Manufacturing sector can gain from Managed IT services

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Manufacturing sector is a web of heavy machinery, automation, complex processes, and labour-intensive work with a need for accuracy and precision. In the past few decades, the manufacturing sector has adopted various technologies to ease or optimize processes, in order to deliver products and go-to-market faster.

But due to its domain being far away from IT, the industry has constantly found it challenging to focus on both the core processes as well as its underlying IT infrastructure. The situation demanded a service provider with IT expertise that can manage the overall IT landscape as well as optimize it for better returns.

Managed IT Services Providers (MSPs) have the ability to completely take over an organisation’s IT and manage it with their domain expertise and core competency. This works well for the manufacturing sector as they are able to focus on their core competencies and leave the rest to the Managed Services Provider to optimize their workforce and enhance productivity.

Having a Managed Services Provider in place can prove to be beneficial as they can drive the digital transformation for the organisation as well as free the internal IT team to focus on strategic objectives rather than day-to-day IT support.
Here are 4 ways in which an MSP-IT can benefit the manufacturing sector:
1.Stay Updated
Manufacturing organisations need to adapt to the changing technology landscape to stay relevant and competitive. With a torrent of innovation in technology, it is difficult to identify the right technology to invest in and implement.

Internal IT teams can’t keep pace with the latest technological updates and, hence, are unable to build strategic plans. MSPs are always updated about the latest technological innovations and know-how and when to use them. MSPs can consult and build a perfect mix of these solutions that will help manufacturing with its digital transformation as well as fetch better ROI.
2.Reduced Downtime
Manufacturing industry relies heavily on data captured from IoT devices, machine learning and artificial intelligence for better efficiency and accuracy of the finished product. Be it identifying damaged goods or capturing product barcodes for expiration, processes that rely on digital solutions can’t face downtime.

A sudden failure in data processing or a server downtime on a mission-critical application can halt the production line that might cost millions. Fixing or trouble-shooting these issues with the help of Internal IT teams can take up more time depending on the nature of the issue, costing millions more.

An MSP can help to identify and fix such issues faster due to domain expertise and repetitive exposure. An MSP can also help to prevent such issues with timely patch management, bug fixes, regular environment testing, and so on.
3.Optimized IT Spend
In this recent wave of digital transformation, the manufacturing industry has opted for digital solutions to enhance its processes and optimize costs. Implementation of such solutions requires comprehensive knowledge of resource planning and availability, costs involved, scalability, back-up and disaster recovery. Internal IT teams may find it difficult to plan for such implementations due to lack of exposure to such technology and projects.

An MSP can help overcome these challenges as they are well versed with the pre-requisites of such implementations. They can help a manufacturing organisation to create a structured plan with defined objectives and milestones in place. This will help an organization to avoid unnecessary and unpredicted costs.

Manufacturing industry also benefits from having an MSP in place, as it helps in budgeting IT spends better, by creating a structured pattern to its IT spends without worrying about unpredicted events and related costs.
4.Data Security
Organisations have to be wary of the security risks that come with a growing digital footprint. Manufacturing industry is no different. With the use of platforms such as IoT and artificial intelligence, underlying data becomes a key target for cyber-bullies.

Even a minuscule vulnerability in the underlying IT can cause a rupture that can lead to irreversible damage to an organisation and its reputation. Prevention of such attacks requires the latest understanding of security vulnerabilities, the latest OEM patches, regular production environment testing, and implementing a robust security layer on top.

An MSP can not only fix such issues but can also prevent such attacks from happening in the first place. MSPs are constantly updated about the latest security trends, vulnerabilities, cyberattacks and, hence, can design a robust security layer to safeguard your data and make your IT infrastructure more resilient. This will help manufacturing organizations to focus on their core competencies rather than on data storage and security.
Manufacturing organisations have special technology needs that should only be accommodated by an IT solutions provider. With the perfect Managed IT Services Provider in place, the manufacturing industry can automate and enhance processes as well as the overall productivity of the internal IT teams.

It can make the data and underlying IT much more resilient, reduce total cost of ownership, scale IT with new business requirements, generate better ROI, and be one step closer to being a part of the smart and lean ‘Industry 4.0’.

(This article is written by Neelesh Kripalani, SVP and Head – CoE, Clover Infotech. The views expressed in this article are of the author).

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