Does Moving to the Cloud Make Sense for Manufacturers?

    Cloud migration has been gaining steam, and many manufacturers, like those in other industries, are keeping up with the trend. In fact, the cloud computing market is projected to balloon from $445.3 billion to $947.3 billion from 2021 to 2026. In other words, it's expected to skyrocket over 212% in just five years.

    Why is cloud migration the preferred move for so many organizations? The two primary reasons are better security and saving money. But cloud migration isn’t always as straightforward as it sounds, and there are significant barriers that many companies, especially manufacturers, have to navigate. Here are the benefits and barriers of digital transformation for manufacturers, as well as how to get things right when moving data to the cloud.

    Does Moving to the Cloud Make Sense for Manufacturers?

    Digital Transformation for Manufacturers: The Benefits and Barriers

    The primary, high-level reason why manufacturers should consider digital transformation is because it enables them to improve efficiency and save money along the way. This is because a digital transformation involves connecting on-site hardware and software to the cloud, where you can manage both data and key business processes.

    For example, suppose your company manufactures microchips. You choose to shift the control and monitoring of your onsite machines to a cloud-based infrastructure. If something goes wrong with one of your machines, a cloud-based infrastructure provides the following benefits:

    • Any stakeholders can be alerted instantly via a desktop computer, IoT device, or mobile device.
    • Your cloud-based management system can automatically begin a root cause analysis to tell you what caused the issue.
    • All data pertaining to the component’s performance before—and during—its malfunctioning get stored in the cloud, and can be used to troubleshoot similar issues in the future—or prevent them altogether

    Also, like organizations in other industries, manufacturers can experience significant security benefits, such as:

    • The safety that comes with storing data in a secure, cloud-based environment with strict authentication protocols
    • The ability to keep sensitive data offsite so an intruder won't be able to access and steal it
    • The freedom to enable secure access to arrange computerized processes, such as customer management and fulfillment systems, by people many miles, or even several countries, away

    The Barriers to Digital Transformation

    But some significant barriers may get in the way of a manufacturer reaping the above rewards, such as:

    • Employee pushback: Some people may object simply because innovation can interrupt a comfortable, familiar work routine.
    • Limited technical experience within your organization: Some digital transformations require familiarity with internet technology and networks that, although relatively basic, are unfamiliar territory for key stakeholders.
    • A lack of a comprehensive digital transformation strategy: Digital transformation involves more than merely porting data to the cloud. It takes a systematic, thoughtful approach to identify and then shift business-critical tasks to the cloud.

    Digital Transformation for Manufacturers Done Right

    The key to getting your digital transformation right is to carefully predict the obstacles you may face and put systems in place to overcome them. For example, you can use the following tips to prevent the above challenges, and more, from derailing your cloud migration.

    Start with Employee Education
    Employees will be far more likely to get on board and support your transformation if they understand how it makes their lives easier—at least in the long run—as well as how it benefits your company as a whole. For instance, you should make a concerted effort to systematically train all stakeholders regarding:

      • How cloud-based systems can save them time through automation and faster incident resolution
      • The long- and short-term benefits for the organization as a whole
      • The opportunities a cloud migration may present for them personally, such as the technical skills they can learn and new, higher-paying positions a shift to the cloud could make possible
      • The technical knowledge they need to succeed in a cloud-based environment, even if this means enrolling them in local or online college courses

    Make a Strategic Digital Transformation Map
    By mapping out how your cloud migration will take place, as well as how and when, you can clear up confusion, dispel apprehension, and foster a culture of openness. For example, if you outline all of the positions that will be affected by the cloud migration, you can assuage any fears people may have of losing their jobs—and, yes, some people in manufacturing still believe technology is after their jobs.

    Also, by strategically designing benchmarks for your transformation, you give yourself something you can use to measure your successes and identify areas of improvement. For instance, if your goal is to have 80% of your employees trained and comfortable with the system within seven months, and through a survey you discover that only 35% feel that way, you can use this data to bolster your employee training.

    Moving Your Data to the Cloud with GSI

    GSI’s cloud services for manufacturers provide you with a strategic guide to ensure a smooth, widely accepted cloud migration strategy. GSI cloud experts know exactly which manufacturing processes and support systems can benefit from moving to the cloud, as well as the easiest ways to provide you with a smooth transition while supporting employee buy-in.

    If you, like most manufacturers, depend on on-premises equipment and controls, a cloud migration can still transform your production, planning, inventory and supply chain management, business intelligence system, and more. Discover how easy this can be by connecting with GSI today.