Americanmachinist 4076 Smallmfgceosriskcloud

Can Small Manufacturers Overcome Risk and Succeed in the Cloud?

Aug. 22, 2014
Consider the costs, timeframe, and effort needed to adopt new technology — but recognize “the great equalizer” between smaller enterprises and larger competitors Evaluating the cost of opportunity Impacting the team, revenues Workflow customization

Many CEOs and owners of small- and mid-size manufacturing operations are custodians of family-grown businesses, keeping a close eye on day-to-day operations while trying to control costs, and watching out for whatever opportunities and threats the future holds for them and the working families that help their enterprise grow.

Technology that speeds estimating time and accuracy, improves workflow and brings more profit and happy customers is always a part of the CEO’s or owner’s field of vision. But, getting to those benefits can be painful. While large manufacturing enterprises have big budgets to throw at fancy new ERP and SCM systems, the small- and mid-sized manufacturing companies must choose carefully and direct resources cautiously.

What is the cost of installing the new technology? How long will it take? How much effort will my team have to expend to make the software work the way we want? What if the benefits don’t materialize? And what else could I have spent money on while waiting for all these technology benefits to materialize? The technology expenditure risks to manufacturing companies with slim margins are considerable.

Enter the cloud – the great equalizer between smaller enterprises and larger competitors with traditionally bigger IT budgets. One of the greatest balms to a small company’s concerns is that cloud-based services offer a less costly path to the functionality they need – there is no new hardware to buy and no long implementation time. Instead, you can be up and running in a few days.

Next is the issue of how new software — including training and configuration for your company’s unique needs — will impact the team, their productivity, and the balance sheet.

The good news: Today’s cloud solutions can be more easily tailored to the way your enterprise works. This lessens the financial exposure of having to invest money and time (beyond the costs of purchase and initial implementation) to customize the solution to do what you want it to do. Upgrades happen automatically; there are no teams of IT folks to schedule for maintenance, incurring costly interruptions and delays.

Every small manufacturing organization wants the benefits of new technology that lets its team see and control the manufacturing process better —from the bid to the invoice. But, until now cost-risk has been a major impediment. With KeyedIn Manufacturing – SMB Edition, there’s no software to install, no servers to buy and no support headaches. Upgrades are managed remotely, and all your data is stored securely in state-of-the-art data centers that offer the same protection used by financial institutions.

Application flexibility is another important consideration. KeyedIn Manufacturing is built on the proprietary Konfigure Cloud Platform. Even non-technical users can customize the application easily and quickly, gaining the benefits of workflow customization without the costs and complexity of writing and maintaining software code.

Ralf Suerken is the executive vice president for Sales and Marketing at KeyedIn Solutions — a Cloud-based applications provider— and has more than 25 years of experience in ERP software development and application. He is responsible for corporate strategy, sales and marketing execution, and developing strategic partnerships for the company. Contact him via LinkedIn.