Industries: Cloud technology helps small manufacturing firms
While the production facilities of small firms might not crank out the high volumes that mega factories do, the former can still benefit greatly from an approach that is driven by data. Processes such as inventory management, production monitoring, and quality control are made more efficient by the supply of relevant, real-time data.
To digest all of that information and turn it into actionable insights, small manufacturing firms like yours don’t need to construct your very own data center. This is good news since building, maintaining, and upgrading your own silo require huge funds. Instead, you can outsource your data processing and serving needs to a cloud service provider. Beyond incredible cost savings, here are ways cloud computing benefits modestly sized manufacturing companies.
In business, agility means the ability to shift directions quickly in response to change. For instance, sugar is increasingly being frowned upon as a cause of diabetes and obesity, so producers of sweetened beverages that can develop low- to no-sugar variants first can capitalize on this new consumer trend sooner.
In many production processes, agility is an intended result of data-driven approaches such as cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) and material requirements planning (MRP). By streamlining and centralizing data processing on the cloud, you get complete visibility over the entire operations. More importantly, if problems occur in a production chain, adjustment strategies can be developed and implemented quickly across that chain.
As the first assembly lines in early modern factories can attest to, efficient manufacturing is a team effort. In this regard, cloud-based collaboration solutions make working in teams even more efficient.
For example, videoconferencing lets members engage in online discussions, while cloud-based Office 365 productivity apps enable them to work on files concurrently while being physically apart from one another.
Supply chain visibility
Warehousing raw materials incurs costs but running out of supplies wastes precious production time. Having the quantity you need when you need it is optimal, but this is easier said than done. However, having a fully integrated supply chain system allows you to see where your materials are at any point in time.
And by having that system in the cloud, it can be centralized so that you only need to go to one place to view your network of suppliers, producers, and distribution channels. This gives you greater degrees of operational control that lead to meeting delivery schedules on time.
Tracking and monitoring
Manufacturing facilities handle many production processes. Monitoring quality and tracking progress is crucial to delivering exactly what customers ordered, but accomplishing these tasks manually is prone to expensive mistakes.
A better alternative is to use cloud-based monitoring and tracking tools to prevent human error. Machines can feature built-in sensors or be attached with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. Data can be funneled in real time to cloud-based programs that automatically regulate the machines. Furthermore, you get to track and monitor production remotely, letting you avert costly errors and ensure the consistent production of high-quality goods.
With so many local, state, and federal regulations to keep track of, compliance can become a Herculean endeavor. In fact, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, firms with fewer than 50 employees incur 2.5 times more costs than larger enterprises when complying with federal regulations.
To lighten the burden, small firms like yours can use cloud-based regulatory compliance software to help you monitor risks, remain up to date with the latest rules, and train staff to meet standards.
Being data-driven clearly has its perks, but if you rely on onsite IT infrastructure, downtime will definitely hurt your bottom line. By deploying your systems on the cloud, you’ll enjoy redundancies, backups, and business continuity and disaster recovery strategies. In short, you’ll practically eliminate the risk of downtime completely.
Beyond this, top-notch cloud service providers (CSPs) always keep their systems updated and monitored for cybersecurity threats — two tasks that you as a manufacturer ought not to trouble yourself with. Indeed, you can rely on CSPs for just about anything cloud-related so that you can focus on producing the best goods possible.
We’ve only scratched the surface of how cloud computing can help your manufacturing firm. To learn more, simply contact our experts at SimplyClouds. We’re eager to assess your systems and take your operations to the next level.