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Using IT To Grow and Secure Your Manufacturing Business

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An evolving landscape that is evolving rapidly is a key challenge facing manufacturers of various kinds and breeds – whether they’re in bio-medical manufacturing, food production, automotive, textile manufacturing, the same principle challenges are facing manufacturers.

These challenges are stringent regulatory requirements that are also evolving more quickly, partly thanks to changes in the AI and a world that is speeding up, cyber security, and the need to drive profitability, efficiency, and seamless scalability.

IT best practices are your foundation for harnessing technology to drive the secure success of your manufacturing business. In this piece, we outline the key practices and strategies that manufacturers should implement to make technology their ally for growth in the coming years. Let’s get into it!

Secure Integrated IT Is the Key

Misaligned technology means more complexity, manual management and uncertainty. The most important principle behind using IT to help your business to thrive, is to connect it together.

Because there’s going to be a lot of overlap between production, supply chain, compliance, security, and office-based tools and processes, among others, integrated technology is the key to harnessing it all effectively.

Many manufacturers are operating with outdated and subpar cyber security systems despite the critical threats that cyber-attacks and incidents can pose to their business continuity. Updating these and integrating them with your technology is enough key priority for driving secure and profitable growth in your business.

These best practices will show you how to get the best from your tech going forward:

The Pillars of IT Best Practices

To navigate these challenges, let’s explore the essential IT best practices that can secure and grow your manufacturing business:

1. Embrace Cyber Security

Cyber threats loom large over the manufacturing sector and there is often a big discrepancy between the big impact a cyber incident can have on these businesses, and the cyber security measures they have in place.

Implementing robust cyber security measures is not just about protecting data; it’s about safeguarding your production lines, your reputation, and ultimately, your bottom line.

Start with considering the security of a number of pieces involved in your IT environment and business processes; do you apply thorough tools, processes, and policies to each?

  • User security – such as email protection and user awareness training,? Most data breaches are connected to user errors at their outset.
  • Device security – are workplace devices such as desktops and laptops secured with antivirus protection and monitoring?
  • Network security – do you regularly assess network vulnerabilities, and do you use intelligent network monitoring and threat protection tools to keep it secure?
  • Data security – Is your data encrypted? Do you have a data backup and recovery solution in place? Do you use user access controls and measures such as Two Factor Authentication (2FA) across your software tools?

Your cyber security posture is a combination of each of these key pieces and more. If one is breached, the chances of compromise for the rest of your IT environment will grow over time, until eventually a cyber-attacker has enough access and control to conduct a serious attack that brings your operations to a grinding halt!

There are plenty of tools on the market and great providers of cyber security that can help to ensure your manufacturing business remains safe and secure.

2. Ensure Regulatory Compliance

In regulated environments, compliance is not optional. Whether it’s FDA regulations for bio-medical manufacturing or safety standards for construction materials, IT plays a pivotal role in ensuring that your business meets these requirements.

Empowering compliance using IT involves three key components: awareness/observability, control/enforceability, and reportability/auditing; technology can simplify and empower these three key aspects and make them scalable for your manufacturing business.

Consider how well your business and IT environment is empowering these three key aspects, where are the gaps and shortfalls? What if technology solutions could help?

By using IT solutions such as data management systems, specialized IT solutions for specific regulatory requirements, and cyber security tools that align with compliance requirements, you can save time and money, minimize risk, and ensure your peace of mind.

3. Optimize Production and Productivity Using IT

IT solutions and services have a powerful role to play in enabling your business to achieve more, using less. Alongside compliance, IT solutions can empower quality assurance in your production processes. The key is to scout for promising solutions and to get started!

