Cloud computing has been driving change and innovation in many industrial sectors, and the biggest of all is manufacturing. With the increasing diversity of the customer base, keeping up with the consumer demand presents both a challenge and an opportunity.
Especially in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the world population, the situation has pushed the manufacturers to highlight the important issues facing their employees including social distancing, and working remotely. In situations like these, it becomes very important for the manufacturers to increase their agility and digitization of their supply chains and operations.
The effect of cloud computing will be seen in every aspect of manufacturing. From acquiring the raw materials to production and managing inventory to delivery, cloud computing’s role in manufacturing has been increasing exponentially. Comparing to the traditional storage and processing methods where the movement of data is inconvenient, cloud computing provides the manufacturers the flexibility to access data from any location while increasing security as well.
The manufacturers, who have already shifted to cloud-based systems, often find it financially benefitting as the costs of maintaining in-house software and IT infrastructure are all eliminated.
As a matter of fact, cloud computing is already creating a huge difference in how we create, develop, and produce products, and a number of examples as such are set out below:
Management and Enterprise Operations
More and more manufacturers are utilizing cloud computing technology to manage their daily business operations. Manufacturers also use the cloud to centralize and integrate multiple departments into a combined unit tracking efficiency, cost management, and resourcing. Cloud computing is helping manufacturers gain insights into their business processes by racking usage of raw materials, time-stamping finished products, and much more. The cloud managed services allow upgrading, patching, creating back-ups, recoveries, and tickets all tasks which would traditionally require an additional employee to do.
Companies like Oracle are now offering clouds that can also manage product data, documents, and AMLs securely and collaboratively. These ceratin features can definitely help an organization to accelerate and maintain the pace of innovation.
Product development does no longer involve the invention in the R&D departments. Traditionally, manually building prototypes, testing, and experimenting, used to be the process of product design and development. This process was very expensive and time-consuming, which eventually diminished. Designers are now using cloud-based platforms and 3D technology to produce prototypes, which speeded up the innovation cycle and accelerated the time to market.
Cloud computing has changed the way products and services are consumed by the customers. Many apps, based on the cloud along with analytics help a manufacturer know about the consumer choice or preferences, which in turn helps in creating products and services to individual consumers.
Managing the Volatility of Supply and Demand
The Coronavirus pandemic has severely disrupted the global supply chains and distribution channels. In times like these, forecasting the accurate demand and efficiently optimizing the supply, requires data integration from multiple sources and real-time analysis. Manufacturers can predict demand accurately and adapt their operations accordingly, by applying smart analytics and AI.
There’s no doubt that businesses that have adopted the cloud computing solutions in their business operations are more efficient and productive. The investment in cloud computing over the last five years has increased significantly, but still, there are many others who remain hesitant to adopt cloud-based platforms due to perceived security risks. In fact, cloud computing is the biggest inhibitor of security.
Basically, cloud computing is one technology that will shape the future of manufacturing in a vast number of ways, and it will have a profound impact in the world of technology.