Why Manufacturing Companies Need Managed IT

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Why Manufacturing Companies Need Managed IT

How an MSP can make manufacturing companies more efficient and resilient.

Technology lies at the heart of every manufacturing operation regardless of a company's product. Intricate processes that take hours to complete are reduced to minutes thanks to automation, assembly lines, and other expedited solutions. Just as a single misaligned piece in a machine can halt operations, minor IT problems can negatively impact your company's product quality, takt time, and revenue.

With the ever-looming threat of IT failures and other tech-related issues, manufacturing and distribution companies must find solutions that ensure their operations balance resiliency and efficiency. By partnering with a managed service provider (MSP), manufacturers stand to gain many benefits and increase their operational confidence in meeting the needs of their clients and employees. Kent Vancil, Senior Solution Consultant at Bit-Wizards, says efficient IT drives successful collaborations between manufacturers and their MSPs.

"Just as they work for businesses in other industries, managed IT providers are there to help manufacturers and distributors be more efficient with their IT," he says. "It's critical to be streamlined and adaptable in the ever-changing business and technology realms, and that's where your MSP comes in to help."

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How can managed IT help a manufacturing company?

Multilayered stability

Before a business can rise to meet growing customer needs or expand to new products or services, it must have stability in its current operations. MSPs offer manufacturers a multilayered IT approach that achieves stability by balancing efficiency, flexibility, and resiliency. Treating each factor as an equal piece of the puzzle ensures that your business and employees perform optimally with room to grow.

Efficiency is critical to any manufacturer's operations, and IT problems can become obstacles for systems and people. Fluidity in automation and hands-on operations is crucial, whether you're receiving new components or ensuring payroll is timely and accurate. Vancil affirms that an MSP can increase efficiency by reinforcing your IT infrastructure, primarily through pieces that contribute to communication between people and systems.

"Communication is vital to ensure you're running smoothly and efficiently while meeting the demands of your customers," he explains. "By incorporating programs like Microsoft Teams and maintaining your machine monitoring or operational technology software, your MSP helps each person and system function and report efficiently."

As your company's efficiency expands, flexibility must increase to support your efforts further. The ability to access real-time data anywhere, whether you're on a distribution run or in a prospective client pitch, is critical to the long-term success of your operation. An MSP can help you store your data in the cloud so your team can be confident that the information they access or share is up-to-date wherever they are. Vancil believes flexible data storage can save more than a trip back to the office.

"If a salesperson needs access to information that was updated on their way to a meeting, they can rest easy knowing it's accurate, thanks to their MSP," he says. "Having your data in the cloud means that your team can care for your clients and employees in the field while referencing on-site information."

Efficiency and flexibility contribute to a company's success, but they need the balance of resilience to create a holistic approach to stability. Manufacturers and distributors can fall victim to work stoppages and downtime without resiliency. In more severe cases, the cost of an IT security failure or significant data loss can force businesses to close for good. Vancil emphasizes that resilient IT from an MSP prepares manufacturers to continue operations during an issue, whether it's due to a coffee incident or a ransomware attack.

"Your MSP will help ensure your company's data is appropriately stored, backed up, archived, and managed proactively so you have access to your data at any time," he says. "Even if an employee spills their Starbucks on their computer or falls for a phishing attack, your company's data is protected with regular backups and maintenance so you don't lose everything."

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Responsive assistance

If an accident happens with an employee at your facility that requires an emergency response, each second it takes for medical assistance to arrive is critical. If an IT issue occurs, time is just as essential to ensure your company's operations can resume. While it may not cost someone their life, Vancil shares that a delayed or nonexistent response to an IT problem, whether it's because of a nonexistent internal team or lack of an MSP partnership, can cost employees and business owners their livelihood by reducing productivity and profits.

"A major pain point is dealing with issues promptly, especially for manufacturers that depend on automated processes that work harmoniously with employee input and then lose their one-man IT support system," he says. "Without an MSP or dedicated IT employee to respond quickly, short downtime periods from even the most minor component in a manufacturing software can send receiving or shipping efforts to a complete halt."

Even for manufacturers with an in-house IT team, timely responsiveness can make or break operations. Issues related to your network or other relevant technology require responses that correspond to the issue's urgency, and some internal teams can still take too long to respond due to being overwhelmed or underestimating the problem. While a seemingly short-term delay can seem like a minor interruption, Vancil reiterates that MSPs can help solve these small-scale issues and avoid large-scale consequences.

"For some companies, the hardest part is getting their own IT team to address the issue at hand and meet consumer demands," he says. "Time is of the essence for manufacturers, whether their operating cycles take weeks or months, and effective MSPs will match the urgency of an issue to ensure their clients aren't working against the clock to meet their customers' needs."

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Cost-effectiveness

Manufacturers must manage expenses like direct material, labor, and overhead costs to optimize their processes and profits. For many, hiring a full suite of IT employees doesn't fit the budget, and managing IT equipment and personnel costs can start to impact their earnings. With an MSP, manufacturing companies can acquire the skills and talent of a fully equipped team at a fraction of the cost. Vancil shares that the savings made by swapping capital for operational expenses can contribute to a manufacturer's growth.

"Instead of managing payroll, benefits, and capital expenses, you get the scalability of hiring that entire team with a fixed operating cost," he says. "Companies can then use those savings to promote growth in other areas since they don't need to spend the significant time, money, and effort required to recruit and onboard a comprehensive IT team."

In addition to avoiding typical capital expenses, manufacturers often see a reduction in overhead and basic maintenance costs as a direct impact of partnering with an MSP. Establishing and maintaining a private cloud or other on-premises IT solution can quickly rack up thousands of dollars in hardware. MSPs often set up clients with the efficiency and cost benefits of the cloud by swapping on-site network and server equipment for cloud-based solutions. Vancil mentions that this benefit may seem minor, but the costs significantly expand.

"With an MSP, not only do you avoid major up-front costs, but you also end up saving in your normal operational expenses," he says. "If you're not powering servers with tons of electricity and paying for people to babysit that on-prem equipment, you're getting additional savings."

How Bit-Wizards can help

MSPs pose a more-than-satisfactory proposition with multilayered stability that promotes growth, responsive assistance that squashes IT issues, and cost-effectiveness in many aspects. The benefits of working with an MSP are almost too great to count, so the decision a manufacturer must make comes down to picking the right provider for their company.

While many MSPs offer similar benefits, it's critical to find one that will support your company's efforts like their own. From taking care of everyday issues through our help desk to providing recommendations for future goals, the Managed IT Services (MITS) team at Bit-Wizards perseveres to be the magic for every client in every interaction. Vancil illustrates that one of the team's greatest strengths is its resemblance to an emergency room's staff.

"We know a client needs help when they call in or submit a ticket, so our help desk works like an ER would in that we triage each issue," he says. "We thoroughly assess each situation, identify the problems involved, get our team on the same page, and determine the best way to deliver a solution."

Ready to add magical managed IT from Bit-Wizards to your assembly line? Contact us today.

Author

Natalie Ewing, Content Writer
Natalie C. Ewing

Content Writer