By: Alan Mindlin, Technical Manager at Morey

The cloud continues to catch on in a big way.

After topping $150 billion in 2017, the cloud computing market could be worth more than $300 billion by 2021. And product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions are part of the reason why. Manufacturers across a wide range of industries – including auto and construction – are pushing PLM to the cloud.

Wondering what’s behind the surge? Look no further than the benefits cloud computing brings to the table. From ramping up efficiency to improving communication with suppliers, cloud-based PLM solutions promise to make a positive impact across a wide variety of industries.

Introducing extra efficiency for automakers

Competition within the automotive industry is nothing short of stiff. Over the course of a 15-year period – from 2000 to 2015 – the number of car models offered worldwide increased nearly 50 percent. During that same time, 22 percent more original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) entered the market. Couple that with diminishing sales in mature markets such as Europe and North America, and it shows auto manufacturers are in for a challenge.

That’s where cloud-based PLM solutions provide some much-needed support.

Although market share may be hard to come by, that doesn’t mean manufacturers have to settle for fewer profits. By leveraging the power of cloud computing, auto manufacturers can work more efficiently than ever before. Servers that once facilitated product development by housing useful data can now give way to cloud computing services that cost less up front and save precious resources on the backend.

Better yet, the flexibility of cloud computing helps ensure manufacturers aren’t paying for anything they don’t truly need. Instead of agreeing to a set price, manufacturers have the luxury of accessing additional computing power or dialing back consumption. This uptick in efficiency can go a long way toward helping manufacturers keep pace with the auto industry’s increasingly competitive prices.

Opening up access in construction

When it comes to product development, collaboration is crucial. That’s why a number of manufacturers are turning to the cloud. In fact, six out of 10 construction businesses that use or plan to use cloud-based platforms are doing so to access information anytime, anywhere.

All too often, teams scattered across the country have trouble getting their hands on valuable emails, documents and bills of materials. With cloud-based PLM solutions, that’s changing. No matter the device or operating system, cloud computing enables construction manufacturers to access and share information using a secure internet connection.

More data to make better decisions

The added ease and simplicity not only makes for a more efficient collaboration process, but it also paves the way for an enhanced understanding of product usage throughout its lifecycle. By storing engine, vehicle and driver data throughout the cloud, endpoints embedded within vehicles stand to deliver plenty of insights to the automotive industry.

If, for example, there are concerns over the durability of a particular vehicle, a predictive maintenance strategy can be implemented using data that’s collected through various endpoints. As far as driver or vehicle performance goes, data within the cloud can once again shed light on the situation. Whether it’s identifying areas for improvement or tracking driver location, there are more than a few ways data can help paint a clearer picture of what’s really going on.

Likewise, in the construction industry, data collected from job sites, finished structures, and surrounding environments through a multitude of sensors can feed design and performance data back to the architects and builders. Sensors could cover light, temperature, humidity, occupancy, electrical usage and other important decision data to support maintenance, operations and new projects.

Improved access to that same data can even usher in better ideas. Rather than devoting time and attention toward circulating access to product drawings, information and design data, construction manufacturers can instead focus on innovation. Concepts that were once shared with just a few partners can be quickly distributed across an entire network of colleagues. The result? More feedback to help shape future design iterations.

Keeping green energy data safe

Waste generation continues to create plenty of concern among manufacturers within the green energy industry. Approximately 1.3 billion tons of solid waste were created in 2012. By 2025, that number could jump to 2.2 billion tons. To ensure things don’t keep trending in the same direction, manufacturers must collect and analyze data more efficiently than ever before. Luckily, cloud-based PLM solutions help do just that.

By tapping into the computing power of a hosted infrastructure network, cloud solutions have the potential to increase the efficiency at which data is processed. Perhaps even more importantly, such data will be better protected against hardware failure as well as theft. With the support of third-party service providers, manufacturers won’t have to worry about creating backups or implementing updates. Data that was once lost can instead be used to better inform decision making around the PLM process.

Much has been made of the cloud in recent years. While headlines aren’t always indicative of real business results, the cloud continues to prove its worth. In the automotive industry, a flood of new competitors along with declining demand has set the stage for a saturated market. Manufacturers who make the most of cloud-based PLM solutions stand to achieve the efficiency and flexibility that will give them a leg up on the competition.

In the same way automotive manufacturers have plenty to gain from the cloud, those in the construction industry can leverage such technology to drive collaboration – and ultimately create superior designs. As far as green energy goes, a steady rise in efficiency brought about by the cloud can help combat concerns surrounding waste creation and management.

Although the three industries outlined above each present unique needs, cloud-based PLM solutions are up to the challenge. That same versatility will prove valuable as manufacturers from other industries aim to take advantage of such solutions.

Pushing PLM to the Cloud, Industry TodayAbout the author
Alan Mindlin is a Technical Manager at Morey, focusing on new business development and new customer acquisition. He does so by leading strong product design teams, creating state-of-the-art solutions and using best-in-class manufacturing facilities.

Alan has nearly 40 years of engineering expertise, having worked with Bell Laboratories in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and as a consultant for startups. He also has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in marketing and operations from Washington University in St. Louis, as well as a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University.

Previous articleElectronics Manufacturers Can’t Compete without Mexico
Next articleStreamlining the Procurement Process