The questions below from the experts at Matrix Integration will help CEOs, owners, and other manufacturing leaders stay ahead of key issues — from strategy and efficiency to security and disaster recovery.

  1. Is our IT system aligned with our current business strategy to manufacture products with improved quality, functionality, and reduced time to market?

Because technology is so integral to manufacturing and logistics today, it’s essential for leaders to discuss business strategy with the IT team to ensure that hardware, software, and the integration of the two are supporting those initiatives.

  1. Can using our own data help us get our products faster to market, allow for more informed decisions, and give us a competitive advantage?

This question gets to the issue of leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Most companies have been collecting data for years. Can it be analyzed quickly, or does it take weeks or months? Are systems automated to continuously improve efficiency based on data?

  1. Are we getting the maximum capacity out of our existing software?

Often in the race to implement software and technology, systems don’t “play nice” with one another. In addition, companies don’t always utilize software to its full potential. Leaders can work with others in the business, along with the IT team, to pinpoint bottlenecks and work on improving the overall experience of their internal and external software and processes.

  1. What kind of visibility do we have into our system?

A recent survey conducted by Symantec Corp. noted a 600% increase in the number of attacks against IoT devices — and IoT is just one piece of an increasingly complex manufacturing IT network. In the past, it could be difficult to get a quick snapshot of who’s on the network and what they’re doing. However, modern security infrastructure and software can now provide visibility and make this process as simple as checking a single screen to get an overview of network security. 

  1. How are we protecting our data?

When a data center goes down, it’s a crisis for any company. For manufacturing and logistics, downtime can mean major lost revenue and fines. Whether data is housed on local servers or offsite in the cloud, the IT team needs to be able to walk leaders through the case of a major outage, whether it’s a power outage, a failed network server, or a malicious cyberattack.

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