By Srivats Ramaswami, Member of MESA’s Smart Manufacturing Working Group and a Member of MESA’s International Board
Download the supplemental White Paper: Smart Manufacturing and Cloud Computing https://services.mesa.org/ResourceLibrary/ShowResource/a5b815c5-5210-4ab7-8b97-d0a1871cc713
Does the size of the company matter when using Cloud Computing for Smart Manufacturing? The short answer is no. A cloud-based Smart Manufacturing strategy is very much going to be driven by business needs and technology adoption appetite. With that said, Cloud Computing offers some significant benefits for Smart Manufacturing. The following are elements of Cloud Computing to be considered whether you are a small, medium or large company.
- Cloud delivers a "mutual fund" strategy for you. Let us say that you have a set of opportunities to migrate the cloud. Traditional on-premise solutions would require you to procure software, procure hardware, install, configure, customize and fully implement the entire solution before you can see the first value. Since in the cloud, you can start small and expand, you will see the first value much faster. You can re-invest the savings back into the manufacturing systems and gain more value by continuing to improve productivity.
- Cloud solutions help reduce the cost of mitigating system failures across multiple factories. With an on-premise solution you will need to perform risk assessment and mitigation for each of the environments whereas with a multi-tenant cloud, the SaaS solution provider can guarantee service levels with their built-in redundancy and failover methods.
- Security controls can be improved. For example, cloud providers are running all sorts of defense related programs and the FDA conducts clinical trial processing in the cloud. However, security considerations should not be completely delegated. The organizations must ensure that practices around these systems apply proper security principles and periodic audits are conducted.