The Top 3 Reasons for Manufacturers to Move to the Cloud – Now

Greg Matranga
By Greg Matranga | January 7, 2021
Vice President of Global Marketing

Fact checked by Stephen O'Reilly

Everybody’s writing about it. Move to the cloud now! Don’t wait! Buy now! It’s a hot topic…and rightly so. I’m here to share with you the Top 3 Reasons manufacturers should move to the cloud now. No wandering narrative. No expounding on the virtues of cloud technology (okay, maybe a little), and no nebulous reasons. Rather, here are concrete reasons you should move your quality system to the cloud. Easy to understand. Easy to digest. Easy to share with anyone in charge of funding for your company.
 
And here they are: centralization, flexibility, and power. These three important aspects of bringing statistical process control (SPC) to your manufacturing quality endeavors are game changers for many organizations. They comprise the heart of InfinityQS quality software products. And with a cloud deployment, you can easily and rapidly bring them to your operations and quickly start reaping the benefits. Let’s dive in.
Cloud Deployment

Centralization

Let’s put this as succinctly as we can. Centralizing your quality data buys you standardization (very important, more on this in a moment), visibility into that data, and the potential for real transformation of your operations. Centralizing your quality data is key. Here’s why:
 
Centralizing your quality data is the easiest way to standardize. As InfinityQS COO, Doug Fair, states in his blog, Soar Above the Competition: Centralize Your Quality Data, “Standardizing naming conventions (product codes, feature names, lot number formats, etc.) is crucial. Not only does it ensure a common code of communication across all plants, but it supports system-to-system integration, and enables simplified high-level reporting and data analysis across all plants. And it limits the confusion that is so common in organizations today—the confusion that is the result of individual plants who do not comply with standardization in systems, naming conventions, and standard operating procedures (SOPs).”
 
When naming conventions are standardized, your quality management system can easily aggregate data across production lines and plants (without complex database queries), providing corporate-wide quality insights that are generally impossible to uncover without standardization. Aggregating your quality data provides you with the visibility—the bird’s eye view—that you need to transform your operations.
 
So, let’s say you standardize naming conventions and wisely store all quality data in a single, centralized repository (like we do with InfinityQS cloud-based quality software products). Well, your quality experts can then review and analyze that data weekly or monthly and (comparing quality performance across lines or products or shifts) come up with a list of quality issues that can be attacked by your Six Sigma experts. If so, you’re well on your way to incorporating the most effective continuous quality improvement activities in your operations…and that’s what keeps your products moving out the door, your customers happy, and your bottom line in the black. Many companies want to calculate and compare process capability to see which processes are performing well and which ones need help—this gives managers the info they need to focus their resources on the top issues affecting performance.
 
Manufacturing Plant FloorIn essence, what you’re looking to do with the big picture is extract manufacturing intelligence. You just need a system that supports plant floor, enterprise-wide data collection, and a means of aggregating that data so you can make it easily consumable and understandable by managers, engineers, and quality professionals. That’s where our software comes in.
 

Flexibility Means A Lot

Flexibility is something every organization strives for, in one way or another. It is the “agility” we all seek, which is such a common term these days. It means having the ability to turn on a dime. When demand is up, you’re ready for it and ramp up production accordingly. When demand is down, you cut back a bit and keep your operations going, while still making your numbers.
 
Flexibility in terms of quality management software means a whole lot more. When you think of your workforce, it means cross-pollination. When an operator is down, it’s nice to have someone able to step right in and take over. When health care concerns push your staff into remote work (sound familiar?), it’s great to have a system that supplies the data your people need to see and collaborate on. And when you make the move to the cloud, it’s comforting to have a system that is easy to deploy and learn how to use. That’s a lot of flexibility.
 
And flexibility is very important in terms of pursuing your overall quality goals because each company is different. Different equipment, different data collection strategies and solutions, and different issues. 
Plant Floor Monitoring

Cross-Pollination

Over the years, manufacturing employees attain what is known as “tribal knowledge,” that is, the operators know the “personalities” of the machinery, the plant floor supervisors almost have a sixth sense of how to run their production operations. And that is locked in the heads of the people who have garnered all that experience. If you have workers unable to be on the plant floor, then your company’s tribal knowledge is being lost or seriously eroded.
 
With a cloud-based quality system, you can transform that tribal knowledge into what colleague Jason Chester, InfinityQS Director of Global Channel Programs, calls digital foundations. In his blog, 5 Reasons Why Digital Transformation is More Important Now than Ever Before, Jason explains that in our cloud-based systems you can “capture and convert that tacit tribal knowledge into explicit rules, procedures, processes, and workflows and ensure that they are consistently implemented.” This enables you to drop Operator A into Operator B’s production line when the need arises and not lose a beat. That’s cross-pollination. Keeping your lines running when staffing is a challenge.
 

