Compiled By Deborah Austin Cap Gemini Ernst & Young U.S. LLC and GE Cisco Industrial Networks Inc. have allied to offer new adaptive manufacturing solutions: seamless connections between shop-floor operations and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Such connections enable two-way flow of (real-time) information . . . so production schedules become more realistic and dynamic and the shop floor can flex with business and operational changes, says Robert McKeel, vice president of marketing for industrial IT company GE Cisco, Charlottesville, Va., part of $6 billion GE Industrial Systems. The firms say adaptive manufacturing can cut build-to-order lead times up to 40%. In a nine-month pilot implementation at an Asia plant -- helped by management/information-technology consulting firm Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Paris -- days of supply inventory decreased by 90% and inventory turns accelerated from 50 to 270.