There are few drivers accelerating the cloud adoption in the manufacturing sector. In my opinion, the Industrial Revolution has just started, but apparently we are halfway through this stage already. The fast-digital transformation with ever demanding manufacturing processes with big data processing, automation and robotics, mainstream IoT, production line optimisation, better quality management and full traceability in supplier chain characterises the current state of this market. I’m excited and little nervous at the same time to see what another 5 to 10 years down the line will look like.

Here is an interesting fact for you. I’ve recently been told that a well-known global poultry supplier uses AI chicken translators, drones and face recognition technology for every chicken and turkey hatched and follow their growth constantly! This is a BIG data, track & trace setup. Can you now visualise data used to construct a civil or defence aeroplane for example with traceability, quality control, operational procedures, often cost reduction, documented technological developments (DevOps) and protection, testing, and so on? So, from these two examples, we can guess that manufacturers are in constant pressure to deliver the top top-quality products and services rapidly and be able to stay ahead of the competition. Surely, any on-premise IT infrastructure would disallow or at least significantly limit these developments.

Typically, the on-premise IT infrastructure is not agile enough to deliver the high-tech rapid product developments within short time-to-market schedules. Cloud platforms can help these companies providing the agility, elasticity, customisation, scalability and security. To put numbers against this, it has been predicted that cloud-hosted services will account for almost half of all organisation-level software usage among manufacturers by 2023.

Cloud for Industry 4.0, IoT and new technologies

Automation, robotics and IoT are advancing at high speeds, and most manufacturers already or will struggle to keep up, and not to mention being competitive. By the time your IT department has researched, got executive approval, purchased and implemented new hardware, a faster and more advanced technology may be already available.

Of course, Industry 4.0, IoT and collaborative technologies driving the market fast, with almost 4 billion connected devices are being used daily. Manufacturers will soon have to adopt 5G connectivity and advanced sensor technology, mostly used in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), to drive even further growth and industrial adoption to boost their productivity, enhance product quality, implement more green technologies and drastically reduce costs.

A good step forward is to incorporate a solid cloud platform to help your company to grow not just the bottom line, but also to provide an unrivalled product accordingly to the customer demands.

The “as a service” platform allows you to spin up a server in a matter of minutes and get a product ready for testing in a matter of weeks. The cloud with its elasticity gives manufacturers the foundation to design, test and analyse on a global scale.

 

Improved production quality

CRM and other product lifecycle management systems are prevalent in manufacturing companies. Anything to do with build-to-order and make-to-stock manufacturing has to have these systems implemented. The cloud provides a perfect platform to collect, store and analyse data from manufacturing facilities often from different locations.

Cloud solutions for manufacturers are going to be a solid backbone in the near future as products get more complex and new product lines get launched into the market more dynamically.

 

Cloud agility

The cloud offers manufacturers the opportunity to be more responsive to shifting market conditions due to the technology’s inherent flexibility and scalability. With this advantage, the company’s system architecture can grow or shrink in accordance with market conditions, as well as client demands. The ability to respond quickly will be an important competitive edge, this is a matter of fact.

The ability to flex and pay for only the resources that are consumed whether it is storage, memory or processor power is a significant benefit for any manufacturer.

One of the other reasons manufacturers are adopting cloud technology is the systems’ ability to support client service or supply chain. Furthermore, cloud platforms are much easier to deploy and launch within any company operational systems and allow to decrease any delays during machine maintenance and system upgrades.

 

Cloud security

The majority of manufacturers are relying on outdated or end-point security systems unable to address the number and complexity of cyber threats. Companies need to use more complex ways of securing their data, as the traditional firewall approach may not be enough to keep hackers and malicious users from accessing their networks or data.

The manufactures can choose many cloud services to secure their data. One of these could be Backup and Recovery as a Service. The primary advantage of backing up data to the cloud is doing so creates a backup that is geographically isolated from on-premise infrastructure. This helps to ensure the survivability of your data in the event of cybercrime including data theft, fire, flood, and other disasters. Also, most cloud software allows for recovering critical applications extremely quickly.

With continuous network and connection monitoring, no anomalous behaviour goes unnoticed, most of the time giving manufacturers a greater level of visibility and protection as they would have on-premise.

If you need any further advice on how cloud solutions can accelerate your company growth and protect your data please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

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