Reach for the cloud

Supply Chain Cloud

Cloud computing has the ability to transform your manufacturing business. FORCAM’s Andrew Steele, explains how.

Many of us are aware of the cloud and use it daily; from storing music and photos at home, to using it in the workplace, where a more competitive data exchange can save costs and give your company a competitive edge.

Andrew Steele, managing director, FORCAM UK.
Andrew Steele, UK managing director, FORCAM. andrew.steele@forcam.com

Cloud computing – whether it’s private, public or hybrid – is the backbone of Industry 4.0 and its benefits clearly outweigh any perceived objections.

More than 80% of UK organisations have adopted at least one cloud service, and by doing so they are significantly boosting their chances of reaching their business objectives, reducing capital expenditure, improving the reliability of their IT and lowering the risk of data loss.

Low-cost, scalable and flexible

Cloud solutions need low initial investment, and companies save on hardware and head-count costs, pay lower administration overheads and avoid long-term capital investment.

Another major advantage is scalability; resources are provided on-demand and changes in activities are handled efficiently, which together result in a truly cost-effective service.

Flexibility is key, too. The cloud enables companies to react quickly to volatile IT requirements and it can be rapidly expanded to new plants or locations and provides greater transparency of IT costs.

At FORCAM, our software products are designed to be fully scalable to business needs; plus, modules and new functions can be added without significantly ramping up costs.

Making the jump

Although cloud penetration has increased year-on-year, and faster than anticipated, cloud-based solutions still constitute a relatively small part of the wider IT landscape, and 50% of organisations expect to keep specific applications and services in-house indefinitely.

FORCAM Cloud PQ - March 2017This could be attributed to concerns that some companies have about the cloud, but I’m confident that fears over cost, security, possible downtime and inflexibility can be allayed.

There are many cloud models to suit different needs. Finding the right one can be a challenge, but a challenge that we are happy to face.

A public cloud would suit companies that need full scalability due to highly variable employee numbers, IT requirements or volatile production peaks; or simply because smaller enterprises don’t want to invest in in-house IT infrastructure.

Private clouds best suit organisations that already have a comprehensive local IT infrastructure or can support administration. The private cloud approach also suits aerospace and defence companies with highly sensitive data.

Best of both worlds

The most flexible solution is the hybrid cloud, which caters to those who have security concerns yet seek a scalable web-based solution that can be sustained by IT departments.

We pioneered the benefits of the cloud and the possibilities it offers our customers. Our solution is fully web-based and the applications are ready, whether it’s for an in-house, public of hybrid implementation.

The cloud is here to stay. Fortunately, the adaptability of our solutions provides models that can suit every business in the manufacturing sector.