In the manufacturing sector, the top priority has traditionally been to produce goods as quickly as possible. The problem is that while optimizing production lines is undoubtedly important, it often becomes impossible to achieve at scale. That’s why they need a platform for innovation that ensures ideas go beyond the drawing board and actually see the light of day. Since many manufacturing processes depend more and more on information technology, innovation in this area will help lay the foundations for achieving precisely that.
Yet, according to Deloitte, manufacturing firms only spend less than two percent of their revenues in IT, one of the lowest figures across all industries. But innovation doesn’t have to mean increased costs. In fact, if you have the right technology partner on your side, it can even reduce costs and enable innovation.
Here are four ways manufacturers can drive growth and empower innovation with managed services:
#1. Access talent on demand
Keeping processes on the factory floor efficient is one of the top priorities in the manufacturing industry. But while there are undeniably many ways IT can help streamline processes on production lines themselves, they’re not going to get very far without a rock-solid operational infrastructure. It’s time for the back office to get the attention it deserves, and that means innovating in IT as well. The major challenge here is that smaller firms, in particular, usually don’t have fully staffed IT departments of their own.
Partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) gives you access to the talent and other resources you need on demand. You can streamline back-office processes by migrating to a cloud-based infrastructure that doesn’t require you to make costly upfront investments.
#2. Reduce operational costs
Reducing operational costs has always been a top priority for any business, but that’s not easy if you’re trying to do everything alone. Hardware replacements and upgrades cost a fortune, and you also need to think about the maintenance required. Manufacturing equipment itself is often highly specialized and very expensive to deploy, while a lack of standardized and up-to-date protocols makes it much harder to upgrade. That’s why you need to think about the long-term future, even if it does mean making some significant lump sum payments.
Outsourcing your IT support reduces operational costs by allowing you to tap into expertise on demand and reduce your dependence on on-site computing hardware and costly software licenses.
#3. Proactively protect your firm
Cybercrime continues to proliferate as we become more reliant on technology and data. One of the most alarming developments in recent times is the increasing tendency for attackers to exploit industrial control systems and target supply chains. A lot of data breaches, as well as state-sponsored cyberattacks, happen on the factory floor. These attacks don’t just damage the manufacturing firm, but potentially anyone who relies on them as well, such as stores and suppliers.
Proactively protecting your digital assets is essential, but that doesn’t mean you need to start paying the six-figure salaries of cybersecurity specialists. Partnering with a dependable MSP allows you to outsource your security operations at scale.
#4. Increase technology uptime
Nothing gets in the way of your operations more than system downtime. Since more and more manufacturing systems rely on IT to complete processes, something like a server outage can quickly bring business to a grinding halt. For example, if your accounting system goes down, you might not be able to confirm or sign off orders on time, thus bringing production lines to a standstill. After all, it’s hard to imagine a factory being able to continue its normal operations if IT is unavailable.
Migrating your IT systems to the cloud, preferably under the guidance of an MSP, will help to increase resilience and maximize uptime. With multiple redundancies, automated rollovers, and guaranteed service availability, you can say goodbye to costly outages.
Wood Dragon IT provides consulting services and managed technology solutions to firms in Connecticut. Give us a call today to start setting up your innovation plan.