Five technology trends dominating the manufacturing office

The manufacturing factory floor may be experiencing a move towards smarter technology, but in the office, we are seeing an even greater digital transformation.

The needs of office employees have no doubt changed in recent months and manufacturers need to adapt to ensure they are supporting a happy, motivated workforce. Flexible working requirements, smarter productivity tools and even security has all become important to the manufacturing office environment.

We explain the top technologies helping to keep office workers connected, productive and secure, and most importantly, happy.

1. The importance of WAN

A high-performing connectivity platform is crucial to the success and deployment of any cloud strategy. However, additional strain on the network, such as extra users, higher workloads and an increase in devices, can leave a network overwhelmed, resulting in poor connectivity. This has the power to cause downtime, disrupt operations and stop employees from working effectively.

Therefore, it is no surprise that Wide Area Networks (WAN), including PWAN and SD-WAN are now being increasingly adopted by manufacturers. These solutions streamline high data usage and stop applications from overwhelming the network, by selecting the best path for network traffic and facilitating data and information sharing.

2. Productive Teams

Like many industries, since the outbreak of Covid-19, manufacturers have adapted to new ways of working, including flexible remote working policies. However, within manufacturing, CIOs and CEOs have more to consider. Office workers need to be able to collaborate seamlessly with all areas of the business, including the factory, whether they are at home or in the office.

Virtual online video conferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams have proved increasingly popular for enhancing productivity. Through these platforms, managers and team leaders on the factory floor can communicate seamlessly with office staff working from home, through video, instant chat and file sharing.

Given that most manufacturing businesses have already invested in teams, it is important to further consider leveraging that initial investment by natively integrating your users into a modern cloud telephony platform such as 8×8 or Mitel’s MiCloud Flex. Open API Integration from your existing CRM into contact centre will significantly enhance your customer experience.

3. Staying secure

Keeping office workers safe while they work from several locations has become a significant challenge. The manufacturing sector is considered one of the most frequently hacked industries, and now with office staff working from home, in various locations with additional devices and programmes, there is a greater opportunity for attack.

Cloud Monitoring as a Service (CMaaS) solution is an ideal solution for stopping security incidents in its tracks. As a managed service system, it proactively monitors systems, applications, websites, and the IT infrastructure all in one place 24/7, helping manufacturers to detect any security issues such as hardware malfunctions, security incidents or server failover, before it impacts operations.

4. In the cloud

Cloud has transformed nearly every area of modern manufacturing, including the office environment. A cloud based digital infrastructure allows some or all of a manufacturer’s network capabilities and resources to be hosted in a public, private or hybrid cloud platform and can be integrated with planning, analytics and factory systems.

Cloud is particularly beneficial as it allows employees to access the organisation’s server and internal documents, from any location. It improves productivity and communication, helping to ensure workloads are completely on time.

5. Data is king

We have spoken before about the benefits of data in manufacturing. It is the new gold for manufacturers and in addition to helping smart factory operations, it can provide office staff with invaluable insight. Data can give customer service teams accurate tracking information, production analytics help planning teams make real-time decisions and data allows the technical team to carry out quality checks.

Manufacturers can work in partnership with IT managed service providers, like Digital Space, who recognise the value of data and invest millions of pounds in managing and running data and application workloads in hybrid cloud environments.

If you would like to find out more about how technology can support remote workers, then download our remote working guide.
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