome your ideas or creative use cases for UC in manufacturing.