Author: Joe Martin, Date: 2016-06-01

Manufacturing, as a business sector, goes back a long way. Ever since the first days of the Industrial Revolution, owner/operators have been looking for better and more efficient ways to run their production facilities. Jumping forward to the 21st century, flexible automation is at the forefront of what makes manufacturing a useful and profitable enterprise.

Manufacturing IT

The benefits that automation brings are evident to anyone with experience working on a busy shop floor. Faster and more efficient production with less chance for error provides a better platform for producing profit. The automated processes of yesteryear, however, are often inflexible and difficult to repair once errors do eventually introduce themselves.

Why Industrial Automation Systems Need to be Robust

One of the most exciting things happening in the industrial sector today is the merging of the information technology (IT) skill set and the industrial operation technology (OT) skill set. These two sectors have been surging forward on different trajectories for the better part of the past two decades, and it is only recently that they have started to come together.

One of the primary obstacles owner/operators face when attempting to join these two fields is in the problem-solving attitudes of IT and OT technicians. IT professionals are used to working with computer systems and network applications—typically, for example, through a help desk ticketing system that displays issues in the order they are received. OT professionals, on the other hand, need to be proactive and work in real-time, prioritizing the most important issues in order to keep the shop floor running.

Whereas IT issues may result in the company temporarily losing contact with clients, OT issues may result in the company permanently losing hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result of production downtime. This is what makes the merger of IT and OT skill sets such a critical venture, and why the systems they create need to be particularly flexible.

How Managed IT Support Helps Industry

As an owner/operator of a modern automated facility, working with a reputable provider of managed IT support absolutely necessary. Every system update carries the risk of expensive interoperability and compatibility issues, yet these updates are necessary to maintain an edge in today’s market. A managed IT company that has experience working with industrial manufacturing firms will have IT/OT systems in place that are robust enough to compensate for errors and flexible enough to avoid them.

This is essentially a new sector of industry designed for an era where the divider between the administrative office and the shop floor is becoming increasingly blurred. Manufacturers with access to Big Data analytic information and intelligent automation processes will consistently outperform competitors who cannot produce comparable results in the same amount of time. Having the benefit of a managed IT support provider with OT experience is the best way to ensure that level of flexibility on the modern manufacturing floor.

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