The future of manufacturing lies in cloud computing processes. More than 90% of global enterprises use some form of cloud-based computing — including 66% of manufacturing enterprises. That number will only grow. Your business will likely transition to cloud computing at some point, and being prepared can streamline the process significantly.
How does cloud computing work? This exciting technological process runs software and systems over the internet rather than using a single computer’s hard drive. It takes three primary forms — software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). These services allow you to manage your business practices efficiently over the internet by enabling easy collaboration, offering centralized management and freeing your company’s technical operations from the confines of physical hardware like data servers.
Cloud computing offers numerous benefits for your business. It makes your company’s data more accessible to team members, and it allows for more dependable service because you won’t have to worry about servers crashing and disrupting your operations. It also saves you the expenses associated with server upkeep and other IT physical infrastructure costs.
Benefits of Preparing for Cloud Computing
Preparing your team before your company switches to cloud computing helps make the changeover more streamlined. Here’s why you’ll want to prepare adequately for cloud computing:
- Getting infrastructure and support ready: If you haven’t sufficiently prepared for cloud computing, you won’t know what capabilities you already have and what you’ll need. Quantify your internet bandwidth and speed requirements, and determine what support you’ll need for your cloud computing systems. These steps allow you to put the necessary infrastructure in place ahead of time so your transition can proceed smoothly.
- Developing an actionable plan: You’ll likely want to give thought to which workloads you’d like to move to the cloud. Many application-based workloads, such as those for marketing automation, work well as cloud-based systems. Determining these movable options ahead of time helps you formulate a concrete plan for the transition.
- Saving time: Preparing for cloud computing will expedite the process significantly. You’ll be able to get your cloud-based systems up and running right away, so you’ll reduce downtime and productivity losses and be able to provide strong continuity of service for your customers.
Steps to Take to Prepare for Cloud Computing
As you prepare your company for cloud computing, you’ll likely benefit from breaking the process down into specific tasks. Below are some of the critical first steps toward implementing cloud computing at your organization:
- Conduct pre-deployment and readiness surveys: Before diving into your cloud computing setup, be sure to quantify your capabilities and needs for the transition. Determine your existing bandwidth requirements per department and overall, and calculate the bandwidth requirements for each cloud system you plan to implement. Taking this step will allow you to scale your network connection to accommodate the demands of cloud applications.
- Assess what online business practices will look like: Currently, by default, most business practices take place offline. As you switch to cloud computing, more and more of your processes like sales, marketing and procurement may move online. Assess what infrastructure you have to support that change and what you will need to add to ensure success.
- Determine and stick to your priorities: If your company has limited bandwidth, you may not be able to run all your cloud computing systems simultaneously. Make a list of your priorities, and be sure to allocate enough bandwidth that they can run effectively.
- Upgrade your internet speed: To make a successful switch to cloud computing, you may need faster internet. Consult with your provider about an upgrade that makes sense for your cloud computing requirements.
- Create internet service provider (ISP) redundancies: As more of your business systems move online, an internet outage could wreak havoc on your operations. You may want to investigate the option of contracting with multiple providers so if one provider experiences issues, another will be able to keep your systems up and running.
- Think about how to integrate with emerging technologies: As processes move to cloud-based systems, new technologies may simultaneously come to the forefront of your business. In the future, manufacturing may make greater use of technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence and quantum computing to automate and streamline its processes. Consider how you may wish to integrate these technologies with your cloud capabilities and how to set up that integration.
Relationship Between Cloud-Based Computing and Manufacturing
Cloud technology is advantageous for the manufacturing industry because of the efficiency, flexibility and security it offers. Below are some of the benefits of using cloud computing in manufacturing:
- Increased productivity: Using cloud computing in manufacturing boosts your company’s productivity by allowing far-flung teams to work together over internet-based systems, eliminating inefficiency and decreasing manufacturing cycle time.
- Growth opportunities: Cloud computing offers many avenues for growth because its detachment from physical infrastructure gives it incredible flexibility.
- Expedited product development: Product development is quicker and easier when your design and engineering teams have adaptable, accessible platforms for collaboration.
- Scalability: Cloud computing systems are easy to scale with your growing business, since they have no ties to expensive physical hardware to limit them.
- Integration: Because of their accessibility via the internet, cloud-based computing systems offer tremendous ease of integration with external partners and systems.
- Data security: You might wonder how secure data stored on the internet can really be. However, cloud-based cybersecurity measures are often more stringent than network cybersecurity measures, providing extra peace of mind about data privacy.
Cloud Computing in Practice
Say that your business manufactures medical devices, and you’ve just switched to a cloud-based system. Your business strategy, including how you handle your supply chain, product development, distribution and services, might alter in several ways.
For instance, you would be able to use online inventory management systems to track products, reduce cycle times, increase order fulfillment accuracy and expedite delivery. You could store files in a secure online location where suppliers, designers, engineers and marketing teams could all access them. You could also use cloud-based platforms to communicate with component suppliers, enhance in-house teams’ collaboration and keep health care facilities informed of updated delivery times.
Cloud-based computing would also enable your company to enhance quality control for your medical devices. Some cloud-based services allow you to track, analyze and report quality status by supply center and product, helping you screen out defective components and reduce scrap and rework.
Contact MANTEC for Help With Implementing Cloud Computing
To improve your manufacturing operations by using cloud computing, partner with MANTEC for innovative technology solutions.
We are the best resource center for manufacturing companies in South Central Pennsylvania, and our teams of experienced professionals are happy to consult with your business about your unique cloud-based computing needs. We have the expertise to provide excellent implementation and ongoing support, and our cost-effective services give you unmatched return on investment.
Contact us today via our site’s “Let’s Talk” button to learn more, or give us a call at 717-843-5054.