Manufacturing, like so many other industries, has evolved hugely over the past 10 years.
To stay competitive against challengers from home and abroad, companies need to keep pace with changes. One of the biggest is the advent of cloud software.
Manufacturing isn’t an industry that you might typically associate with cloud software. However, switching has benefits for people working at all levels of it, from upper management to finance. While switching to the cloud isn’t right for every manufacturer, in this post we’ll be running down the 5 reasons why moving to the cloud could be your next step.
What is the cloud?
Before we talk about why manufacturers should move to the cloud, we should start by explaining what “the cloud” actually is.
“Cloud computing” refers to any technology services or infrastructure that’s provided over the internet. The cloud houses a lot of things nowadays, from social media to search engines – but businesses will host their cloud software on what’s called the “private cloud”. This means only authorised users can have access.
The 5 Reasons
1. It’s More Accessible
In post-COVID times, you can no longer rely on all your team being in the same place at once. This can obviously present issues if they need to access an on-premise system, but not so with the cloud. This accessibility makes everyday accounting and sales easier, and also means problems can be rectified quickly when they appear. For larger companies – perhaps with locations around the globe – cloud computing also allows their teams to stay connected.
2. Cost Effectiveness
On-premise computing has a lot of upfront costs associated with it. From the set-up fees to the updates, not to mention dealing with emergencies…it can all add up.
Of course, cloud software is still an investment – but it’s often cheaper due to the lack of physical maintenance. Additionally, it tends to work on a subscription model. This means that you know exactly what you’ll need to pay month-to-month – meaning you can redirect money to the really important stuff.
3. Data and Insight
No matter what they make, every manufacturer needs useful data. The hard part is knowing how to action that data meaningfully.
Unlike many legacy systems, many cloud accounting platforms are able to natively monitor important metrics like sales data and stock levels. This not only saves you from having to pore over the raw data, but means you can predict when stock shortages might occur, and plan accordingly.
4. It Can Help You Optimise Your Supply Chain
An efficient supply chain is a must for any manufacturer – and the way it works is changing. In the 2022 MHI Annual Industry Report, 75% of survey respondents predicted that digital models of supply chain management would dominate the market by 2027.
Despite the supply chain itself being so vital, keeping all of these separate elements working cohesively can be a difficult process (and that’s putting it lightly!)
With cloud solutions, all aspects of your process can be connected digitally – predicting what levels of new materials and components might be needed at any given time. This way, the supply chain can work to support your business, not slow it down.
5. Better security
Obviously, with cloud software you don’t have to worry about IT being damaged or stolen – but there are even more security benefits that come with moving to the cloud.
Have you ever been in a situation where every other aspect of your process is running smoothly, but a slow or outdated system lets you down? It’s infuriating; not only are your systems unavailable, but productivity can nosedive.
Many cloud computing systems backup and update constantly, without you having to lift a finger. They’re also compliant with relevant legislation, like GDPR – meaning you’re saved yet another headache.
6. Impacts Beyond Your Physical Products
Of course, your physical items are the biggest driver of income to your business – but they’re not the only one. Away from the production line, other departments – like marketing – also play a role, They can benefit from the introduction of cloud-based computing too. With the easier access to production and sales data that it provides, they can track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. In this way, they can contribute to the business’ success as consistently as their shop floor counterparts.
7. Makes Growing Business Easier
Growth is a goal for any manufacturing business. Mergers and acquisitions are a popular way to do this by joining forces with another. – but anyone who’s been through either of these processes knows how long-winded they can be. Sprawling physical IT systems can make it even harder, but cloud computing sidesteps these problems. Naturally, it doesn’t require anywhere near as much physical infrastructure or in-person support. This makes the initial setup far quicker, meaning your business doesn’t have to contend with long stretches of downtime while data is moved where it needs to be
8. The Talent Advantage
Skills shortages have been a concern in the manufacturing industry for many years. Even before the pandemic, Deloitte Insights was pointing to fewer younger employees in both management and technical roles as a constraint on growth.
Though this can’t be blamed wholly on a lack of cloud adoption, it certainly doesn’t help; manufacturing has an unfair reputation for being slow to change. As young people are digital natives, it follows that implementing cloud computing would be one way of making the industry more attractive to them.
Manufacturing and cloud technology might not be the most obvious of partners, but by embracing the benefits of this new technology, businesses in this industry can keep pace with a changing world.
If you’re a manufacturer looking to branch into the cloud, you need experts by your side! Contact PKF Smith Cooper Systems today on 01332 959008, or use the enquiry form.
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