IT Support

A detailed overview of specialised IT support for manufacturers

In this comprehensive guide, we're looking into the specifics of IT support for manufacturers, exploring the unique challenges and advantages, and guiding you in choosing the ideal service provider. From tackling technology hurdles to embracing the latest trends, let's take a closer look at how IT services can support your manufacturing business.
A photo of Ian Welch, who is a partner & technical director for Network

Written by

Ian Welch

Ian is the Technical Director @ Network and a certified ethical hacker (CEH), security professional (CISSP) and ISO27001 lead implementer with over 25 years experience.

Updated on

May 3, 2024

Two engineers looking at components at a manufacturing factory.

Before we dive in

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Key Takeaways

  1. Outsourcing IT support in the manufacturing industry streamlines production processes and mitigates cyber risks, crucial for maintaining operational integrity and data security.
  2. Choosing an IT support provider with specialised manufacturing knowledge and proactive solutions is vital for adapting to industry-specific challenges and future growth.
  3. Leveraging IT support in manufacturing not only boosts efficiency and innovation but also plays a pivotal role in risk management and meeting evolving customer demands.

What is the role of IT support for manufacturers?

In the UK manufacturing sector, outsourcing IT support has become a strategic move for many manufacturing businesses. It's a decision that centres on cost-effectiveness and efficiency.

Instead of bearing the significant expenses and complexities of maintaining an in-house IT team, manufacturing companies are increasingly turning to specialised IT support services. This shift not only reduces operational costs but also ensures that IT systems are managed by experts.

Outsourcing IT support allows your manufacturing business to focus on its core competencies. While you innovate and streamline your manufacturing processes, a dedicated team of IT professionals takes care of your technology needs.

From software updates to cyber security, these experts handle every aspect of your IT infrastructure. This approach is not just about cutting costs; it’s about entrusting your IT systems to those who understand the unique technological demands of the manufacturing industry.

The importance of IT Support for manufacturing companies

IT support for manufacturing companies is more than just problem-solving; it's a critical pillar supporting the entire structure of a manufacturing business. In an industry where precision and efficiency are paramount, IT support services ensure that manufacturing operations run smoothly and uninterrupted.

The role of IT support in the manufacturing sector involves much more than fixing technical problems. It encompasses safeguarding sensitive data, maintaining effective cyber security, and ensuring the seamless integration of manufacturing processes with advanced technology.

Managed IT services is vital in a sector where downtime can lead to significant financial losses and diminished customer trust.

As manufacturing clients increasingly demand higher standards of quality and compliance, IT support becomes indispensable. It plays a pivotal role in ensuring that your business stays ahead of evolving cyber security threats and regulatory requirements.

Effective IT support is not just a background function; it’s a strategic asset that enhances the resilience and competitiveness of your manufacturing company.

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Do these technology challenges sound familiar to your business?

You're working with IT support that moves at a snail's pace, leaving you and your team hanging.

You’re worried your business is not fully prepared for the next major cyber attack.

You're frustrated that the business technology you've invested in isn't performing as well as it could be.

What challenges does the manufacturing sector face with technology?

The UK manufacturing sector faces several key challenges related to technology and IT support, impacting their ability to support staff and clients effectively. These challenges span various aspects of manufacturing operations and require strategic approaches to address them.

Maintaining uptime and manufacturing operations

The manufacturing sector faces the challenge of costly downtime, which amounts to approximately £180 billion each year, often due to technical faults and ageing machinery. Addressing this requires the implementation of predictive maintenance and efficient Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to reduce downtime and enhance efficiency.

Data management and technological adoption

Effective data management is crucial for manufacturing businesses. Properly utilised data can drive insights across the entire manufacturing ecosystem. Simultaneously, the sector must embrace digital transformation, including automating processes and adopting new technologies to stay competitive.

Cybersecurity and supply chain integration

As collaboration with third-party vendors increases, robust cybersecurity measures become essential to protect sensitive data and intellectual property. Additionally, integrating IT systems across the supply chain poses challenges due to varying systems and data formats, necessitating standardisation efforts for efficiency and collaboration.

Managing costs and enhancing competitiveness

The increasing cost of production and supply chain disruptions are major concerns. Manufacturers are exploring energy-efficient practices and automation to reduce costs. Emphasising innovation, digital transformation, and sustainability is key to maintaining competitiveness in the global market​​​​.

Workforce development and sustainability focus

Upskilling and retraining staff to handle new technologies efficiently is critical for operational efficiency. Additionally, with the growing importance of sustainability, manufacturers need to adapt their business models to meet regulatory demands and prove their progress in sustainable practices​​​​.

