Manufacturing Goes Several Notches Up On the Cloud
The history of manufacturing can be divided into two eras: before and after the advent of cloud computing.
The industrialization revolution spurred the creation of manufacturing hubs and ancillary industries leading to production of goods that enhanced the quality of life for generations. Manufacturing enterprises innovated at the plant and process level by adopting ‘lean’ and ‘just-in-time’ approaches. Mass production led to economies of scale helping manufacturers scale up and become global companies.
At the end of the twentieth century, with the advent of the internet, there was a shift from core manufacturing to a service-based economy. The internet became the new epicenter of economic activity, facilitating the decoupling of business functions and processes. While traditional manufacturing was centralized and labor-intensive, a suite of complementary technologies enabled manufacturing to be decentralized and be automated, which increased productivity and boosted unit-level economics.
No more mass production; it’s all about mass customization
Cloud computing dramatically changes the technology landscape of manufacturing by moving legacy, on-premise applications to the cloud in a pay-as-you-use model. At the same time, high speed internet coupled with advanced sensors harnesses product and consumer data, which enables enterprises to gain insights into product performance as well as consumer behavior. The cloud has emerged as the catalyst for the manufacturing industry to understand consumer preferences and become more responsive to market dynamics.
Let us explore how a cloud-first manufacturing enterprise can chart a digital transformation journey that enhances its competitiveness and ensures sustainability.
The cloud is the computational glue to connect the manufacturing enterprise. The ecosystem generates a huge volume of data during production, while smart products embedded with intelligence generate consumer insights. Significantly, the rich and varied data enables constituents across the supply chain to make prompt and accurate decisions.
The cloud allows manufacturing to go beyond production of finished goods. Progressive manufacturing enterprises can monetize products long after the sale of goods by having a stake in product ownership and servicing the product across its life span. Smart products enable manufacturers to capitalize on a rich trove of product information on the cloud and open new revenue streams related to service and proactive maintenance.
The cloud provides manufacturers with an opportunity to serve customers based on their preferences and product usage. Manufacturers are developing smart and connected products that complement the lifestyle of digital consumers. The consumer and product data harnessed by manufacturers on the cloud can be used to better understand the consumer, and deepen engagement with custom-built products and service.
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