4 Technology Challenges Manufacturing Firms Face

The manufacturing industry is a critical sector in the US economy, accounting for 11.39 percent of the total GDP output while employing 8.51 percent of the country's workforce.

The Top 4 Technology Challenges Manufacturing Firms Face

The manufacturing industry is a critical sector in the US economy, accounting for 11.39 percent of the total GDP output while employing 8.51 percent of the country's workforce. Available data from the National Association of Manufacturers reveals that as of 2018, the sector was employing an average of 12.8 million people with a total output of $2,334.60 billion.

Unfortunately, the manufacturing sector is not immune to the challenges facing other industries in the country. Currently, the manufacturing firms face a unique set of IT challenges threatening to have massive ramifications that impact business's bottom lines and the industry growth. This piece looks at some top technological challenges that small to medium-sized manufacturers deal with year in year out and how modern manufacturing IT can help avoid these problems.

Managing Downtimes

Downtimes are arguably one of the oldest IT challenges in manufacturing. Downtime refers to any period when a machine is not in production because of planned and unplanned stops due to maintenance and repairs or equipment failures.

Every minute a manufacturer's machine isn't up and running translates to a substantial revenue loss. One study reveals the cost of downtime sits at around $260,000 per hour. However, this could rise substantially depending on the type of manufacturing a firm specializes in. For example, a study reveals manufacturers in the automotive niche stand to lose up to $3 million per hour whenever their systems are down. With estimated losses of 800 hours to downtime each year, this problem continues to impact the entire industry-leading to massive revenue losses, job cuts, and reduced margins.

There is no doubt better IT plays a critical role in reducing downtime. The right manufacturing IT enables predictive maintenance critical to minimizing the interruptions related to downtimes. Innovative IT solutions allow machines to relay critical data at a granular level so that manufacturers gain visibility on their production lines and take action to avoid breakdowns. For example, whenever parts are under abnormal strain levels, the machines automatically send alerts for proactive actions to be taken. Other technologies enable tracking machine wear and tear for timely replacements that guarantee zero downtime in the future.

At Orbis Solutions Inc., we recommend that you strive to avoid or reduce manufacturing downtimes if you are to remain competitive. To accomplish this goal, you must integrate top-notch IT systems that guarantee process dependability and agility.

Data Management

Data management is arguably one of the leading challenges that manufacturers of all sizes face. Ironically, the main issue here is not the lack of data but rather the inability to utilize available data to generate crucial insights.

The technological platforms in the manufacturing sector generate massive amounts of data on production lines, supply chains, employee performance, but a lack of robust integration means all this information is useless. For example, if data on employee performance is not integrated, the manufacturer will miss great insights that inform production line activities.

The good news is that modern IT manufacturing solutions can help you utilize available data in a meaningful way to make informed decisions. Specifically, the IT solutions offered by Orbis are designed to provide greater visibility into product demand and inventory management for you to have a better grasp of your production processes. With greater visibility into your processes, you will be better positioned to account for all parts of the production line while enhancing efficiency and optimizing the processes to meet any changes in demands.

Adoption of New Technologies

Manufacturers looking to remain competitive in the current highly volatile marketplace must be willing to implement new technologies. However, the current pace of change in manufacturing technology and the colossal costs involved makes it hard for most manufacturers to keep up with new innovations.

Manufacturers can overcome this challenge by assessing and prioritizing the most crucial technologies that significantly impact their operations. When evaluating the technologies to adopt, considerations such as lead times, specialized machinery, skilled workforce and operators, maintenance requirements, production hardware designs must be kept in mind. In a nutshell, manufacturers should be strategic in implementing new technologies while emphasizing the innovativeness, usefulness, costs, and security of any new technology they intend to adopt.

Cybersecurity

There is no doubt manufacturers are currently battling intimidating cybersecurity issues. Cyberattacks targeting the manufacturing process have significant implications, including downtimes, loss of revenues, and other impacts.

A recent study by Deloitte's Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) reveals 40 percent of manufacturing firms had cyber-attack in the last year. Out of this, up to 38 percent incurred over $1 million in damages.

The study further reveals that a big part of the cyber threats experienced by the manufacturers comes from internal employees through direct abuse of IT systems, phishing, errors and omissions, and mobile device usage. Surprisingly, the study reveals up to 87 percent of manufacturing companies have developed a disaster continuity plan for all data security, but only 37 percent have it in a tested and working state, implying that manufacturers ignore the threat posed by cybersecurity and the benefits of a data continuity plan.

When you have a robust data continuity plan, you can seamlessly shift your operations to a different database should an attack occur in your on-premise database. Ideally, you can locate your secondary databases on cloud platforms for you to access data within a minimal time after the disaster. Additionally, manufacturers should also go for IT solutions that offer robust cybersecurity services to help manufacturers minimize these risks. These solutions include enhancing security policies, updated approaches to managed backups, and leveraging powerful approaches to network hardening.

Orbis Solutions Inc. Can Help Solve Your Manufacturing IT Challenges

Manufacturing IT problems are often easy to diagnose but complex to address. However, any manufacturing company that can manage these issues conclusively will have a better chance to stay one step ahead of their competition. At Orbis Solutions Inc., we provide exceptional IT and client services to help your business navigate today's ever-changing business climate. We understand how stressful technology can be, and we are here to provide the best managed IT services your Las Vegas organization needs.

Our experts are ready to handle all your IT issues so that you get the time and freedom to focus on what matters most– your team, your clients, and your business. Contact us today to learn more.

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