What are the 10 benefits of specialised IT support for manufacturing companies?

Specialised IT support offers numerous benefits for manufacturing companies, enhancing various aspects of their operations. Here's a breakdown of these benefits:

  1. Enhanced efficiency: Specialised IT support optimises production processes, helping to increase productivity and reduce waste. By implementing the right systems and best tools, manufacturing companies can streamline their operations for better outcomes.
  2. Expertise in data management and cyber security: A managed service provider brings technical expertise in handling sensitive data and defending against cyber threats. This includes managed network services and network security, ensuring business continuity, and providing cyber essentials certification, which is crucial for protecting intellectual property and customer data.
  3. Disaster recovery and risk management: Specialised IT support includes robust disaster recovery solutions and proactive risk management strategies. This helps manufacturing companies prepare for and quickly recover from technology failures, minimising downtime and maintaining operational integrity.
  4. Support for digital transformation: With the increasing integration of digital technologies in manufacturing, specialised IT services support this transformation. They help in adopting cutting-edge solutions that align with current market trends and future improvements.
  5. Tailored solutions for specific business needs: Managed IT services are not one-size-fits-all. Providers work closely with manufacturing companies to understand their unique needs, offering solutions that align with specific business goals.
  6. Cost-effective compared to in-house teams: Outsourcing IT support to a services provider can be more cost-effective than maintaining an in-house IT team. It allows businesses to access specialised knowledge and support without the overhead costs associated with full-time staff.
  7. Ongoing support and maintenance: With managed IT services, manufacturing companies receive ongoing support and maintenance. This includes regular check-ups, updates, and actionable strategies to ensure the IT infrastructure is always up-to-date and functioning optimally.
  8. Meeting regulatory compliance and industry standards: Specialised IT support ensures that manufacturing companies comply with industry standards and regulations. This includes managing supply chains, ensuring compliance with frameworks like cyber essentials, and keeping up with evolving regulations.
  9. Focused innovation and improvement: By offloading IT responsibilities to a specialised provider, manufacturing businesses can focus more on innovation and core business activities. This allows them to improve efficiency, meet customer demands, and stay competitive.
  10. Customised support for large sites and complex projects: Specialised IT support providers can handle large-scale projects and manage IT services across large manufacturing sites, providing complete management and support tailored to the scale and complexity of the operation.

These 10 benefits highlight how specialised IT support can be a key part of a manufacturing company's strategy, offering technical support and expertise that drives efficiency, ensures security, and supports continuous improvement and innovation in the manufacturing industry.

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Selecting the right IT support service for your manufacturing company

Selecting the right IT support service is crucial for your manufacturing company. Here's a list of key factors to consider that will guide you in making an informed choice:

  1. Technical expertise and specialisation: Ensure the IT company has the necessary technical expertise, particularly in areas relevant to the manufacturing industry, such as infrastructure management, compliance, and industry-specific software.
  2. Advanced cyber security services: Given the prevalence of cyber attacks, the IT support service should offer advanced cyber security services. This includes proactive measures to prevent attacks and effective strategies for dealing with any breaches.
  3. Response time and support availability: Assess their response times and availability, especially in cases of technology failure or urgent issues. Reliable and prompt support is crucial to minimise downtime.
  4. Scalability and flexibility: The IT support should be scalable and flexible to adapt to your company’s growth and evolving needs. This ensures they can support you as your business and technology requirements change.
  5. Track record and client reviews: Look at their track record and client reviews to gauge their reliability and the quality of their service. Positive feedback from other companies can be a good indicator of their competence.
  6. Cost-effectiveness: Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of their services. While cost shouldn't be the only determining factor, it's important that their pricing aligns with the value they provide and fits within your budget.
  7. Compliance and industry standards: The IT support service should be well-versed in industry standards and compliance requirements relevant to the manufacturing industry, ensuring that your company adheres to necessary regulations.
  8. Proactive approach and innovation: Select a service that takes a proactive approach to IT management, offering suggestions for future improvements and staying on the cutting edge of technology trends.
  9. Communication and customer service: Good communication and customer service are essential. The support team should be approachable, responsive, and able to explain technical issues in understandable terms.

By considering these factors, you can select an IT support service that not only addresses your current needs but also positions your manufacturing company for future growth and a competitive edge.

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Does your manufacturing business encounter similar challenges? How does IT support impact your operations and team dynamics? We're eager to hear about your experiences and insights. If you're looking for a new managed IT service tailored to the manufacturing industry, our team is ready to assist. Don't hesitate to reach out for support or advice!