Globally, many manufacturing companies are expanding to new horizons and diversifying their operations, thanks to the advent of the Industry 4.0 revolution. Rapid transformation is taking place in the technology forefront, and cloud computing plays a pivotal role in bringing about this change. According to Gartner, “Cloud computing is a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service using Internet technologies.”
Cloud computing services offer the following benefits for modern manufacturing practices:
- Enables access to real-time information, anytime.
- It offers on-demand services that are highly flexible and scalable.
- Increases the ability to manage new customer demands, proactively.
- Facilitates easy integration with other applications, and offers seamless transmission of data between them.
- Helps managers and top leadership to connect across system boundaries and physical locations.
A TBR report states that “Agile manufacturers are planning to move their mission-critical applications to the cloud while citing security, integration, and performance as factors”.
Cloud computing services can be deployed as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Initially, the manufacturing industry leveraged cloud computing to improve primary processes such as warehouse and quality management. It is also being utilized to drive paperless workplaces, thanks to the high connectivity it provides.
Cloud computing is also making it possible for companies to look deeper into data sets, and derive insights on equipment and process performance. This helps to track and analyze product quality, facilitating the improvement of quality levels and creating a competitive advantage for the company. Gauging equipment effectiveness helps analyze the health of machinery and tools, and extend their performance.
Discrete manufacturing involves build-to-order and configure-to-order workflows, which require real-time integration of multiple applications. Cloud computing contributes by offering seamless data transfers, reducing cycle time, and enabling easy recording of each process in detail. It provides a foundation for connected manufacturing. Another important reason cloud computing is being adopted more widely is that it empowers managers to assess supply chain performance, which contributes to better decision-making and forecasting.
Cloud computing’s connectivity for machines, systems, and stakeholders is positively impacting modern manufacturing companies at various levels. At the enterprise level, its impact will be seen in the way how companies efficiently and seamlessly manage their operations and the system integrations. This includes all the high-level processes such as production, finance, ERP, HR, training, and others.
At the production level, cloud computing will change the way products are designed, developed, assembled, and packaged. It will play a key role in connected manufacturing that uses new technology such as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), 3D printing, and generative design to operate seamlessly.
To derive maximum benefits from cloud computing, modern manufacturing companies need to have a comprehensive cloud strategy to maximize their Return on Investments (ROI). Cloud computing partners should be chosen based on their solution’s scalability, security, flexibility, process documentation, and training capabilities.
InApp has over 15 years of experience driving transformation with best-in-class manufacturing solutions. If you are looking to deploy cloud solutions for your manufacturing concern, please contact us, and we would be glad to help.