The manufacturing sector has changed dramatically in recent years, and things are only speeding up. The cloud has transformed how manufacturers and other types of goods-producing businesses engage with customers, source their materials, operate supply chains, and more. On top of that, there is still tremendous opportunity to create value.

Below, we discuss several areas in the manufacturing sector that are ripe for cloud disruption or improvement. These include big data management, supply chain visibility, and industrial IoT operation. We’ll also touch on how ClearScale supports manufacturing businesses as an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner.

What’s on the Horizon in the Manufacturing Industry?

Industry 4.0 is well underway, and manufacturers are increasingly comfortable using cloud-based technology. Rather than keep IT infrastructure onsite, manufacturers are turning to cloud service providers, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), not only to offload administrative burdens but also to innovate in key areas.

Big data management

As with many industries, manufacturers have more data at their disposal than ever before. They can study customer activity in great detail, track global supply chains, optimize individual machines, and much more. All of this data has the potential to create immense value. So long as teams can collect, store, and analyze it efficiently.

With the right set of tools, like those offered by AWS, it’s possible to streamline the end-to-end big data management process. Then, doing things like analyzing capacity utilization, studying inventory management, extending equipment longevity, and boosting cybersecurity become much easier. Although manufacturers deal in physical goods production, there is so much they can do with data to increase productivity and resilience against global disruptions.

Supply chain visibility

Supply chain visibility has been a challenge for manufacturers for decades. Many have relied on outsourcing and third-party capabilities to go from raw materials to finished goods. As a result, IT leaders often don’t know what’s happening in many parts of their supply chains, so they can’t make informed decisions.

Today, however, the cloud makes it easier for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, logistics teams, and others to collaborate. On the cloud, all stakeholders can work from a single source of truth rather than maintain separate software applications or datasets. This gives more people across the supply chain access to real-time information, allowing them to come together and make decisions that benefit all parties. Supply chain visibility, combined with advanced AI/ML algorithms, also opens the door to better demand forecasting and inventory management.

Smart factories and industrial IoT expansion

Another obvious way the cloud will continue to modernize manufacturing is through the industrial IoT. On the cloud, building scalable and reliable IoT applications is not only possible but relatively simple. For instance, AWS offers tools like AWS IoT Greengrass, which helps companies bring intelligence to the edge. Manufacturers can use this type of solution to unlock predictive maintenance and automation.

Smart factories are no longer speculation for the future. Manufacturers are already upgrading their physical footprints with smart devices and connecting them back to powerful analytics capabilities on the cloud. As a result, leaders can maximize factory productivity and allocate human resources to more complex tasks.

How ClearScale Supports Manufacturing Organizations

ClearScale has worked with a number of businesses that engage in new physical product development, including those in the manufacturing industry. We understand the opportunities and challenges facing manufacturers, utilities, and related professional service providers. And we know how to design cloud environments accordingly.

For example, we worked with a company in the electrical design and construction niche that needed to extend secure file access to remote workers. We used AWS Storage Gateway as the foundation of a cloud-based file-sharing solution. We also implemented user authentication in conjunction with the company’s Azure Active Directory service. Now, our client’s remote workers can access secure documents quickly from the field, so long as they have the proper credentials.

We also helped a manufacturer of advanced safety systems build a new web application for an IoT-powered earthquake detection solution. ClearScale’s cloud engineers designed everything – from the IoT architecture to the web management portal and device registration process. As a result, our client gained the groundwork for an intelligent sensor network that can aggregate and analyze data at scale from remote smart devices.

In another engagement, we partnered with Samsung’s cloud printing division to help the group implement robust cloud infrastructure for accelerating new feature development. We leveraged our DevOps experience and knowledge of AWS to design a cost-efficient environment with tools like AWS CloudFormation. Consequently, Samsung’s cloud printing group was able to reduce time-to-market dramatically for new products and services.

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