Here are some of the solutions your manufacturing company could use to get ahead of its competitors and achieve profitable, secure growth:

  • Cloud infrastructure solutions: secure, scalable, and cost-efficient, transferring your IT hosting to the cloud can power better performance, at lower costs.
  • Cloud workplace solutions: Platforms such as Microsoft 365 make it much easier to manage files, collaboration, workflows, and communications in one secure platform, enabling your team to seamlessly deliver for your customers. In addition, cloud software is more integrable with other third-party software, enabling your business to become an efficient and interoperable whole.
  • Enterprise Resource Planning Solutions: For bigger manufacturers, ERP solutions can prove to be a powerful way to create an interconnected, streamlined, and manageable business under one cross-departmental platform. An example of an ERP is Microsoft Dynamics.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Devices: IoT devices can be used for a range of purposes, including quality assurance, inventory management, and managing your building’s resource usage more efficiently and smartly. It’s important to take care of cyber security for these devices, like other IT assets.

We understand that while every business, manufacturers included, wants to take advantage of better technology to power their success, complexity, uncertainty, which risks can stand in the way. This is where an IT support provider can make a big difference.

4. Invest in IT Services and Support

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and IT Support providers help manufacturing businesses to tap into the full potential of their technology in many ways. They simplify, secure, and empower the process of using their tech to its best ability, and can drive their adoption of new technology that enables them to delight their clients and get ahead of the competition.

IT support providers and MSPs can help with a range of aspects of a manufacturer’s IT environment, including:

  • Digital transformation
  • IT support and IT project services
  • Network management and infrastructure solutions
  • Cyber security
  • Regulatory compliance and data protection
  • Connectivity and internet services
  • Telephony and unified communications solutions

5. Continuous Improvement and Innovation

Business is not static, and neither should your technology stack be! Businesses that lean into evolving their operations and product delivery will naturally stand to thrive in a world where innovation is growing in pace.

A key aspect to evolving your business and staying competitive is keeping technology connected with practices of continuous improvement and innovation. You can ask:

  • Does my business take the time to survey the best IT solutions on the market that could help us to achieve our goals?
  • Do we strategically plan our IT and have a technology roadmap in place?
  • Do we regularly review how our business can be improved? Are we effective in executing continuous improvements from the big picture down to the granular details?
  • How do we measure the most important metrics to our business? Can we improve the quality and scope of measurements?

Embracing continuous improvement and innovation is not just about IT; it is such a critical and connected practice that it’s certainly worth taking into consideration!

6. Embrace Data-Driven Decision Making

Data is king today. Within the data your business holds or could capture, there is a treasure trove of insights that can help you make more profitable and empowering decisions!

For example, consider your sales team, what if they had better access to data that enables them to discover the keys to enhanced efficiency and effectiveness? What if you had total oversight over the speed, security, and reliability of your IT environment, and could use those insights to save time, prevent risk, and delight your customers?

Using data effectively means getting the best from your investments and using your resources more efficiently. Consider how your business can use data in our digital age to drive its strategic growth.

7. Cloud Computing for Flexibility and Scalability

The cloud offers unparalleled advantages in terms of scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency, making it an ideal component of your IT strategy. Whether it’s cloud storage for vast amounts of data or cloud-based applications for managing operations, the cloud can provide the agility, reliability, and scalability that your manufacturing business needs to continually grow and deliver for its customers without missing a beat!

Grow and Secure Your Manufacturing Business Using Technology Using These IT Best Practices

By implementing these best practices in a fast-changing world, your manufacturing company will be able to adapt, thrive, and secure itself, while elevating its competitiveness and efficiency.

It all starts with taking the time and ambition to use technology as your strategic lever for growth! It doesn’t matter where your business is, whether it’s in Denver or Dubai, IT solutions can make a game-changing difference for your strategic success and advantage. Your IT is not just a support system or necessary evil! It can be your empowering catalyst for success.

Discover The Best IT Solutions for Your Manufacturing Business: Talk-Tech With A Free Consultation On Us

Curious to see where IT can make the biggest difference for your business? We’d be glad to help you! This won’t be any ordinary consultation; we make it all about you – answering your questions, asking you the right ones, and helping you to deal with your operational challenges using the power of technology.

We take the pain out of talking-tech; we’ll help you discover better for your business without dragging you through the bits and bytes of it all. After your consultation, you’ll have clear, actionable insights for your business that help you to move forward with clarity and confidence.

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