Chairman of the Board of Directors

A Look at the Impact of the Cloud on the Manufacturing Industry

As the cloud becomes an increasingly central part of our economy, companies in every industry are taking advantage of it. Manufacturing in particular is one sector that can benefit greatly from the technology. The industry has already been transformed by several groundbreaking innovations, from Big Data to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Cloud computing is another tool that can help manufacturers control costs, optimize production, and ultimately boost profits.

Already, the cloud has had a remarkable effect on manufacturers of all kinds. The platform can deliver a number of unique benefits that these companies need to remain strong competitors in their field. Read on to take a look at the impact that the cloud can have on the manufacturing industry.

 

It increases supply chain visibility.

Proper supply chain management is key to the success of any manufacturer. The supply chain represents the vast network that exists between suppliers and manufacturers that allows the latter to make products and distribute them to consumers. During the product development process, manufacturers must be able to gather, access, and analyze information about their supply chain to facilitate more efficient production and reduce costs. Cloud computing has made a significant impact on the entire supply chain management process because it allows manufacturers to do precisely this. Utilizing cloud-based programs, these organizations are also able to share information in real-time with suppliers and business partners.

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It mobilizes the workforce.

With the cloud, manufacturers are also able to reap the benefits of mobility. Where employees previously had to sit at computers to input and access data, they can conduct the same work on the go when programs and databases are hosted in the cloud. Cloud-based applications can be accessed via any Internet-connected device, including smartphones, tablets, and even wearable technology. As such, employees can find the information they need at any time and from anywhere. The greater mobility offered by the cloud also enables workers across an organization to collaborate more effectively.

When manufacturers take advantage of the cloud’s mobility, they can simplify the entire production process. For example, shop floor workers can use mobile devices to monitor machinery, while employees in the inventory department can access real-time shipping information at a moment’s notice.

 

It streamlines enterprise resource planning (ERP).

ERP plays one of the most essential roles in manufacturing, as it allows companies to collect and analyze data on their most fundamental operations and activities. Cloud-based ERP makes it easier for manufacturers to store, access, and gain new insights from this information, which can ultimately lead to better decision-making.

In its most basic form, cloud-based ERP systems enable manufacturers to integrate financial management, data analysis, operational oversight, and other functions into one platform. With a comprehensive ERP system such as this, manufacturers are also better able to manage operations at multiple locations.

 

It enhances business agility.

Modern-day manufacturers must be able to maintain their competitive position in a market that is now global. Cloud computing allows these companies to transcend the possibilities of traditional on-site systems in favor of more powerful options.

Through the cloud, manufacturers can tailor their IT investments to their specific needs. Should they require more online storage, they can opt for an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model. If they are looking to take advantage of a specific program, they can work with a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider.

With the wide range of cloud solutions, manufacturers can better position themselves for growth. Moreover, these solutions provide the infrastructure manufacturers need to scale operations upwards, without needing to invest in costly on-site IT resources.

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It facilitates connectivity across the enterprise and beyond.

The cloud enables manufacturers to enhance their connectivity in a number of ways. In day-to-day operations, workers can use the cloud to link programmable logic controllers (PLCs), manufacturing equipment, and smaller devices. This is particularly beneficial for shop floor employees, who require this level of connectivity to complete their work efficiently.

On a wider scale, cloud computing facilitates better connectivity across different levels of an organization. For example, managers can easily access real-time data from the shop floor and use the information to make better decisions. Cloud-based programs can also enable manufacturers to share the most current information quickly and easily with suppliers and vendors.

 

Cloud solutions can be customized.

By migrating to the cloud, manufacturers gain access to the functionality they require for success. However, manufacturers within different industry verticals often require different cloud solutions, rather than one-size-fits-all approaches.

Fortunately, Infor offers a range of cloud solutions that are customized for nearly every industry vertical, with special features and applications that address the unique concerns of companies in a particular field. For instance, those in the medical devices manufacturing industry can utilize Infor cloud solutions to improve quality control management and facilitate the validation process. Moreover, Infor’s cloud solutions enable them to maintain device history records (DHR) and manage compliance risk.