Like the invention of steam power that heralded the industrial revolution, cloud computing today has ushered in a new revolution in the manufacturing world. More and more manufacturers are trying to use this technology to revamp their industries. There is no denying the fact that with the advent of cloud hosting, manufacturers have been given access to computing resources, analytical tools and data storage.
In the previous industrial revolution, industries could flourish only in areas which had easy access to water, fuels and electricity. But with cloud hosting, location is no longer the driving factor for an industry to grow. With cloud hosting, you can access your resources from anywhere as long as there is a web connection. When you adopt a cloud-based management system, you can redefine your supply chain operations. Rather than having every warehouse and factory being managed separately, now the manufacturer can create an “omnichain”. This refers to one cloud-based environment which is created around a centralized data set which is capable of integrating all the supply chain operations, no matter where they are taking place.
With cloud hosting, manufacturers can manage their operations deftly and even control their partners’ operations. So, they have full control over the whole supply chain, right from the time the prototypes to the finished product. Cloud hosting allows the suppliers and manufacturers to work hand in hand; they can share relevant information. So, the other partners soon become an integral part of the manufacturer’s business. The manufacturer can also scale up and down the resources depending on the demands. This is possible without having to spend a huge amount of money on IT or maintenance overheads as was the case earlier.
With the introduction of cloud technologies, mass production has now become mass customization. Manufacturers have total control over the supply chain. Since customer satisfaction is of utmost importance, product quality and design are also of prime value. Buyer interests for high-end products and the latest products are very high. This also means that the product world is more disposable these days and the life-cycle for consumer products is gradually shortening. Buyers now want customized products and this has made businesses keen to customize. Instead of mass production in traditional manufacturing industries, the focus has shifted to mass customization of particular products. This has led to the growth of boutique manufacturing plants which specialize in hand-crafted products. To make mass products designed to suit the specific needs of specific people, manufacturers have to decide whether this customization will happen on the shop floor or in the stores or at the warehouses. So, manufacturing processes will become more digitized and manufacturers will start using newer technologies. Manufacturers will continue to make their products but now they will focus more on services for these products. So, a company making smartwatches for instance will soon start offering web services.
With cloud technology, products have also started to include embedded intelligent sensors. This will allow finished products to communicate with the makers from the shop floors. You can get real-time access to product status information and this will help the makers to take necessary steps to improve their quality when defects are communicated. End-users can even influence product designs as they are being manufactured. 3D printing for instance is a new technology which is being used to prototype products and it may soon be available to regular consumers. In that situation, the manufacturers will probably move to designing the products while consumers start printing them on their own through printers.
In this way, cloud hosting has ushered in a new industrial revolution. Manufacturers are feeling the need to revolutionize their businesses and include mass customization as their key focus. Cloud technologies can support 3D printing and such other novel processes in manufacturing and allow manufacturers to become more responsive to the changing times.