Managed IT services allow a manufacturer to focus on manufacturing and allow experts in IT to handle the IT services essential to keeping the manufacturer’s operations running. The benefits of managed IT services arise from the expertise of the service provider. Outsourcing IT through a managed network services provider gives a manufacturer immediate access to a staff of experienced and dedicated IT professionals.
What are the Benefits of Managed IT Services for Manufacturers?
Manufacturers operate on thin margins and unpredictable schedules. As a result, manufacturers benefit from the consistent services and stable costs that come from a managed IT services contract.
1. Cost Savings
Managed IT services are often less expensive than in-house IT services for a few reasons:
- Pay as needed: Rather than hiring full-time network administrators, a manufacturer only needs to pay for managed IT services as the services are used. Moreover, because managed IT services providers have many customers, operating efficiencies from shared resources can be passed on to each customer.
- Buying expertise: Manufacturers can shop around for a managed IT services provider that meets its needs rather than committing to an employee who lacks the necessary skills and needs to learn on the job. Once a managed IT services provider is contracted, manufacturers get access to an entire team of IT experts who can collaborate to develop policies, maintain networks, and solve problems that arise.
- Diversity of experience: Manufacturers can benefit from IT professionals who have worked in varied industries. Sometimes, a solution to a problem will come from a completely unexpected source or industry.
- Predictable costs: After working with managed IT services, a manufacturer will be able to predict the services routinely needed and enter into an ongoing managed IT services agreement at a consistent cost.
- Emergency service: Having in-house IT staff does not guarantee that outside IT services will not be needed. If the in-house staff cannot solve a problem, a manufacturer can hire outside experts to fix the problem.
Inexperience and unfamiliarity with industry standards and best practices can lead in-house IT staff to manage reactively. In this situation, network administrators spend all their time fixing problems.
Managed IT services providers, on the other hand, can set up policies and establish practices that prevent problems from arising in the first instance. Like preventative maintenance, proactive management reduces downtime and increases operating efficiency.
One example of proactive managed IT services is user account maintenance. Inexperienced network administrators will often delay or even ignore deleting unused accounts and updating old accounts. However, an experienced network administrator knows that these accounts can pose a security risk that allows former employees to access the network or allow current employees to access the network in a way that is not necessary for their job duties. Keeping up on user account maintenance by defining access permissions and deleting unused accounts can be critical to avoiding security problems.
One of the greatest benefits for manufacturers of managed IT services is the ability to scale up or down the manufacturer’s IT resources as needed. When a surge of IT support is needed to upgrade equipment or process a rush of orders, managed IT services can temporarily provide additional IT staff. When IT demands slow, IT staff can be reduced. Outsourcing the management of IT staff is much cheaper and easier than hiring and firing IT employees.
Manufacturers should also keep in mind they do not need to choose between in-house or outsourced IT. Managed IT services providers can be used to supplement in-house IT staff and enhance their efficiency.
For example, managed IT services can establish IT policies based on industry standards and best practices. In-house IT can then implement and enforce those standards and policies. In this respect, the manufacturer gets both the experience of outside IT service providers to educate and guide its IT staff and the immediacy of in-house staff to handle routine network problems.
Outside network service providers can also troubleshoot difficult problems that stump the in-house staff. This can save in-house IT staff time while identifying and fixing problems. As a result, manufacturing operations keep running rather than grinding to a halt when IT problems arise.
Get Managed Network Services for Manufacturers
Manufacturers face some unique IT challenges. Manufacturing equipment has evolved from machine tools to sophisticated CNC and 3D printing machines. Thus, IT services are not only essential to connecting manufacturing employees but also connecting manufacturing machines. If a CNC machine cannot access a CAD drawing from a manufacturer’s server, manufacturing shuts down.
With IT services being so essential to manufacturing operations, manufacturers need to find dedicated and experienced managed IT service providers. Contact DME to discuss your factory’s IT needs.