12 Must-Have Cloud Solutions for Modernizing Manufacturing IT

12 Must-Have Cloud Solutions for Modernizing Manufacturing IT
12 Must-Have Cloud Solutions for Modernizing Manufacturing IT

Over time and as manufacturers continue to integrate IoT and smart devices, automation, robotics, data analytics, and other intelligent technologies, their IT environments will also need to change. This is where the concept of the cloud can offer significantly more than traditional on-premise infrastructure.

Cloud solutions are highly flexible, provide collaborative environments, are capable of supporting failover scenarios, and are cheaper than traditional IT structures. Adapting to the cloud is now a best practice in manufacturing companies’ strategies that aim at increasing productivity, minimizing disruption time, and engaging employees for continuous creativity.

If you’re considering how cloud-based services can transform your manufacturing operations, here are 12 must-have perks to factor in.

1. Scalability on Demand

One of the greatest advantages of cloud solutions is their ability to easily scale the service. In the usage model, compute capacity, storage, and network can be easily increased or decreased depending on the actual needs of the manufacturers. This means that resources do not have to be bought in advance and the cloud infrastructure automatically manages them. 

However, what manufacturers only provide is the underlying cost of materials used in production. The cloud also self-provisions and self-adjusts to meet the additional demands and burdens in high- or low-workload situations so that it may work efficiently without much interference.

2. Flexible Access from Anywhere

One of the benefits of using the cloud platform is that it can be accessed from anywhere in the world using any device that is connected to the internet. It enables manufacturers to provide centralized data and apps to factory floors, distribution centers, other manufacturing facilities, stores, field service engineers, and other off-site workers. 

The workers can access the specific systems they require at any time from any location. This versatile ‘work from anywhere’ flexibility makes it easier to work alongside different locations and make decisions.

3. Reduced Time to Market of New Apps

On-premises IT infrastructures use monolithic applications, which take extensive time in coding, integration, and quality assurance before being released to production. The cloud gives the manufacturers the option of implementing the modular applications in weeks or even in days. With cloud-native, prebuilt services, manufacturers can get new apps off the ground in no time to power innovation or operational change.

4. Automated Updates and Patches

Upgrading software is one of the most time-consuming tasks, which consumes a lot of IT time. Cloud solutions do this by releasing regular updates of enterprise software and security patches for the entire network. That is why this solution helps IT departments in terms of workload management and guarantees the systems are up-to-date with the necessary norms and standards. It also reduces vulnerability to cybercrime.

5. Enhanced Business Continuity

Disasters, blackouts, hacking and other mishaps can readily affect on-premise equipment and shut down manufacturing processes. Cloud platforms offer a set of native features for backup, disaster recovery, and geo-redundancy to reduce time lost. The data and productivity of the manufacturing operation are not compromised, as the manufacturers can easily switch to the backup infrastructure.

6. Advanced Data Analytics

The use of cloud platforms enables manufacturers to streamline the process of collecting data from various facilities into a single source of information. Centralization of OT, IT, and IoT data in the cloud creates massive opportunities for advanced analytics in the enterprise. 

Manufacturers get increased visibility into holistic processes, enabling them to drive improvements to product manufacturing, supply chain, inventory, product design, and even the condition-based maintenance approach known as predictive maintenance (PdM).

7. IoT and OT Integration Enhances Efficiency and Innovation in Organizations

The current on-premise  IT infrastructures are unable to support the huge volume of data that is generated from the IoT devices, sensors and industrial machinery in the manufacturing facility. The various cloud platforms enable the ingestion and processing of vast amounts of OT data alongside enterprise IT. 

This eliminates data confinement to help provide better information to make the right decisions. And it makes way for manufacturers to be able to put into practice things most related to artificial intelligence.

8. Improved Supply Chain Transparency

As for global supply chains, they have turned into a very cutthroat affair. Supply chain management apps that operate via the cloud come equipped with complete visibility of suppliers, logistics, inventory, and channels. This way, manufacturers know exactly where products are at any given time to prevent shortage issues and manage changes and delays. It also enhances collaboration when partners implement cloud-based supply chain platforms to bring them on board.

9. Efficiency as a Result of Cost Savings and Pay-per-Use Pricing Strategy

Cloud solutions also reduce the cost of acquiring data center infrastructure and hardware to be used in carrying out IT operations locally. The pay-per-use pricing model also reduced costs for manufacturers since expenses incurred on unutilized capacity were eliminated. The costs are based on the amount of storage, computation, services, and applications required per month. Plus, cloud expenses are not tied to fixed, sunk costs but rather to revenue-generating processes.

10. Strengthened Security Posture

A common misconception that many manufacturers have is that they believe that on-premises IT ownership is a safer option than cloud services. Nevertheless, cloud platforms come equipped with highly effective security features many manufacturers cannot provide themselves: encryption, network security, access control, data loss prevention, anomaly detection, and threat monitoring. 

The Cloud providers also assure the security and compliance of their operating platforms through certification.

11. Simpler Compliance Management

The regulations are most strict for manufacturers of products in the aerospace and medical device industries, automotive industries, chemical industries, and pharmaceutical industries. Compliance management for on-premises systems requires a lot of effort and resources. Cloud solutions also have features for auditing, reporting, and controls to make all these compliance procedures processed automatically, thus making manufacturers always ready for audit.

12. Expert Support On-Demand

The internal teams of enterprises are not able to concentrate on their key business functions since they are required to manage the IT infrastructure of the enterprise. The cloud eases this pressure via the platform by offering the services as a managed solution. 

Cloud providers manage the infrastructure and application-related problems, resource allocation, when to move applications or services between data centers, and the applicability of upgrades. Clients can delegate the non-core value-added work and the idea generation to expert service providers.

Final Words

Entering the world of cloud computing in an organization’s manufacturing arm calls for both technological and cultural shifts from the traditional on-premise infrastructure. But the benefits are greater than the short-term issues that one may note in implementing its policies. Cloud platforms provide the level of visibility, continuance, response time, protection, and stability companies in the manufacturing sector require to compete effectively.