Director of Product Richard Beeston talks about how the effects of COVID-19 have highlighted how non-digital manufacturing operations are not an option going forward
Like many industries, manufacturers have had to contend with unprecedented disruption over the last 12 months. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed considerable pressure on manufacturers to keep production and supply chains moving. This is turn has placed a renewed spotlight on operational efficiency and manufacturers’ overall digital maturity.
Technology has a key role to play in meeting this pressure and demand for greater operational efficiency. Over recent years we have seen manufacturers start to make strides in introducing automation, robotics, IoT and data analytics technologies. All these technologies can help manufacturers increase labour productivity and improve capacity utilisation and production output. However, these benefits can only be fully realised if manufacturers have the core infrastructure in place to support these technologies. While leaders seem to understand the need for a more connected and integrated approach to these technologies, recent research from Deloitte revealed only 5% of CXOs believe they have made significant progress in this area.
The move to the cloud
The reality for many is that legacy on-premise infrastructure and platforms cannot keep up with the demands of modern manufacturing. Transitioning networks to the cloud should be at the top of manufacturers’ to-do lists, as digital transformation is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must-have’ as they look to navigate the impact of COVID-19 and beyond.
Almost everything is moving to the cloud, and the network can be no exception. The traditional practice of buying and maintaining business networking applications and network management software in-house is expensive enough for businesses operating from a single location. A manufacturers networking solution is often responsible for supporting several sites, with diverse business uses (office spaces, factories, distribution centres, etc.) across distributed regions. This creates both management and cost challenges for IT teams to maintain uptime and productivity at all sites, especially if they lack dedicated on-site resource at certain locations.
Cloud networking is a way of building and managing secure networks online using cloud infrastructure. This means that traditional network functions and services such as connectivity, security and management and control, are sent to the cloud and delivered as a service.
As the world of manufacturing becomes increasingly connected, distributed and diverse, the sheer scale and complexity of networks will become far harder to manage and secure effectively. Cloud networking provides manufacturers with a new way to deploy and manage these distributed and complex networks.
Meeting the complex needs of manufacturers now and in the future
Manufacturers cannot afford service disruptions. With a cloud networking solution, manufacturers can ensure all key users and devices stay connected at all times. With end-to-end visibility into network usage and performance across all sites, any drops in service or network interference are flagged immediately even if they occur at a remote site.
Cloud networking solutions can deliver comprehensive, end-to-end wired and wireless network management from a single pane of glass for all users, devices and IoT. For manufacturers, this can increase operational efficiency, reduce on-site IT support costs, and allows the network to scale up and down in-line with business demand.
With dynamic environments that are prone to disruptions, manufacturers need a holistic view of what is happening across their networks. Through leveraging the latest AI and machine learning capabilities, cloud networking solutions can provide manufacturers with insights and complete visibility, control and automation of their entire network. This in turn reduces workload and improves performance. With more devices and IoT being used by manufacturers, having complete visibility into their usage and performance has never been more important.
Security & Control
Network security is vital for manufacturers and their operations. The rise of digitalisation and connectivity has fuelled efficiency and innovation, but it has also elevated security risks. The latest 4th generation cloud networking solutions provide manufacturers with an efficient and secure way to keep business and personal data and connected assets protected across all sites. This includes seamless device authentication/onboarding with policy-based controls, centralised network monitoring and advanced network analytics.
Start your cloud networking journey today
Daisy Corporate Services can help manufacturers address the intense demands of today’s climate by using the power of ExtremeCloud™ IQ, which can be deployed across any infrastructure arrangement, whether via public cloud, private cloud or even on-premise. As the industry’s leading end-to-end cloud management solution for wired and wireless networks, ExtremeCloud™ IQ leverages 4th generation cloud architecture to equip manufacturing teams with a solution that delivers the functionality, flexibility, agility and security they need.
Given the urgency the COVID-19 pandemic created for manufacturers to be able to access their systems remotely, non-digital operations are no longer an option. Can you afford to miss out on the benefits of moving your network to the cloud?
This article was originally published in The Manufacturer, March 2021
Extreme connectivity for a transforming sector
Daisy Corporate Services is dedicated to serving the needs of forward-thinking manufacturers to help them future-proof their IT, their cloud and communications systems. Working together as strategic partners, Daisy and Extreme Networks keep manufacturing organisations and their unique environments, including warehouses, distribution centres, and office spaces, connected and running smoothly.