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Old Technology is Hurting Productivity in Illinois Manufacturing Plants

In today’s world, technology is constantly changing and evolving. For manufacturers, it is important to keep up to date with the latest technology in order to remain competitive. Unfortunately, many manufacturers are still using old technology which leads to increased downtime that greatly affects productivity and profitability. The return on investment with new technology will make a significant impact on the bottom line. Therefore, it is important for Controllers, CEOs, CFOs, and Plant Managers to understand the impact of old technology on their manufacturing plants and to take steps to ensure that their plants are using the most current and reliable technology available.

How Old Technology Causes Downtime

Downtime is a major problem for manufacturers because it leads to lost production time and decreased profits. When machines break down or computers crash, it takes time to fix the problem and get the machines running again. This lost production time can be costly, as it can mean missed deadlines and lost orders. Just like any other machines on the factory floor, even simple workstations are now necessities for manufacturing as they are used both in the office and on the line, and they require the same amount of care as any forklift or production machine to maintain consistent productivity. These days, most workstations talk directly to online portals and other online systems for financial reporting, ERP integration, OEM communications, and more. Running outdated software and workstations create communication issues between your workstations and these newer systems because these cloud-based systems are constantly being updated to improve performance, security, and enhance features. The more outdated you let your systems become, the more you increase the chances of communication issues between the new technology and your older systems.

Utilizing Technology to Retain Staff

In addition, downtime can lead to employee frustration, as they are unable to do their jobs properly when machines are not working correctly. Downtime and slow operations can hurt not only the organization by losing staff, but it can hurt your staff’s pockets due to inconsistent scheduling. 85% of manufacturing staff agree that unpredictable work scheduling negatively affects their overall well-being. Luckily, technology can play a large part in the retention and recruiting of your staff. For one, incorporating and updating your technology infrastructure can raise productivity by up to 25% by limiting the amount of time wasted on machine stoppage, human error, and insufficient product quality, making your staff’s job easier. Additionally, updated technology allows your workforce to have an easier user experience, which means less time and frustration spent on trying to solve technology problems—a task that your team did not sign up for in the first place. Another retainment factor is the level of support you are offering your team. This benefit increases exponentially when you have an IT firm that is dedicated to quickly solving your workforce’s technology problems. As technology has become more integrated into the manufacturing industry, it is important to give your staff a ground level of cybersecurity and technical training on things like Microsoft 365, which includes Teams, Outlook, Excel, Word, and OneNote. This benefit heightens when you partner with a proven I.T. provider that gives your team plenty of staff training opportunities to inform them on how to work with their technology both safely and effectively.

Investment in New Technology Pays for Itself

Investing in new technology can be costly, but the return on investment is significant. Newer computers, workstations, laptops, switches, and servers are faster and more reliable than older models. This means that employees can work more efficiently, saving time and money. Imagine saving an employee just 10 minutes a day (very conservative number) by being able to open programs faster or by eliminating annoying technical issues. Ten minutes a day adds up to more than a week of saved time over the course of a year. You probably just paid for a new workstation in year one, so imagine the savings over the course of 5 years.

Old Technology is like an Open Door for Hackers

Another danger of using outdated technology is that it can make your manufacturing operation more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Outdated computers, servers and firewalls are not as secure as newer models, which means that hackers may be able to gain access to your network more easily. This can lead to a loss of data or a complete shutdown of your operations. Workstations running older versions of Microsoft Windows and older software are incapable of receiving the newest vital patches, or security updates that are necessary to keep hackers out of your network. Not being able to apply these types of critical updates opens not only your organization’s confidential information to hackers, but potentially your clients too. In Conclusion You can take big steps in upgrading your technology, securing your network, and retaining staff if you are working to ensure that all equipment is current and up to date. You can take this off your plate by having a managed I.T. provider that is truly a partner for you. They should be focused on what you need to help move your organization forward while remaining within your budget and balancing your timetable with the ever-changing state of technology.

 About the Author: Cohen Barnes is the CEO at Sundog and can be reached at

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