4 Manufacturing Mishaps to Avoid During Digital Transformation


Today's manufacturers face challenges ranging from supply chain issues to increases in the cost of raw materials, labor shortages, inflationary pressures and the urgent need to handle larger amounts of data. Finding new ways to digital transformation in this fast-paced industry is critical to success. Leading manufacturers are embracing powerful technology solutions to get (and stay) ahead of the pack.  While digital solutions are alleviating past problems, they can bring their own set of challenges. This can be especially difficult for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies operating with minimal IT staff. Modern technology has the potential to transform the way goods are produced and create more efficient and sustainable business models. Yet it often requires new equipment and software, workforce training, adaptive business models, and stronger cybersecurity.  Before any of that can happen, though, manufacturers must identify and eliminate obstacles. Here are the top four fumbles likely happening on your line during digital transformation and the strategies to overcome them.

1. Don't Create Complications with Workarounds

Technology reduces stress by creating simpler and more convenient processes when done well. However, if your network requires a significant overhaul, it can feel the opposite. Legacy technology is a non-starter. For everyone from your IT staff to your line operators to your C-suite, an insufficient and outdated network is a source of stress. Slow performance during video conferences and training may be causing a frustrating buildup of tickets at the IT help desk. Delayed response time to cloud-resident applications could be clearer for managers on the line. And at a time of economic uncertainty when any delay in meeting production quotas can put investors and shareholders on edge, manufacturers can't afford LAN misconfigurations and lengthy DNS lookups. You've likely created a maze if you've been trying to cut corners with a patchwork solution. A reliable network can help you find your way out faster and with less effort. As your manufacturing company goes through its digital transformation journey, focus on the value of your result. Once you arrive at a unified ecosystem, you'll be able to:

  • Align and innovate your products to match customer demand.  

  • Reduce the complexity of your operations to improve productivity.

  • Keep all your people connected for efficient collaboration.

  • Empower your workforce and reduce costly turnover.

  • Compete more effectively in the global marketplace.

2. Prevent Cybercrime from Holding Up Your Line

On the digital frontier, highway robbery comes in the form of cybercrime. It's an ever-present threat with a range of interrelated consequences. Network disruption, halted production, lost data, compromised security, and reputational damage can hold your manufacturing operations hostage. Network hardening can strengthen your defenses and stave off both passive (data is left intact) and active (data is corrupted or destroyed) forms of cybercrime. Vigorous cybersecurity protocols help to prevent endpoint attacks, malware, and exploitation of software vulnerabilities. To become a tougher target, manufacturers must leverage their network to track security postures as a key performance indicator. Enhanced visibility into these metrics is possible with an advanced network management solution. Because it's built to detect and reduce threats, heightened security features will be integrated throughout the system. Learn more about how your network can help prevent and mitigate damages from cyberattacks. 

3.  Avoid System Disruption and Downtime 

Whether it's caused by system overload, hardware failure, or loss of connectivity, having to press pause on the production line is costly. Comparing 2019-2020 with 2021-2022, the annual cost of downtime among Fortune 500 global companies increased by 65 percent, arriving at $129 million per facility Disruptions like application failure and accidental data deletion often result from various factors. From human error to natural disasters, you need a robust system supported by automation.  Modern IT infrastructure has built-in AI and sensors for advanced self-diagnosis and preventive maintenance. These tools enable faster and more accurate detection of component wear so machinery failure can be prevented. By facilitating vigorous maintenance protocols, disruptions and downtime can be circumvented. When they do happen, these same technologies shorten their duration. Today's form of lean manufacturing makes these capabilities a must. 

4. Break up Bottlenecks to Prevent Loss of Capacity

If your network is built with scalability, it can grow with you. In manufacturing, demand beyond capacity isn't a good problem to have. Like on a physical production line, digital works-in-progress can get backed up when the network can't handle the volume. Issues like overuse of mirroring configuration are all too common and result in discarded traffic. Additionally, channel switching is another effective method to tackle bottlenecks in the manufacturing process. Furthermore, cloud-based management is playing a crucial role in facilitating faster transitions between interfaces. As employees move around the manufacturing floor, they need to switch from one online device to another seamlessly, and cloud connectivity enables them to do so with ease. Consequently, the processing power is optimized, and transitions happen seamlessly, thanks to the modern network infrastructure. Additionally, channel switching is another effective method to tackle bottlenecks in the manufacturing process. Cloud-based management is paving the way for faster transitions between interfaces. As employees traverse the manufacturing floor, they switch from one online device to another. When they're all connected to the cloud, processing power is maximized, and transitions can happen seamlessly. A modern network makes it all possible.

As the future unfolds, forward-thinking manufacturers will recognize new ways are now the only ways. Success belongs to those that go beyond managing change to actively welcoming it. At Extreme Networks, we make digital transformation easy, efficient, and reliable.


About the Author
Andrea Quintero
Global Channel Marketing Specialist

Andrea is a Global Channel Marketing and Programs Specialist.

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