We’re living through a technological revolution. The Internet of Things (IoT), a growing web of smart devices, is continually linking nearly every facet of our lives. The transfer of critical data and media across these devices is made possible by cloud computing or, more elusively, “the Cloud.”
For manufacturers, cloud technology is already an established tool for activities from predictable maintenance with sensor technology to remote inventory management in warehouses. The connectivity of the IoT isn’t limited to production operations within the four walls of your facility, however. Leveraging cloud technology for internal and external communications can help manufacturers optimize efficiency across disparate locations, as well as with customers and vendors.
Unified cloud communications replace existing, often decades-old legacy phone systems with a single platform to integrate voice, video, chat, analytics, and other desired applications directly with their current CRM or ERP systems, eliminating information silos and increasing visibility into real-time intelligence. For manufacturers looking to boost productivity and cut needless costs, while ensuring resilience and centralizing management, it’s an option that’s worth a second look.
Here are five key reasons manufacturers are moving their communications to the Cloud:
- Lower Costs. Replacing a traditional private branch exchange (PBX) system with a simple Internet connection slashes the costs of both local and international calls, with companies only paying a fixed per-user cost for what they actually use. Not only does removing clunky equipment eliminate costly and labor-intensive maintenance issues that arise from breakdowns, but it also optimizes cash flow by moving from the overhead costs of CapEx to more predictable, monthly payments of OpEx.
- Simplified Vendor Management. Hand-in-hand with the lower costs of Voice over IP (VoIP) connections, come fewer invoices and vendors for manufacturers to track down. Instead turning to different companies for voice, video, chat, or call center services for each facility – and dealing with finger-pointing every time something isn’t working correctly – a unified cloud communications solution consolidates all costs and contacts into a single touchpoint.
- Ease of Scalability. Since manufacturers frequently manage multiple facilities and scattered distribution centers, it’s critical they’re able to seamlessly add employees and locations. When looking to expand, rather than being forced to contract with a local provider or front the cost of an expensive hardware installation, the only thing unified cloud communications users need to get up and running is an Internet connection, ensuring their communications are always equipped to grow and change with the business.
- Faster Maintenance. Consider this scenario: A critical piece of equipment unexpectedly breaks down. The line operator flips through the company directory to find the best person to call for a replacement part – but they’re not picking up. The operator isn’t sure whether they’ve simply stepped away for a moment or if they’re dealing with another issue entirely, and no one knows how long it will be before the problem is resolved. Alternatively, unified cloud communications streamline communications among plant managers, maintenance technicians, and even outside vendors to eliminate these barriers to decision-making – enabling a rapid response and reducing downtime.
- Disaster-Proofed Data. By hosting communications in the Cloud, manufacturers are better prepared to deal with inevitable setbacks such as power outages and natural disasters. While a physical phone system is susceptible to damage that could result in hours, days or weeks of downtime and lost revenue, hosted communications empower employees to connect with customers, suppliers, and each other from anywhere, at any time, as well as maintain complete access to the company’s internal dashboard and real-time analytics – ensuring that even in the face of disaster, your business never skips a beat.
Shelagh Dolan is the segment marketing manager for 8x8, provider of the Communications Cloud for connecting employees, customers and applications. To learn more about how the company feels manufacturers can benefit from implementing cloud communications, check out their infographic: The Manufacturing Industry Is Ripe for the Cloud.