Four ways to improve manufacturing efficiency using managed IT services

Manufacturing organisations have special technology needs. With the right managed IT services provider, manufacturing companies can automate and enhance processes as well as overall productivity of the internal IT teams, says Neelesh Kripalani of Clover Infotech
Four ways to improve manufacturing efficiency using managed IT services
Manufacturing industry is a web of heavy machinery, automation, complex processes, and labour-intensive work with a need for accuracy and precision. In the past few decades, manufacturing industry has adopted various technologies to ease or optimise processes, in order to deliver products and go-to-market faster. But due to its domain being far away from IT, the industry has constantly found it challenging to focus on both the core processes as well as its underlying IT infrastructure. The situation demanded for a service provider with IT expertise that can manage the overall IT landscape as well as optimise it for better returns.

Managed IT services providers (MSPs) have the ability to completely take over an organisation’s IT and manage it with their domain expertise and core competency. This works well for the manufacturing industry as they are able to focus on their core competencies and leave the rest to the managed services provider to optimise their workforce, and enhance productivity.

Having a managed services provider in place can prove to be beneficial as they can drive the digital transformation for the organisation as well as free the internal IT team to focus on strategic objectives rather than day-to-day IT support. 

Here are 4 ways in which an MSP-IT can benefit the manufacturing industry.

1. Stay updated
Manufacturing organisations need to adapt to the changing technology landscape to stay relevant and competitive. With a torrent of innovation in technology, it is difficult to identify the right technology to invest in and implement. Internal IT teams can’t keep pace with latest technological updates and, hence, are unable to build strategic plans. MSPs are always updated about the latest technological innovations, and know how and when to use them. MSPs can consult and build a perfect mix of these solutions that will help manufacturing with its digital transformation as well as fetch better ROI.

2. Reduced downtime
Manufacturing industry relies heavily on data captured from IoT devices, machine learning and artificial intelligence for better efficiency and accuracy of the finished product. Be it identifying damaged goods or capturing product barcodes for expiration, processes that rely on digital solutions can’t face downtime. A sudden failure in data processing, or a server downtime on a mission-critical application can halt the production line that might cost millions. Fixing or trouble-shooting these issues with the help of Internal IT teams can take up more time depending on the nature of the issue, costing millions more. An MSP can help to identify and fix such issues faster due to domain expertise and repetitive exposure. An MSP can also help to prevent such issues with timely patch management, bug fixes, regular environment testing, and so on.

3. Optimised IT spend
In this recent wave of digital transformation, the manufacturing industry has opted for digital solutions to enhance its processes and optimize costs. Implementation of such solutions require comprehensive knowledge of resource planning and availability, costs involved, scalability, back-up and disaster recovery. Internal IT teams may find it difficult to plan for such implementations due to lack of exposure to such technology and projects. An MSP can help overcome these challenges as they are well versed with the pre-requisites of such implementations. They can help a manufacturing organization to create a structured plan with defined objectives and milestones in place. This will help an organization to avoid unnecessary and unpredicted costs. Manufacturing industry also benefits from having an MSP in place, as it help in budgeting IT spends better, by creating a structured pattern to its IT spends without worrying about unpredicted events and related costs.

4. Data security
Organizations have to be wary of the security risks that come with growing digital footprint. Manufacturing industry is no different. With the use of platforms such as IoT and artificial intelligence, underlying data becomes a key target for cyber-bullies. Even a miniscule vulnerability in the underlying IT can cause a rupture that can lead to irreversible damage to an organization and its reputation. Prevention of such attacks require latest understanding of security vulnerabilities, latest OEM patches, regular production environment testing, and implementing a robust security layer on top.

An MSP can not only fix such issues but can also prevent such attacks from happening in the first place. MSPs are constantly updated about latest security trends, vulnerabilities, cyber-attacks and, hence, can design a robust security layer to safeguard your data and make your IT infrastructure more resilient. This will help manufacturing organizations to focus on their core competencies rather than on data storage and security.

Conclusion
Manufacturing organisations have special technology needs that should only be accommodated by an IT solutions provider. With the perfect managed IT services provider in place, manufacturing industry can automate and enhance processes as well as overall productivity of the internal IT teams. It can make the data and underlying IT much more resilient, reduce total cost of ownership, scale IT with new business requirements, generate better ROI, and be one step closer to being a part of the smart and lean ‘Industry 4.0’.

About the Author:
Neelesh Kripalani is the Senior VP & Head - Center of Excellence of Clover Infotech

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