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5 Ways SaaS Is changing Manufacturing Execution

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    "If a tree falls in the middle of the woods and nobody was there to hear it, did it make a noise?" This statement is roughly equivalent to the manufacturing variant: "If a machine breaks down and nobody is there to see the andon light flashing, is it really down?"

    We all know the answer to these hypothetical questions: Of course.

    But what if nobody was monitoring a machine when it broke down? Who will fix it? When will it get fixed? How long will it take? How do we prevent this type of breakdown in the future? Fortunately for us, manufacturing SaaS can help us answer these questions and many more questions like them.

    In the true spirit of continuous improvement, manufacturing has turned to the Internet to take full advantage of cloud-based software. Software hosted on the Internet is known as SaaS, or Software as a Service. There are many reasons why manufacturers are turning to manufacturing SaaS. Here are just a few.


    Manufacturing SaaS Is Simple

    I don't mean "easy button" simple; I mean simple to scale. SaaS for manufacturing is quick to install. The infrastructure is already in place. You don't need to purchase and deploy expensive servers, you don't have to configure complex networks, and you don't have to mess with VPNs. SaaS software updates are fast, frequent, and usually free. No more late nights in the server room installing security patches. You never outgrow your hardware, either. Manufacturing SaaS has dynamic sizing all figured out.

    Manufacturing software on the cloud is simple to configure as well. Gone are the days when you need a degree in Database Design. Most manufacturing SaaS applications provide tools to upload Excel spreadsheets to get started and simple settings screens to manage your assets.

    All you need is an Internet connection and a browser. Okay, maybe it is "easy button" simple.


    Manufacturing SaaS Is Accessible

    Manufacturers are data-driven. Decisions are best backed by good, accurate data. Historically, retrieving data has been challenging in manufacturing. We all have horror stories about missing a deadline because the database server was locked up. SaaS for manufacturers has this figured out, as reporting data can be done in a few clicks. We don't discriminate against old data, either. You can generate reports for yesterday, last week, several months in the past months, or several years.

    Manufacturing SaaS also streamlines how teams record manufacturing data. For example, simple tasks can use web forms. Complex tasks can use APIs. You can even automate simple tasks using APIs. Since it's easy to put quality data into your manufacturing SaaS, you can get quality data out. Better data means more informed decisions. When making million-dollar decisions, accessible, quality data is critical.


    Manufacturing SaaS Makes Data and Processes Visual

    A chart is worth a thousand emails. There are some people who can eat, sleep, and breathe in the abstract, but most of us need something more tangible. To find out where you fit on the spectrum, answer one simple question: Would you rather someone describe to you in great detail the inverse relationship of time versus downtime, or would you rather see a downtime trend chart? Give me the chart! Most of us are visual thinkers.

    This is another area where manufacturing SaaS software really shines. We can extract multiple data points and represent them on a simple, elegant chart. These charts can be easily shared with members of your team and others. Having the right data represented in the right format helps short-circuit conversations to arrive at an informed decision faster. If you're like me, we'll always choose a simple chart over a thousand complex emails.


    Manufacturing SaaS Is Connectable

    Yes, connectable is a word. In the context of SaaS for manufacturing, it means that you can link all of your favorite applications together. Let me give you an example. You have a PLC that monitors a machine's state. If the machine goes down, the PLC can send a signal to your manufacturing SaaS to report the down machine, including the exact error code. Since the software is on the cloud, it can immediately notify workers that the machine is down, manufacturing plants much more efficient.


    Manufacturing SaaS Makes Plants Safer

    Safety is perhaps the most important aspect of manufacturing SaaS solutions. If confidential data is leaked, a company could go out of business faster than a tree falls in the forest. In order to keep customers' data safe, companies using manufacturing SaaS employ a number of security tactics, including:

    • Secure data connections. This protects data between the source and the server. L2L uses SHA-2 and 2048-bit encryption, over TLS 1.2. This is great news for customers.

    • Encryption at rest. This protects data after it's been saved to the cloud. The only way to access data is with the correct decryption keys and protocol.

    • Physical data center security. Data centers have heightened security protocols so that only those who have proper security access can gain access to the building. These security protocols help prevent the physical theft of data.

    Since manufacturing SaaS providers use these security tactics, customers' data remains safe and secure, allowing you to enjoy all of the benefits of SaaS with peace of mind.


    Manufacturing SaaS Boosts Efficiency

    Each of the above benefits has one common theme: Efficiency. Every list, form, and report in manufacturing software is scrutinized and tooled to be as efficient as possible. The result is software that helps you do more with less, which improves your bottom line. Since time is a finite resource, this is a welcomed result.

    If you aren't currently using manufacturing SaaS, give us a call. We can help you improve your efficiency in a safe, connectable, visual, and accessible way.

    And remember, if it's not in L2L, it didn't happen.