Small to mid-sized manufacturers often face an uphill battle to compete against larger manufacturers. Often, they focus on a specific niche, industry, or customer base to capitalize on opportunities that larger manufacturers won’t or can’t touch. But sometimes, even that isn’t enough to give them the edge they need to compete against the “big boys” in their field.
One way to even the playing field is through technology; specifically, 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, machine learning, software as a service (SaaS), 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and other innovations are available to small and mid-sized manufacturers thanks to cloud computing.
What Exactly Is Cloud Computing, Anyway?
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 that most people already know what the cloud is and what it is not. Instead of assuming knowledge, we’ll define the cloud along with five key points:
- On-demand - cloud computing is available on-demand, 24/7, through internet access.
- Pooled service - instead of one company purchasing hardware and software for its own use, resources are pooled. Multiple companies can share server space and software 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 computing 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.
The Cloud’s Impact on Modern Manufacturing
The cloud impacts nearly every aspect of modern manufacturing. Software such as ERP offers accounting and financial management with sensitive information, 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. This will allow the business to save time and money.
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 are able to keep pace with supply and demand.
Cloud systems can shift up or down, downgrading or increasing as needed. This is one of the many benefits of cloud computing especially for small and mid-sized manufacturers who may need to adjust the scale of their operations to accommodate orders and workflows.
Today, over 90% of global manufacturers use some form of cloud computing. Cloud computing has come a long way from a dream to reality.
Types of Clouds
Common types of public cloud storage that you're probably familiar with are services like Google Docs, which saves your data along with that of thousands of other users in a data center, and social media platforms that allow you to upload video, documents, and pictures along with your posts.
Private clouds are cloud systems unique to a particular company. Many large companies are setting up private clouds so that users from around their company can access cloud-based systems, but no one from the outside can. Private cloud usage grew from 22% to 31% last year.
Hybrid Cloud System
A hybrid cloud system uses a mixture of private, on-premises cloud solutions and public clouds to create a unique computing environment for a company. Hybrid clouds are becoming more common as companies seek the best solutions for their needs.
An example of a hybrid cloud is BAASS Cloud or Amazon Web Services (AWS). While most applications can run in the cloud, some need to remain on-premises or in a specific location due to low latency, local data processing, or data residency requirements. With hybrid cloud infrastructure, you can use the same infrastructure, services, APIs, and tools wherever you need it – from the cloud, to on-premises, and to the edge.
Want to learn more about the three types of cloud services, public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud? Make sure to follow up with Three Surprising Types of Clouds - for Cloud Computing.
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. If you want more information here is a free whitepaper on why everyone is talking about the cloud.
BAASS Business Solutions
If you’re seeking cloud-based software that offers exceptional data quality, easy data management, and advanced reporting features, BAASS Business Solutions can help.
We offer business intelligence solutions, including Sage Intelligence, Sage Enterprise Intelligence, BI 360 (Solver), and BI Tools developed by BAASS.
We also offer ERP systems and many other software on the cloud to help manufacturers improve productivity, efficiency, and profitability. Please contact us for a consultation today. We will help you choose the best business intelligence solution for your needs. Contact us or call 1-888-650-5544