As businesses around the globe eagerly await the New Year, U.S. manufacturers continue to look for ways to improve output and find new growth opportunities. Uncertainty remains throughout the year, however, as manufacturers are at continued risk for disruption. The COVID-19 Pandemic has stirred the pot and companies are resorting to digitalization (or digital transformation as defined by the media) to manage their critical assets.

In 2019, a Deloitte study predicted the U.S. manufacturing industry would likely surpass growth expectations for two consecutive years - a thought that would later be disproven by the unforeseeable pandemic. In addition, the historically tight labor market has been placing limitations on the industry’s momentum, making growth difficult without the aid of automated solutions. Regardless, innovations in U.S. manufacturing have fostered feelings of optimism amongst manufacturers and stakeholders that would later be diminished by the spread of the virus.

Many speculate manufacturers have resorted to digitalization to combat the negative effects of the pandemic on production, while in reality, digitalization has been a long-term goal. Digitalization is the process of converting diverse forms of information, such as text, sound, image, or voice into a digitalized format. Its benefits can be enjoyed by telecommuters as well as on-site workers and can be used to increase the efficiency and accuracy of information retrieval.

Given the volatility of the demand cycles this year, many companies have geared their focus towards implementing Cloud software. The need to become flexible and responsive becomes apparent in times like these, and with virtually unlimited storage capabilities, Cloud software offers flexible solutions for companies looking to meet stringent production requirements and unfettered access from anywhere.

Cloud systems allow workers to access company information remotely, opening up a wide array of opportunities. With a remote workforce in play, staffing becomes easier, as organizations can choose from a larger pool of workers across the country.

Across all verticals, value creation and cost-savings are the primary forces driving document digitalization. Cloud solutions eliminate costs by reducing the number of IT staff and server requirements, and can even reduce the need for office space by promoting an entirely digital work environment.

While there is a lot of skepticism regarding the security strategies of Cloud document management systems and their ability to withstand sophisticated cyberattacks.  When it comes to Cloud storage and document management, it's important companies don’t blindly assume a Cloud service provider is going to be able to provide the level of security needed to adequately protect their intellectual property.

Companies looking to protect their IP should trust reputable Cloud service providers who use leading-edge technology to safely manage and secure files. In addition, security measures such as multifactor authentication and in-software access control can be used to help mitigate the threat of losing control of valuable files and IP.

There are several common types of Cloud services in use today. Document management systems (DMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and product lifecycle management (PLM) are just a few of the systems employed by manufacturers today, which typically follow the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model.

The SaaS model is a software distribution model through which applications are made accessible over a network, typically the Internet. Cloud document management systems such as ImageSite and Engine-Box utilize the SaaS model to provide affordable software solutions to companies who need it. The SaaS model also gives companies the ability to reduce costs by providing users with access to the features they need, for the period of usage they need, without tacking on unnecessary costs.

Regardless of the uncertainty this year has brought, manufacturing companies can look forward to what the New Year brings, as they continue to make the transition to complete digitalization. Cloud document management solutions, like eQuorum’s ImageSite and Engine-Box solutions, will be more advantageous to manufacturers as their employees are working from home, and as they manage these remote workforces securely and with confidence.

If you want to learn more about eQuorum’s Cloud document management solutions, click here.