4 Manufacturing Technology Upgrades Needed to Gain a Competitive Edge

4 Manufacturing Technology Upgrades Needed to Gain a Competitive Edge

Manufacturing is the backbone of this county. As of 2016, there were nearly 12.5 million manufacturing workers in the United States, which accounted for 8.5 percent of the workforce. Manufacturing is expected to create nearly 3.5 million more jobs within the decade. However, because of the skills gap, they predict nearly 2 million of those jobs will be unfilled. You can find more facts about manufacturing here.

Another fun fact: By 2020, at least 50 percent of the workforce will be millennials. And there’ll clearly be a corresponding increase in the amount of technology used in manufacturing.

Manufacturing technology efficiency brings both short-term and long-term benefits. Without a smooth-running network, your industry may see downtime (or worse, a loss in production). Let’s dive into the 3 areas you should never stop improving to make your manufacturing technology more efficient.

 

Improve Your Manufacturing Technology with These 4 Insider Tips

1. Server Integration

Planned Replacement

Big operations call for big servers. Foremost, you should never overwork and underpay your server. Cutting corners in manufacturing technology is not an option. Also, while not neglecting the size and credentials your server needs, keeping your server(s) on a 5-7 year replacement plan is a must. Check out our blog on the benefits of replacement plans here. Having a new server every few years will limit your risk of data loss and downtime.

 

Multiple Servers

Having multiple servers on-site is never a bad idea. In fact, contrary to older beliefs, having a second server that manages a second domain controller, in the event your main domain controller goes down, is best practice.

The military taught me one thing, have your plan A, B, and even C. I have applied this concept to networks. What will I do if plan A fails? What if my back up idea doesn’t work either, what steps will I take to get back on track? Having these plans set in place from the start can be a real lifesaver in the event of a disaster.

 

2. Fast Business Internet

Nothing about sitting and waiting for data to load all day says “efficient”. Having a fast internet speed is one of the biggest determining factors for efficiency. Not sure what is available to you? No problem, check out our blog: Average Business Internet Speed Costs: Which Speed Is Best for You? Typically, for any manufacturing company, I would recommend a speed no less than 100 Mbps. If your network is set up for only one building, you don’t have options to weigh out. However, if you have multiple locations within 1 area, you have a few different options as to how you want to extend your network to those locations.

3. Staying Up-To-Date

Software

Staying up-to-date can alleviate many manufacturing technology problems. With regular updates, you get the newest operating systems and software. While some of your software may be written specifically for your operations and now steadily updated, doesn’t mean you don’t have to update the ones that do have updates. (Tip: When it’s time to upgrade, consult your IT department to make sure that your software will work alongside the new operating systems!)

 

Hardware

It’s no secret that upgrading your networking equipment can be rather expensive. To make sure you are getting the best return on investment, check out our blog on 33 IT Brands You Can Trust More Than Gas Station Sushi! Like upgrading your software, having up-to-date equipment can keep your network running smooth and efficient. (Tip: Keeping the same brand of devices on your network will reduce the risk of network drops and other network related issues.)

4. Creation and Implementation of Cyber Security

Don’t worry, I’m not saying you need to go out and hire a software developer to make you some elaborate security program. What I mean is, create a solution to your cyber security. Typically, a solution would contain the following:

  • Startup
    • Documentation
    • Reviews
    • Regular Maintenance
  • Compliance
    • Am I operating within the law?
    • Are my employees actually following the rules?
  • Infrastructure
    • What programs are being installed?
    • How often does the software update?
    • How, and which data is being backed up?
    • User rights and permissions
    • Training on security awareness
  • Employees
    • What is appropriate internet usage?
    • How do remote employees access work files?
    • Social media regulations and restrictions
    • Password complexity rules
    • Reporting misuse of network

 

The need for great manufacturing technology will only grow in the coming years. Keep ahead of the technology curve and keep ahead of your competitors. Great networks aren’t designed and built overnight, so take it slow and do it right the first time. You’ll avoid those stressful moments later on. As my drill sergeant once told me: “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.”

Words of wisdom.