Larger manufacturers often have a cost and reach advantage compared to smaller companies. Traditionally, small to mid-sized manufacturers compete on a specific niche the larger company won’t touch or they offer higher quality or better service. But, there is another way to level the playing field: cloud computing.
Cloud computing offers unlimited scalability for manufacturers, as well as access to robust software that can power your business operations. New production systems, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and other innovations are available to small and mid-sized manufacturers thanks to cloud computing.
What are the Benefits of Cloud Computing?
Before we go any further, let’s define cloud computing. The term is often bandied about but rarely defined these days as the assumption is most people already know what the cloud is and what it is not. Instead of assuming knowledge, we’ll define the cloud along five key points:
- On-demand – cloud computing is available on demand, 24/7, through internet access.
- Pooled service – instead of one company purchasing software for its own use, resources are pooled. Multiple companies can share server space, software, and more for maximum cost effectiveness.
- Infinite scalability – you can expand cloud services in an almost infinitely scalable manner. From giant, intricate, global computing networks to a small manufacturer’s cloud computing needs, the cloud expands according to what you need.
- Measured basis – cloud services are measured and billed according to a prescribed payment system.
- Broad network access – the service is accessible to many people.
It is this flexibility, scalability, and portability that gives small to mid-sized manufacturers the edge with cloud computing. No longer locked into big purchases of software and hardware, they can use those funds for other resources while still acquiring the benefits of powerful and robust software, data, and systems.
How Does the Cloud Impact Your Manufacturing?
The cloud impacts nearly every aspect of modern manufacturing. Software such as ERP offers accounting and financial management with data, reports, and insight that used to be limited to expensive and proprietary databases. Business intelligence systems can transform forecasting and reporting while CRM systems offer unique and innovative methods of communicating with customers.
- Using cloud technology, manufacturers can track equipment, vehicles, pallets, and shipments through the Internet of Things; manage supply chain resources effectively; and integrate back and front-end systems into one dashboard for better operational control.
- Digital services such as cloud computing now provide approximately 25% of the total inputs that go into the manufacturing of finished products. Thanks to cloud computing, manufacturing operations are safer, more productive, efficient, and better able to keep pace with supply and demand.
- Cloud systems can shift up or down, downgrading or increasing as needed. This is of great benefit to small and mid-sized manufacturers who may need to adjust the scale of their operations to accommodate order and workflows.
Today, over 90% of global manufacturers use some form of cloud computing. A 2015 IDC study that surveyed 600 companies from 17 countries indicated 66% of manufacturers were using public cloud systems while 68% used a private cloud (the study indicated some overlap, with companies using both public/private cloud hybrids).
Cloud computing has come a long way from a dream to reality. If you’re not on the cloud yet, why not? ERP, BI, CRM, HR and many other systems are all affordable, scalable, and attainable, thanks to cloud computing. It’s changing manufacturing. Will it change your business for the better?
ASI Provides Cloud Computing to Small and Mid-Sized Businesses
If you’re seeking cloud-based software that offers exceptional data quality, easy data management, and advanced reporting features, ASI can help. Contact us to bring your manufacturing systems to the cloud.