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5 ways cloud computing is revolutionising industrial manufacturing

Cloud deployment of game-changing software solutions will allow manufacturers to adopt the customer-centric approach that today’s market conditions demand.
  The past few decades has seen the manufacturing industry experiencing a slow growth, therefore pressure mounts on manufacturers to devise ways to gain traction and register double digit growth. But how and where will they find the turbo boost required to fully escape the impact of the great recession? Manufacturers only have to look up to discover one possible rescuer: The Cloud.
Cloud deployment provides the inspiration manufacturers need right now. It offers the opportunity to achieve multidimensional growth—that is both dramatic and timely, two important factors for manufacturers becoming impatient with organic growth and eager to beat global competitors to emerging opportunities. It also allows manufacturers to reduce maintenance costs, scale quickly, and shorten lengthy processes.
Recent reports suggest that 86 per cent agree that manufacturing is directly linked to the standard of living, and 77 per cent believe it is very important to national security. The traditional tactics for retrenching and rebuilding have had minimal gains, and it’s time to make further changes.
Cloud: The perfect solution to every problemNext generation ERP solutions meet many manufacturers’ needs to improve speed and performance, but the arduous implementation process can be discouraging. Plus, cash-strapped companies hit hard by the recession need other alternatives. Because cloud solutions have monthly subscription rates and can be covered as an operating expense, rather than a hefty one-time capital investment, even companies with limited capital reserves can take advantage of new best practices and modern, flexible architecture. Cloud deployment of game-changing software solutions will allow manufacturers to adopt the customer-centric approach that today’s market conditions demand. Now, compare this to an on-premise deployment, where the costs don’t just stop after you build and finish the data center. There will be ongoing maintenance, needs for upgrades, power bills, cooling costs, administrative needs and this will continue to mount up year after year. Money thrown at maintaining an on-premise data center can be used productively for more modern solutions.
5 ways cloud computing is revolutionising the industrial manufacturingAlthough cloud deployment in itself is not the cure-all answer to manufacturing’s woes, it does open the door that would enable organisations to achieve several critical goals. What happens once the door is opened, though, still requires additional efforts. Below are five additional ways cloud that deployment can set the groundwork for further growth for manufacturers around the globe:
1. Compressing the Supply ChainThe market conditions which once made outsourcing and off-shoring such an attractive option for manufacturers are rapidly changing. With labour costs jumping in developing countries, and the media scrutiny towards unsafe working conditions, manufacturers are examining reshoring options.
The high cost of transportation and the consumer demand for accelerated delivery and service also help make the case for moving plants and distribution hubs nearer to headquarters, product engineers and consumers. Cloud deployment helps manufacturers set up new branches, divisions and distribution centres without the time and expense associated with on premise hardware set up and implementation. Cloud deployment enables the new location to be operational in weeks, not months.
2. Newly acquired plants gain faster visibilityToday, a number of organisations either merge or go through a transformation phase, as a result it becomes necessary to ensure that the process is smooth and work is not hampered. This is where cloud comes into the picture. The cloud provides a safe, efficient, and economical way to avoid disruption and creates a smoother path to synching all of these processes. In order to minimise disruption to the core business and maintain visibility to multiple operations, one integrated end-to-end system needs to be deployed as quickly as possible. Cloud deployment is the number one option to speed this process, completing the full benefits of the transition process and making the switch easier for all the parties involved.
3. Customer firstIn today’s internet facilitated world, customers are now spoilt with choice and demand products at a faster rate. To meet this demand, manufacturers, will need to adopt a solution which can help them in this process. They will need to be faster in understanding emerging demand trends, introducing new products to the market and meeting very specific customer fulfilment needs, in multiple global markets, each having different expectations for product features, quality, and costs. In the future, fulfilling customers’ needs through a “make-to-individual” approach — fulfilling clients with a single, specifically tailored, customised product, made on demand — will be the norm.
With cloud deployment, manufacturers can step up their performance abilities quickly. They can focus on product innovation and customer relationships and spend less time on managing IT infrastructure.
4. Bird’s eye viewAs manufacturers learn to better adapt to a global economy, they will undoubtedly also need to better monitor a global network of suppliers, contractors and partners. A complete real-time view of the end-to-end value chain will be essential to creating the collaborative and customer-centric approach desired.  It also adds that full end-to-end supply chain visibility is an ambitious goal, as almost half of surveyed manufacturers say their current supply chain visibility ends at their immediate suppliers. Cloud deployment, with its unlimited bandwidth and flexible storage capabilities, supports this type of multi-prong approach to communication, data storage and data sharing between enterprises. 
5. Upgrading is now someone else’s headacheCloud deployment completely eliminates the need to maintain and upgrade software versions to stay on top of fast-changing IT innovations. The time consuming and costly need to continually update systems is eliminated, including the need to manage security. Without the continual upgrade distraction, manufacturers can focus those resources on other important issues, and they will have the most up-to-date tools to help them out-perform the competition.
So what’s the view from the cloud?As manufacturers brace for the next chapter, it is clear that the technology-savvy, alert and agile will come out and surpass competition – and that cloud deployment will be a key catalyst in this. The sooner manufacturers get on the path, the sooner they can reach the next level of customer satisfaction, product innovation, and global competitiveness – and hopefully use their competitive edge to regain market-share.                                                           
Authored by__
Atul Sareen, Managing Director, Infor India
 

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