Equipment manufacturers working to navigate the rapidly changing business landscape in today’s economy may be hard pressed to find the time and resources to launch new applications, roll out new products or implement new technologies while simultaneously keeping up with competitors and internal deadlines. However, with the use of cloud computing, these and other realities are made all the more possible and convenient for manufacturers that adopt this new technology.
But cloud computing capabilities are sometimes viewed as a technology of the future – advancements that will someday be useful, but just not yet. This logic, however, has the ability to set manufacturers back years if they do not quickly adopt the cloud and its many uses. While some firms sit on the sidelines and continue to work within their current technological frameworks, others are actively engaging and seeing the benefits of cloud technologies in real time, from the production floor to the warehouse to the customer.
To avoid being left behind in the global transition toward cloud technology, here are six things manufacturers need to know:
1. Updating older technologies is easier than one may think
Switching over to a new system can be quite the daunting experience, taking months or even years to fully complete. But in the future, equipment manufacturers will no longer need to further update their hardware and on-site software, because the cloud system is updated automatically without the need for intervention on the part of manufacturers. Suppliers of the cloud framework remove weaknesses, improve efficiency and introduce new applications on the back end so manufacturers don’t have to set time and money aside to come up with their own technological solutions that would traditionally come from an internal IT department. These include fixes to any bugs and protection against any potential cyber security threats as well.
“Having a collaborative infrastructure in place can make transactions and data sharing more efficient.”
2. Digital information isn’t stored on site
Just as the name implies, the cloud operates in an invisible network of sensors and signals, communicating and transferring data immediately upon entry across entire airwaves regardless of location. The days of housing large data centers with millions of dollars worth of hardware on site are over – not to mention, the need to purchase new software or update systems in accordance with the latest technology is removed as well.
3. Analytics can remove inefficiencies
Some may falsely believe the removal of in-house networks could endanger the posterity of vital company documents and data. However, manufacturing data is actually stored in the cloud itself and can be accessed at the touch of a button. One step further, this data can be categorized and collated to serve a more useful purpose, granting manufacturers the ability to pull information from the cloud without having to wade through vast webs of in-house files.
Additionally, the data being transferred is useful in removing inefficiencies previous methods may have created. Instead of using physical parts catalogs, these indexes can be moved to the cloud, making it easier and more transparent for manufacturers and dealers to follow up on customer orders.
4. International business is more manageable
Instead of having to regulate and monitor the security and efficiency of external hard drives, company-issued computers and other devices, manufacturers use the cloud to consolidate daily workflows and facilitate greater engagement across borders, the Harvard Business Review reported. Whether an employee is working from home, a new overseas partner is securing an international deal or operators are improving global supply chain efficiency, the ability to log into a single browser at any point in time or location streamlines communication. And when conducting international business, having a collaborative infrastructure in place can make transactions and data sharing more efficient.
5. Sales and products can be tracked in real time
As electronic parts catalogs are moved online, so too are spreadsheets and reporting systems that keep tabs on all incoming and outgoing equipment. With access to the same network within the cloud, manufacturers can see when a part has made it through the production process, where it is stored in the warehouse, to whom it is sold and for how much in real time. The only requirement is that users enter data related to that specific part before passing it on. This allows owners to track sales and individual products and identify which items are performing best, providing key insight into customer demand.
6. Its adoption will be permanent
The permanence and success of cloud technology can be seen daily, whether it’s a consumer using a smartphone or an automobile connected to advanced global positioning systems. Research institute LNS Research indicated more than 90 percent of software providers are actively investing more heavily in cloud capabilities, highlighting just how much the technological landscape has shifted. In addition, traditional manufacturing software providers are creating more electronic parts catalogs, essentially directing manufacturers toward the way of the future. For example, Documoto allows equipment manufacturers to effectively update and maintain parts catalogs conveniently at any time or location.
To learn more about how you can modernize your parts catalog with Documoto, watch our free on-demand webinar.