What You Need to Know About Manufacturing in the Cloud

Here are 6 things to consider when moving your manufacturing business to the cloud. It’s a perfect way to automate and manage your business, as long as you take on board the precautions and choose the right systems.

Safety

This could be down to personal preference and many people will be tempted to avoid it, especially in light of the recent cyber-attacks on the NHS and other organisations.  However, let’s remember that these organisations were exposed because they were using old systems that hadn’t been updated for years.  With cloud software you tend to pay on a monthly basis and updates happen frequently and automatically. Any system can potentially be hacked if the right security isn’t in place and this is something to take into account when costing a change.  Off-site back-ups done remotely can reduce risk as no one has to remember to change a tape and take it home.

Capacity

A common misconception is that cloud accounting only works for smaller companies with a relatively small number of transactions.  While you might pay a higher monthly cost for more transactions many companies could take advantage of a cloud based accounting system that links to a manufacturing add-on that assists with resource planning.

Reporting

The functionality of the reporting in the new cloud based systems, particularly Xero, is far superior and incredibly more flexible than any accounting system I have previously worked with.  As with most systems you can export to Excel for manipulation but more often than not the reports produced within the software can be as flexible as you could ever wish for and already look good enough to present. The analytical features can adapt to any request for data and report back in seconds.

Dashboards

Cloud based systems provide excellent real time dashboards that can be customised to show the management information that is important to you.  They can be presented on a single screen and each user can have different KIPs (key performance indicators) showing.  You can see at a glance if there are issues with say, cash, debtors, key costs, sales.

Cost

A large accounting system can run into many £10k.  Often the system doesn’t quite do what you expected it to and your accounts team have to spend many hours into a format that is more pleasing.  Generally, a cloud based system will be paid for monthly, which will include automatic updates and if it really isn’t working for you can be swapped for something more suitable without having to scrap a huge cash investment.  There will still be a large time investment to get it up and running but the cash costs up front are negligible.

Access

Access can be provided to many workers at a low cost and this can be available to them via tablets, laptops and smart phones for full flexibility.  Not only can they access the information they need, there is the ability for them to enter information quickly and easily.  Some of the add-ons make expense and mileage claims incredibly simple and can link to HR, payroll and time tracking systems.

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