Going Remote

Remote WorkIn that same blog, Jason discusses going remote means more than just working from home: “When we talk about “remote,” most people conjure up this image of someone working from home, but that's actually not what we mean…at least, not only what we mean. We mean also “being remote from the plant floor,” in order to better observe social distancing and that sort of thing. Most manufacturers are restricting the amount of personnel that can be on the shop floor at any given time (or creating sectors, and then limiting who can enter each sector). So, that might mean that a production supervisor has to do her job from an office on the site, rather than actually walking the floor. But, as you can see, that's still working remotely.”
 
InfinityQS quality management software enables you to move your manufacturing efforts into the new era, with remote working becoming a reality. The best way to achieve a remote work force, while maintaining unification and centralization of all your data, is via the cloud—Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions. As Jason states, “The value and power of the cloud is becoming more evident with every passing day. It is obviously inherently remote and unified…and real time—by design. That is why many manufacturers are now embracing the cloud; they are seeing the need for digital transformation, taking it seriously, and doubling down now.”
 
Quality is a great way to start your digital transformation journey. The cloud facilitates a very impactful system that is affordable and easy to implement, unlike more complex plant information systems. And, when you are ready, our quality systems can integrate into other plant software systems.
 

Easy Deployment and Sustainability

Deploying to multiple sites with an on-premises quality system means more hardware, more licenses, and more infrastructure. Deployment is one of the best advancements from cloud-based systems. It’s so easy. With cloud-based solutions, you just buy more subscriptions and give the users the password…and they’re in the system! Deployment could not be any easier. [For details about the first 90 days with Enact, please see the Deployment blog by Eric Weisbrod, InfinityQS’ VP of Product Management. It’s an eye-opener.]
eLearning 
And learning to use an InfinityQS cloud-based quality management system is a snap. As InfinityQS Knowledge Development Manager, Steve Voight, mentions in his blog, The Shift to eLearning, our software products are perfectly suited to remote learning. “We offer a host of eLearning modules, available right in our Help system. By the way, our Help system is probably the most robust help you’ve ever used. The context-sensitive system is currently available in English, German, and Spanish—this invaluable tool directs users to instructions, tips, videos, tutorials, best practices, getting started guides, FAQs, industry examples, and more.” And the Help system is always just a click away for users.
 
As Steve says, “eLearning isn’t just the wave of the future. It’s here now. And people want it. Users like to learn at their own pace (heck, they’re used to it by now), and enjoy the freedom to stop and then pick it up again whenever they like.”
 
And ongoing training… We updated the Support section of our website to offer ways to help you build your knowledge and expertise in our products. We’ve got tons of information for administrators and super users—information you need to administer and manage your InfinityQS software deployment. It never hurts to have as much in-house expertise as possible, so you can get the most value from your InfinityQS software.
 
And our Support section will help you save time and effort as you work to get everyone up to speed, solve issues, and get your questions answered.
 
And, lastly, perhaps one of the most flexible things that a cloud-native system can do for you is updates. Not upgrades, but instead updates. There are no servers to purchase and setup, no software to install, and no need for time-consuming software upgrades. And everyone on your staff always has the latest and greatest version of the software… on any device that has a browser (flexibility!).
Quality Control

The Power of the Cloud

What is the power of the cloud? Well, it’s many things, but mostly it’s having real-time data (all the data) in the hands of the people who can use it most effectively to minimize production issues, head off potential problems, and find best-case scenarios for utilizing your precious resources. Cloud applications provide the most information and capability while using the least IT resources. They are incredibly efficient for companies. You get more for your money because cloud technology helps reduce costs.
 
As InfinityQS COO, Doug Fair, discusses in his blog, Shifting Manufacturing Quality Paradigms, our Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) quality management systems are breaking the long-standing paradigm of how quality is managed in manufacturing:
 
“Here’s the way we used to think: If I’m going to make improvements in my manufacturing processes, then those improvements will be localized, right? That is, I can make an improvement at a production line, or for a particular product code, at a single plant…and those things take place at the plant level.
 
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has shattered that paradigm. SaaS provides manufacturers with the capability to have data collection and visibility across the entirety of an enterprise. SaaS provides our quality improvement experts at the corporate level (from anywhere around the globe) to be able to sort, slice, and dice data anyway they want from across plants, across departments, across the enterprise, across regions. It just doesn't matter anymore; there are no limitations.”
 
That’s the power of the cloud in action. And those are my Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Move to the Cloud now.
 
 
Take advantage of the technology at your fingertips today: contact one of our account managers (1.800.772.7978 or via our website) for more information.
 
 
For more information about why you should move your quality management solution to the cloud, please check out these other postings:

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