As the manufacturing industry starts to emerge from the economic downturn companies are looking to shift from a survival mode to leveraging technology for innovation and growth. However, as Christian Verstraete points out in this Cloud manufacturing viewpoint paper companies “face a host of challenges” including:
- Increased globalization and competition
- Shrinking margins
- Increased cost pressures
- Shorter product life cycles
- Market volatility”
In addition, many manufacturers want to shift from simply making products to delivering services. What do I mean? Well most people don’t buy a PC as an end in itself. Instead a PC is a means to access business or personal applications. So what are the ways that Cloud Computing can help manufacturers?
- Intra- and Inter-Enterprise Integration including support for virtual companies
- Increased integration between legacy and new services
- Using IT in smart ways, for example integrating best-in-class business services with value enhancing processes based on flexible cloud services
- Intelligent factories and supply chain supporting real-time sense-and-respond
- Evolution of business analysis from sense-and-respond to predict and pre-empt
- Product lifecycle management and aligning product innovation with business strategy
- Collaboration across the business, it’s suppliers and customers
- Integration of products and suppliers into service eco-systems
So in the manufacturing industry it’s critical that the focus on innovative technologies like Cloud Computing continues to shift from tactical cost reduction to strategic opportunities for innovation and growth.