Regardless of your final product, manufacturing businesses share the same goal: efficient production. But boosting productivity takes more than hard work and motivation. Behind every productive manufacturing facility is a network of support systems that optimize workflow, lower costs, keep workers safe, and avoid costly downtime. This is where information technology (IT) solutions step in.
Below, we look at how manufacturing leaders can use IT services to support a productive work environment and optimize the value of the business's IT assets.
What are IT Solutions?
Today's IT services include more than anti‑virus software or a service desk to call when something goes wrong. "IT solutions" is an umbrella term for all technical services that help your business run smoothly behind the scenes so your staff can focus on production operations.
It is difficult to quantify just how much computer or technology downtime slows your production line. But any time spent working on a lagging PC, putting out cybersecurity fires, or dealing with slow software updates steals valuable time away from manufacturing‑specific tasks.
Manufacturing has pivoted toward automation for several years now. Streamlining production lines boosts efficiency and often improves quality controls. The same idea applies to back‑office responsibilities. When IT solutions are centralized, compatible, and even automated, you can focus on improving the product and workplace rather than spending countless hours on small IT problems.
What to Look For
Full service IT solutions typically include the following:
- Cloud services. Smart manufacturing leaders have pivoted to cloud‑based computing that keeps business information backed up and secure without the need for additional on‑site servers. Storing critical information in the cloud rather than on‑site also eases the load on your business's internet connection.
- Security services. According to Cyber Defense Magazine, 31% of organizations have experienced cyber attacks on operational infrastructure and, it usually takes companies about 6 months to detect a data breach. Cybersecurity might not seem like a looming threat to a manufacturing business, but the truth is that any behind‑the‑scenes issues eventually result in slowed or halted production.
- Remote management or monitoring. Just as cloud services store your IT assets off‑site, remote management of your systems—including software that manages inventory updates and other production‑critical information—should be accessible to service providers located away from your facility. This keeps information secure and continuously managed even when your building is unmanned.
- Service desk. A centralized customer support portal or software allows your staff to take care of customer support issues quickly and effectively. Instead of sorting through an inbox of customer complaints or taking a continued stream of unscheduled phone calls, for instance, imagine an IT solution that pre‑sorts all communication channels according to the topic. Vendor communication might be sent to one employee, while customer service issues might be automatically sent to someone else. Automating some of the service desk tasks will free up your office secretary or front desk staff to focus directly on solving problems.
- IT troubleshooting. This takes you back to the basics of IT solutions. Just like any other business, your manufacturing facility could experience computer glitches. While it is helpful to have an on‑site IT assistant, investing in an IT solutions suite that includes round‑the‑clock help protects you against downtime.
With the IT solutions, your manufacturing business can go far in boosting production while also keeping your IT assets secure. To learn more, contact us for a free consultation on how you can streamline back‑office duties through our full‑service IT solutions.