It wasn't too long ago that I was having a conversation with the manager of a manufacturing company, discussing how their business could benefit from cloud solutions. I’m happy to say that I think I gave this person a lot to think about, as the cloud can have a significant impact on a manufacturer’s processes.
However, I got to thinking myself… why not let more people in on how manufacturers can benefit from cloud solutions? Here are three ways that even small-to-medium-sized manufacturers find these solutions advantageous.
While cloud solutions can make any business more agile, this is especially the case when cloud computing is brought into the picture. Even the smallest manufacturers can benefit in a variety of ways thanks to the improved data that a cloud solution allows them to access. From tracking their available materials, to evaluating the efficiency of the manufacturing process, to dispersing the finished products, to the distributors that will ultimately put it in the hands of the end customers.
One of the biggest benefits that the cloud offers a business is how easy it is to put into place and update as necessary - especially when compared to traditional, on-premise solutions. Not only is your investment more manageable without the need to purchase additional pieces of infrastructure, a cloud solution is also more likely to be compatible with your existing infrastructure. Let’s face it - any technology you adopt that doesn’t actually work isn’t a solution, it’s another problem. Leveraging the cloud helps to ensure that your new investments and older investments still serve your needs. As a result, your processes are made more efficient, which contributes to the next advantage that the cloud offers manufacturers.
Consider the cloud solutions that modern manufacturers typically utilize during their processes. Now consider how the costs associated with these cloud solutions can quickly stack up, along with the time you’ll also need to invest into obtaining, implementing, and familiarizing yourself and your staff with these solutions. All of this time also has a negative impact on your finances, as the installation and learning curve will both reduce the amount you can get done in a set amount of time.
With a cloud solution, on the other hand, these costs are much easier to manage. Rather than having to make a large, initial lump investment, your costs are based on a subscription model. This makes them much easier to incorporate into your budget. As for the installation, the lost capital from time spent doing that becomes a non-issue. By its nature, cloud computing (assuming you aren’t maintaining your own, private solution) means that you are leveraging an external provider’s computing resources. When you do so, the provider is then responsible for keeping their cloud server up-to-date and optimized.
While a switch to the cloud admittedly won’t help the learning curve very much with an unfamiliar solution, it isn’t going to make it any harder, either. Most solutions that many people are familiar with are available via the cloud. This further reduces the impact that any learning curve with have... allowing you to use your solution to help push profitable operations that much faster.
Of course, we can’t discuss the expenses associated with the cloud without mentioning its scalability. Thanks to the capabilities the cloud can deliver, a business never has to be on the hook for more resources than they need.
There are a multitude of services that the modern business most likely relies upon in order to function effectively. While there are lower-tech alternatives that worked fairly well in the past, the cloud has given manufacturers far better opportunities to leverage instead.
For instance, security was once reliant on a few CCTV cameras and maybe a guard or two walking around a plant. Cloud computing now gives manufacturers a better option, in digital security cameras that record their much-higher-quality footage directly to the cloud, where it is much easier for you to access.
As far as business operations go, cloud solutions can be leveraged to improve your analytics, which in turn enable you to leverage business intelligence. Essentially, business analytics takes the data that your business produces - in this case, the metrics recorded within your factory and warehouses - and isolates patterns and trends. This way, you gain deeper insight into your past operations, as well as predictions as to how the business will progress.
For a final example (out of many more potential ones) the cloud can greatly improve communication within your establishment.
As a matter of fact, it can do so in numerous different ways. Shared documents allow everyone to have access to the same information, keeping everyone on (if you’ll forgive the expression) the same page. The cloud can also be used to host a VoIP solution, or store critical business data as part of a Backup and Disaster Recovery strategy. It is almost getting to the point that the cloud can fulfill just about any business need your operations present.
Are you interested in leveraging the cloud in more of your manufacturing processes? Reach out to KT Connections to find out what we have to offer. Call us at 605-341-3873.