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State of IT Applications in Manufacturing: A Report

on October 13, 2014

Technology has emerged as a force to help the manufacturing sector mitigate challenges by maximizing product quality and reducing production costs. Often known by the term ‘computer-integrated manufacturing,‘ the incorporation of technology within a manufacturing framework has turned out to be an important factor for growth. However, IT applications also have their own share of challenges, which might affect the performance of processes in which they are integrated.

Given the current challenges and constant breakthroughs in the manufacturing sector, a matter of prime concern among manufacturing businesses is to improve their processes in order to measure up to the level of the competition. Technology has emerged as a force to help the manufacturing sector mitigate challenges by maximizing product quality and reducing production costs. Often known by the term ‘computer-integrated manufacturing,‘ the incorporation of technology within a manufacturing framework has turned out to be an important factor for growth. However, IT applications also have their own share of challenges, which might affect the performance of processes in which they are integrated.

Recent research from Ipanema Technologies and Loudhouse shows how this growing dependence on technology is impacting manufacturers. While IT integration has improved the manufacturing process, the report shows that 83% of manufacturing firms are facing complications like application downtime arising out of factors like implementation of new applications, location diversity, increase in the number of users, and shifting to cloud-based systems.

Showing that performance of IT applications is, in fact, at the crux of most manufacturing processes; the study delineates some interesting figures related to manufacturing missteps. As such, it reveals that poor IT performance could impact revenue by as 20%. According to the study, the most common problems triggered by IT failures are: late shipping, recognized as 42% of all cases; a slack in employee productivity, which contributed to 42% of the total cases; and dissatisfied customers, which made up to 38% of all cases.

Simply implementing an application is not enough--guaranteeing its performance is what steers the manufacturing process in the right direction and delivers profitable outcomes. Performance guarantee is the factor that is increasingly missing from the manufacturing framework, leading to poor results. As such and as covered in the report, the reaction of IT leaders with regard to this problem is a key factor in getting to the root of the problem. 87 % of IT leaders agree that ensuring application performance is a matter of preference, but only 27% are confident that their respective brands can come up with a new application quickly. Surprisingly, a whopping 70% of IT firms think their brands will fail at troubleshooting flawed applications.    

What are the aspects that the manufacturing sector is seeking to improve through IT integration? The report shows that the top three areas where manufacturers want to score high are related to increased productivity (70%), cost reduction (71%), and incorporating new applications such as Unified Communications (66%).

With the advancements in technology, IT processes are becoming more complex. This means that manufacturers need to adapt, embrace technology, and turn it into a boon for them and their operations.

Sources: Manufacturing.net