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Manufacturing IT - Everything You Need to Know in 2022

Max Pierce - JANUARY 24, 2022

Manufacturing IT cover graphic. 6 boxes with various patterns and colors in a horizontal row.

In the manufacturing industry, having good IT management is essential to keeping your business running smoothly.

There are many different types of manufacturing IT services that can help you with everything from securing your facility to reducing the cost of downtime. But making the right decision about which provider to choose can be difficult, especially when there are so many options available.

In this guide, we will compare traditional IT management vs manufacturing IT management, discuss the latest trends in manufacturing IT, explain why outsourcing your IT needs is the best option for most manufacturers, discuss how manufacturing IT works in 2022 and, give you our system for choosing a managed IT partner to work with.

Traditional IT management vs Manufacturing IT management

There are a few key ways that traditional IT management differs from manufacturing IT management.

The first is the focus on specific devices and software instead of the overall system. In traditional IT, each device is managed separately and updates and security patches are applied as needed. This can be difficult in the manufacturing industry where you may have dozens or even hundreds of different types of devices, all with different software and operating systems.

Manufacturing IT management takes a more holistic approach to managing your IT infrastructure. By using an enterprise-level solution, you can manage all of your devices from a single console, making updates and security patches much easier to apply. This greatly reduces the complexity of management for both the manufacturer and the IT provider.

Ultimately the goal of outsourced IT is to save you time & money. That’s a tall task if your IT provider has to spend 100’s of hours a month configuring hardware and patching your devices.

Insider Insight: The complexity has increased in recent years as manufacturing businesses have become more and more interconnected. Isolated operating environments are a thing of the past. This means the IT provider has a responsibility to implement proper systems to entirely prevent downtime and maintain continuous operations.

Venn diagram showing how OT & IT environments interact in the manufacturing IT space.

Downtime in a manufacturing environment means a significant loss of revenue. An hour of downtime at a very large facility could cost as high as $260,000.

On average, an hour of downtime costs around $35,000.

That is a catastrophic loss of revenue.

It is the responsibility of both the IT provider and the manufacturer to prevent such events from occurring. That’s why a great managed IT provider can be so valuable, preventing downtime on the floor means maximizing revenue upstairs.

But what about cyber attacks?

For manufacturers, cyberattacks can cost millions of dollars.

For the sake of discussion, let’s say an hour of downtime at your manufacturing facility cost around $10,000. On average, businesses experience 22 days of business interruption following a ransomware attack.

Some simple math tells us that this could realistically cost a moderate-sized manufacturing facility north of $5 million dollars.

But that’s just part of the cost, you still have to pay for the team that will negotiate with the ransomware group. You will have to pay for your cyber insurance (if you have any) and lawyers, specialists, etc..

You are easily looking at costs in millions of dollars. That is not realistic for most businesses and can lead to them closing their doors permanently (around 60% to be exact).

If you happen to be that mega-manufacturing facility where an hour of downtime costs you $260,000. 22 days of downtime could cost you more than $100,000,000. Would be hard to shrug that one off.

Manufacturing IT downtime calculation graphic

The latest trends in Manufacturing IT

There are several key trends in Manufacturing IT that companies should be aware of.

The first of which is the trend towards cloud-based solutions. More and more businesses are moving away from on-premises hardware and software and towards cloud-based solutions. This allows them to take advantage of the scalability and flexibility of the cloud, as well as the reduced costs.

Cloud-based solutions are the future for most businesses, manufacturers are no exception (and can uniquely benefit from cloud solutions as well.) Not to beat a dead horse but your managed IT partner needs to have ample experience in the implementation and management of cloud solutions. In a business where operational efficiency is paramount, the large-scale efficiencies that can be gained from cloud solutions are impossible to ignore.

Another trend is the increased use of mobile devices in the manufacturing process. Tablets and smartphones are being used more and more to collect data in the field and to provide real-time information to workers. This allows for faster decision-making and improved efficiency.

The third trend is the increased use of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) devices and sensors. These devices are being used to collect data from the factory floor and send it back to the cloud for analysis. This allows businesses to track production in near-real-time, identify problems early, and make corrections quickly

Why outsourcing your manufacturing IT just makes sense

As competition increases in the manufacturing industry, the demand for high-quality, smart, and modern infrastructure platforms has increased substantially.

This is putting pressure on businesses to find new ways to increase efficiency and stay competitive.

Outsourcing your manufacturing IT just makes sense in this environment.

When you outsource your manufacturing IT, you are delegating the management of your infrastructure to a team of experts. This team (should) have years of experience in managing IT for manufacturers and will be up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies. They will also have the resources necessary to keep your infrastructure running smoothly 24/7.

This leaves you free to focus on what you do best – running your business. You don’t need to worry about hiring or training an in-house IT staff, purchasing hardware and software, dealing with downtime, or worrying about your cyber security.

