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Published on 2018-07-24

The complex nature of operations management leaves manufacturing industry communication especially vulnerable to data security breaches.

By Alexandra Zamolo

The manufacturing industry is unfortunately a primary target for hackers who are looking to essentially steal a company’s intellectual property and use that intel to gain or maintain a competitive edge. While the risk of cyber attacks on operations that rely on digital technology is naturally top-of-mind as the manufacturing industry increasingly digitizes operations, the internal communication channels your workforce navigates are just as much a priority when it comes to company data security.

Combatting the rising threat of data security breaches for manufacturers across the globe requires secure internal communication channels built for streamlined operations management. To address top manufacturing industry concerns regarding workplace safety, real-time communication with highly-dispersed workforces, and internal communications data security, companies should consider a secure communication app.

Among the myriad benefits, chief among them is the ability to securely centralize and distribute key operations-related documents while ensuring need-to-know information reaches workers quickly in both office and plant floor settings.

Below are ways that a digital communication app can alleviate manufacturing industry data security concerns while successfully connecting your dispersed workforce.

Improve Workplace and Plant Safety

As operations become increasingly digitized and connected, aside from data security vulnerabilities, improving upon safety measures remains critical to the manufacturing workplace. Using a communication app, the latest compliance checklists can be easily circulated to on-site manufacturing teams in advance of regularly-scheduled safety inspections. Digital signage allows companies to stream this information directly from the communication app to monitors on the plant floor so your workforce has access to the same up-to-the-minute alerts, product notifications, and equipment updates.

For workers with access to a mobile device, confirmation campaigns can ensure crucial information, such as a compliance checklist, reaches them in real time. Confirmation campaigns require recipients to confirm receiving the message, which triggers an automatic read receipt––saving time for both manufacturing managers and frontline workers who can read and respond at their convenience.

Reach Dispersed Manufacturing Workforces

Depending on the size and scope of your manufacturing operations, different components such as plants, quarries, offices, and work sites need to be consistently and adequately connected. This is where another core benefit of a communication app comes in: mobile access. For teams that spend a large portion of time at various job sites throughout their workday or week, it can be challenging to feel as connected to the company as office-based or plant-centric colleagues. A communication app provides mobile accessibility and employee engagement, making both company-wide announcements and regionally-specific notices that impact working conditions, such as weather-related notices, available where your workforce is.

Secure, Digital Operations Management

Operations management in the manufacturing sector involves a complex network of documents that need to be accessible across locations, time zones, and departments, such as:

  • HR training materials
  • Workplace safety information, such as evacuation maps and other emergency protocols and procedures
  • Benefits information and enrollment deadlines
  • Production specifications
  • Employee information and resources for new hires
  • Incident report forms
  • Operations and equipment manuals

With such a variety of sensitive information, a centralized hub that doesn’t compromise workforce and company data security is an absolute necessity. Whether uploading and hosting these documents directly within a digital platform, or integrating with existing LMS, payroll, or intranet systems, a communication app with the right security certifications in place can meet the criteria of a secure yet digital solution.

The following data security measures should be in place when researching and selecting a communication app for your manufacturing workforce to avoid data security issues:

  1. ISO 27001:2013 certification which recognizes adherence to internationally-recognized data security best practices
  2. Data protection in the form of certified data centers that also maintain ISO 27001:2013 standards
  3. Full encryption of mobile app or web-based data in-transit and at rest
  4. GDPR regulation compliant, which is especially important if parts of your manufacturing operations occur in different countries with different regulatory requirements in this regard.

By applying the same due diligence to the data security of your workforce’s communication channels as you would to other aspects of your manufacturing business, you can better avoid data security breaches that might result from an unsecure internal communication solution.

Alexandra Zamolo is a master storyteller, brand marketeer, and idiom enthusiast. As Beekeeper’s Content Marketing Manager, she provides insightful content to help educate non-desk workforces about internal communication, employee engagement, AI, cybersecurity, and other challenges facing the hospitality, retail, and manufacturing industries. 



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