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Manufacturers are becoming increasingly automated. They rely on robotics and 3D printing to create products. Sensors on internet of things (IoT) devices enable manufacturers to monitor and manage supply chains, as well as conduct predictive maintenance.

Devices used in manufacturing and distributing products create an abundance of data that can be used to improve production processes, streamline the supply chain, track inventory, manage assets, and improve customer service. To make the most of this data, manufacturers must transmit, store, and access it effectively.

One solution to these data management challenges is the cloud. IDC predicted that cloud spending among manufacturers will reach $9.2 billion by 2021. This doubles the cloud spending level of 2017.

Adopting the cloud empowers manufacturers to cost-effectively optimize their infrastructure and meet the industry-specific challenges of storing and managing data.

Getting the Big Picture

big-picture-with-firstlightManaging and analyzing data are huge challenges for manufacturers because data originates from so many locations across the business. Manufacturers locate warehouses, factories, and call centers in different geographic areas. Trucks used for distribution are continually on the move.

Data is also generated by multiple applications. Manufacturers use complex Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms to manage operations and interact with customers.

To analyze data and make informed decisions, manufacturers need to integrate all their data. Keeping up with supply and demand requires that each department have visibility into all data across the business.

The cloud enables manufacturers to collect and store data from geographically distributed sources, eliminating data silos. The right cloud provider will offer resources in a wide variety of locations. When the cloud is supported by a high-speed network, data can be transmitted quickly to the cloud for storage and analysis.

Satisfying Changing Demands

Markets for products are always fluctuating. Some products may be seasonal, experiencing increased demand at certain times of the year. Other products may experience unpredictable fluctuations in demand.

Manufacturers need to scale their infrastructures to meet changing workloads when demand for products increases or decreases. Scaling is difficult when manufacturers use on-site infrastructure. Hardware takes time to provision and install. If a manufacturer tries to anticipate an increase in capacity needs, it may overprovision and waste money on underutilized resources.

The cloud allows manufacturers to scale quickly and cost-efficiently. Additional cloud resources can be requested on demand and scaled down when workloads decrease. Any cloud resources are available at a predictable monthly rate and require no capital expenses. 

The Right Level of Control

the-right-level-of-control-with-firstlightLike companies in many other industries, manufacturers may be concerned that they will lose control over their mission-critical data if they adopt the cloud. However, managing and maintaining an on-premises infrastructure can take focus away from designing and bringing new products to market.

With the right cloud provider, manufacturers maintain control over their cloud assets and data (including that from outside suppliers) while benefiting from cloud resources management and maintenance support.

The cloud provider will administer vital upgrades to ensure that your company is always working with the latest infrastructure solutions. Cloud-based applications are continually updated to avoid risk.

Achieving Digital Transformation With the Cloud

Moving to the cloud increases the agility of manufacturers. Companies in the manufacturing industry need a flexible and scalable infrastructure that enables them to adopt emerging technologies. The cloud allows manufacturers to embrace digital transformation without having to continually provision and upgrade hardware and applications. 

By partnering with FirstLight, manufacturers receive the connectivity and cloud resources they need to create the optimal environment for speeding products to market. We enable manufacturers to connect production, warehouse, and distribution sites. Our cloud solutions ensure that the data generated from your automated processes is properly stored and backed up so you know you are making crucial decisions based on accurate and complete information. 

Make a move to the cloud. Check out our solutions tailored to manufacturers here. Let the experts at FirstLight handle the transition.