Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) is installing an Internet Protocol (IP) communications system.
The Japanese firm plans to install approximately 3,000 Cisco Systems IP phones in plants in Kure and Mizuho by February 2005. One third of these will be Cisco 7920 wireless IP phones. IHI will also introduce IP Communication systems in almost all plants, branches and offices ahead of the opening of a new head office in Toyosu, scheduled for 2006.
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With its IP communications technology, IHI aims to lower costs, improve productivity and promote progressive reforms in its corporate culture. Manufacturing was the driving force supporting the rapid economic growth of Japan and companies such as IHI still play an important role as the source of Japan's competitiveness. However, the rise of China and other Asian countries has resulted in increased international competition, making it less easy for Japan to maintain its competitive advantage in the manufacturing industry.
Japanese manufacturers are forced to reduce delivery times and avoid the loss of opportunities by strengthening communication between design and manufacturing workers. IHI formulated a five-year IP plan in 2001 and the same year updated campus LANs in plants at Tanashi and Yokohama from an ATM-based core to a gigabit network running with Cisco switches. Following this, the company's data WAN, made up of leased lines, was changed to a wide-area Ethernet service with Cisco routers. IHI is continuing with network updates such as the implementation of a gigabit network in its Yokohama Engineering Centre. Meanwhile the company has embarked on a project to update its voice network.