How proactive IT management and SD-WAN are helping manufacturers eliminate costly downtime.

Technology is a critical need in most organizations, but for manufacturers it often plays a bigger role. Technology touches almost every part of the manufacturing process from headquarter sales and ERP systems, to the warehouse and production lines. With unique “always-on” requirements, frequent downtime outages in these critical systems could mean a hit to production, efficiency and revenue.

Powerful technology should drive productivity for a manufacturer, not cause additional problems. During a downtime situation, your organization not only loses production capacity, it also suffers from wasted labor, depleted inventory, and lack of inventory – all which add up to money lost. When your business is built around precision, it’s unaffordable to look over this issue.

On average, manufacturers deal with up to 800 hours of downtime annually. If you typically produce 600 units per hour with an average profit of $50, a single hour of downtime can cost your business $10,000 – and this is only the cost of production loss.

Unfortunately, downtime is a part of doing business in an imperfect world where there are hundreds of uncontrollable variables, but there are ways to reduce downtime by optimizing your network technology, visibility and control.

Preventative monitoring and management

Proactive monitoring and management of critical systems can ensure that your manufacturing business is running at optimal efficiency. An Operations Center will monitor the health and performance of devices, networks and servers 24/7/365. If a metric strays from the norm, such as fan speed or the temperature of a cooler, an alert will be alarmed and trained engineers resolve the problem before it turns into a downtime event. These solutions follow a proactive model, instead of a reactive model, to your technology management, eliminating costly outages that could have been prevented.

SD-WAN to eliminate network disruptions

Manufacturers rely on data flowing to their ERP systems, warehouse, machines and headquarters at all times. Connection loss results in downtime, causing production malfunctions. To achieve an optimized network, organizations are moving to SD-WAN cloud networks for redundant connections. SD-WAN utilizes existing low-cost connections by aggregating circuits of any type, from any provider, to relieve congestion, provider faster response and ensure redundant connectivity for failover. SD-WAN is built on a cloud WAN that virtualizes every aspect of the network for increased agility and uninterrupted service delivery.

IIoT to deliver more visibility

The Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) or IIoT, is the application of connecting machines and devices to the internet. Some manufacturers are using IIoT to automate mass production lines to track maintenance, productivity, ordering and shipping information across multi-layered networks. While security concerns can surface from the improper management of these internet connected systems, they also can bring more control, visibility and efficiency into your production processes. Implementing security monitoring and other security best practices onto these machines and devices can ensure that threat actors don’t maliciously manipulate to get a backdoor into your systems.

While technology is playing a massive role in a manufacturer’s business operations, benefits are only found if that technology is proactively managed. Expensive production downtime is fueling technology change in manufacturing organizations. Innovative solutions like SD-WAN create more redundant connections that can steer packets across multiple connections to find the best path to eliminate jitter and latency, from the branch to headquarters or the warehouse and production lines. Contact Magna5 if you need help innovating your manufacturing IT operations.

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