Manufacturing Processes—Production and Business: Cloud Manufacturing, Part 5

Manufacturing Processes—Production and Business: Cloud Manufacturing, Part 5

By Bob Sproull

Review of Cloud Manufacturing, Part 4

In Part 3 of this series, I presented and described the following seven benefits of the cloud for manufacturing:

  1. The cloud is always current and accessible
  2. The cloud makes ERP affordable
  3. The cloud makes your business more efficient
  4. The cloud is safe
  5. The cloud improves positive cash flow
  6. The cloud will make you green, in a good way
  7. The cloud makes expanding your business much easier

My thoughts on what makes these cloud advantages so compelling to manufacturers

In this post, I will complete my presentation of the advantages of cloud computing by re-emphasizing as succinctly as possible, just what makes them so compelling for manufacturers. Because this post expresses these advantages in fewer words, it may be ideal for sharing with other influencers and decision-makers involved in your cloud consideration process.

I will also discuss something that inspires me to think of even more possibilities, and that is, what the future of cloud manufacturing might bring to companies who thoroughly embrace it.

The advantages of transitioning your manufacturing business to the cloud

  1. The cloud is always current and accessible: In the cloud, there is no hardware or software to update as the solution provider takes care of all upgrades. There is also (usually) no system downtime, as upgrades occur in the background.
  2. The cloud makes ERP affordable: By utilizing a cloud-based system, many small-to-medium sized businesses can overcome the number one barrier to implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution – cost.
  3. The cloud makes your business more efficient: Since the cloud requires no software installation or maintenance, you and your staff are now able to spend more time growing your business.
  4. The cloud is safe: Your data is more secure in the cloud than it would be on-site, because the hosting server’s firewall is usually much stronger than your own. Nearly as important, in the event of a natural disaster or a fire, your data remains available.
  5. The cloud improves positive cash flow: Due to the lack of on-premise infrastructure, cloud manufacturing reduces the costs you would incur with on-site software and hardware.
  6. The cloud will make you green, in a good way: Cloud manufacturing is earth and resource conscious, meaning you save on energy consumption and paper and supply usage, while reducing carbon emissions.
  7. The cloud makes expanding your business much easier: Unlimited scalability is arguably the greatest benefit of all with cloud manufacturing.

One of the great revolutions in manufacturing history is creating a future of opportunities

Need is the mother of all invention and the catalyst for all new technologies. In the case of manufacturing, cloud-based technologies have replaced on-premise solutions largely because of our consumers’ needs. The globalization of the world economy has helped to create the concept of cloud manufacturing (CM). CM is expected to advance and become more efficient in the future and will reshape how companies do business.

Cloud manufacturing will change the manufacturing industry through its ability to transfer on-site physical resources (i.e. hardware and software) into virtual resources in the cloud that are specific to an application and available on a pay-as-you-go basis. From a business perspective, since the cloud is structured in a pay-as-you-go format, small companies will be able to afford to use resources previously only available to large companies. Size will no longer limit a company’s ability to compete in the market and handling of larger projects.

Both short-term and long-term effects of cloud manufacturing on engineering design, as well as marketing and service will also be realized. The short-term benefits in engineering design will include wide access to designs, efficiency improvement, and reasonably priced computing services. A long-term benefit is virtual design collaboration, which can take place regardless of the designers’ respective geographic locations. Short-term benefits in marketing and service include products reaching the market much faster, vastly improved service, and significantly enhanced user experience. The long-term benefit will be customers taking a more active role in product development by interacting with producers, a sort of a co-creation, if you will.

I am convinced that there will be many other changes going forward that will be brought about by cloud manufacturing. The possibilities are only limited by our imaginations, and you may be envisioning some of them now. As progress continues, our customers will reap even more benefits from these changes. For now, enjoy being a part of what is surely becoming one of the great revolutions in manufacturing history.

Coming in the next post

My next post will be the beginning of another fascinating new series. Thank you for reading and for sharing the information and insights you find here with your colleagues.

Until next time.

Bob Sproull

Bob Sproull

About the author

Bob Sproull has helped businesses across the manufacturing spectrum improve their operations for more than 40 years.

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