It’s difficult to ignore the pros of having a great IT provider at your side, especially if you are in the manufacturing space. A great provider will make your business much more revenue than it costs. The secret is in choosing the right provider.

So how do you do that?

The secret to choosing a great manufacturing IT provider

The secret is…. to be thorough and do your homework. Hardly a secret, I know.

There is no alternative to taking the time and doing stuff right. Here’s a 6-step process you can follow to ensure you choose the right managed IT provider for your manufacturing facility.

  1. Ensure the provider has matching offerings with your IT needs.
  2. Check the provider’s certifications and reviews.
  3. Make sure the team has experience in your specific industry.
  4. Review pricing, services, and SLAs (service-level agreements).
  5. Make sure you culturally mesh with the team. You are going to be working together a lot, a good relationship is vital.
  6. Once you have narrowed down your list of prospective providers to two or three, it’s time to reach out for a proposal and/or trial period.

This is where the rubber meets the road. You’ve done all the research, now it’s time to put your provider through their paces.

Ask for a proposal that outlines what they will do for you, how much it will cost, and what the SLAs are. Most importantly, make sure you actually test out the service. Run some of your everyday tasks through the provider’s infrastructure and see how it performs.

Do this for a couple of months and then make your decision. It can be tough making a decision in a vacuum so reach out to others in your industry who have used managed IT providers and get their opinion as well.

Insider Insight: In today’s digital world, having a robust and well-managed IT infrastructure is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. Outsourcing your manufacturing IT to a team of experts is the best way to ensure that your infrastructure is up-to-date, efficient, and secure.

How do manufacturing IT services work in 2022?

Industry 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution, is a term used to describe the current state of digital transformation that manufacturing businesses are experiencing. It encompasses a number of transformative technologies such as AI, machine learning, IoT, and RPA that help to increase efficiency, optimize processes, and stay competitive.

The world’s technology is rapidly changing at an ever-increasing rate. The companies that are going to be around for another 100 years need to learn to embrace this rapidly changing environment.

Tip: These rapid industry changes are where some of the most successful companies were started. Times of uncertainty can serve as excellent opportunities to capitalize on emerging markets, giving you a distinct competitive advantage.

The bottom line: in 2022, managed IT services will be more important than ever for manufacturers looking to stay ahead of the curve and be competitive in a rapidly changing world. If you’re not already taking advantage of these services, it’s time to consider making the switch.

A great managed IT provider will help you capitalize on these emerging market by enabling your business to operate with maximum efficiency and by serving as a strategic technology partner.

Cybersecurity is (and should be) a priority for manufacturers in 2022

Manufacturing companies are a prime target for cybercriminals. Why? Because they hold a wealth of sensitive data that can be used for financial gain or industrial espionage.
In order to protect your business from these threats, it is essential to have a robust and well-managed IT infrastructure in place. This includes having up-to-date antivirus software, firewalls, and spam filters as well as the staff who are trained in how to identify and respond to cyber-attacks.
Another key element of a strong cybersecurity strategy is having a solid backup and disaster recovery plan in place. If your business were to experience a data breach or system crash, you need to be confident that you would be able to recover quickly and resume operations without any major disruptions.
A managed IT provider can help you to develop a cybersecurity strategy that is tailored specifically to your business needs and helps to protect you from the ever-growing array of cyber threats.
If you want to get the rundown on what it takes to secure your business, read our Ultimate Guide to Small Business Cybersecurity below.

Download the Small Business Cybersecurity Ultimate Guide

Our ultimate guide to fast-track your business’s path to becoming more secure.

Putting it all together

In summary, in 2022 the manufacturing industry will see:

  1. The continued rise of Industry
  2. Increased efficiency and competitiveness through the use of transformative technologies, such as AI, machine learning, IoT, and RPA.
  3. A more secure infrastructure that is constantly updated with the latest patches and security measures to protect against ever-evolving cyber threats.
  4. The importance of cybersecurity in order to protect your business from data breaches and system crashes.
  5. And finally, the importance of managed IT services in order to take advantage of these rapidly changing times and stay ahead of the competition.

A great managed IT provider will help you capitalize on this emerging market by enabling your business to operate with maximum efficiency and by serving as a strategic technology partner.

Techfive can be that partner. Our services are specifically tailored to the manufacturing industry and we have years of experience working with manufacturers of all sizes.

If you are interested, click here.

Thanks for reading.

Max Pierce profile picture. Man sitting in chair with hand in fist on chin.


Marketing Manager @ Techfive | Working to make B2B brands more personable & human.

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At Techfive, we are all-in-one strategic partners for cyber-aware companies. We offload time-consuming tech management and help our partners become more cyber aware and secure.

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