One of the biggest questions in manufacturing at the moment is what does the Fourth Industrial Revolution really mean for the industry and how can it benefit day-to-day operations.
It’s clear that the benefits to be gained from implementing industry 4.0 technology, such as improved efficiency, productivity and the ability to make more informed decision are significant.
To gain a competitive advantage, manufacturers must now be continually looking at ways to update outdated systems to allow them to meet new and emerging business challenges or risk being left behind. This is a main factor driving initiatives such as SCADA migration planning.
Do you want the profitability of your operations to hinge on software that should’ve been upgraded several versions ago?
One of the most common reasons for not upgrading a SCADA system include a perceived lack of return on investment, with the costs and disruption incurred through purchasing new licenses and staff training. Those who maintain the view of ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ don’t always see the value in upgrades when everything is working fine.
It can be challenging to justify the risk and expense of upgrading SCADA systems, but the Industrial Internet of Things and Smart Manufacturing are changing the way we do business and driving evolution that if not embraced could leave you struggling to keep up.
Plus, the reality is that regular upgrades to your SCADA system may actually end up saving you time, resources, and money.
So why should you upgrade?
1. Cost of maintenance for obsolete systems is one good reason.
Once systems reach their end of life, support and warranties are no longer available. This lack of support will mean that during equipment failures, downtime will be lengthier.
The cost of spare or replacement parts also increases, potentially beyond what it would have cost to have upgraded to an up-to-date system with full support in the first place.
With SCADA systems being so critical within manufacturing operations it makes sense to stay up-to-date to avoid these pitfalls and reduce the risk of unplanned downtime.
2. One of the biggest errors that manufacturing managers make is not calculating the true cost of downtime.
Remember that five minutes here and there adds up, with a new study finding that the impact of machine downtime is costing Britain’s manufacturers more than £180bn every year.
By upgrading you’ll also be gaining the added benefit of having full support available should anything go wrong, so issues get resolved quicker and you’ll have access to all the latest upgrades, features and security updates, actually meaning an overall reduced total cost of ownership.
3. Whilst mentioning security updates, this is by far one of the biggest drivers to upgrade.
With the startling increase in security attacks against SCADA systems over the past few years, the risks of running obsolete systems is ever increasing.
Up-to-date and supported systems will ensure you always receive the latest Cybersecurity and IT compliance updates to keep your defenses up against attacks.
4. Then there’s the competitive advantage to be gained from access to the latest technological developments and new innovative features.
The ability to easily view your system data from any device; enhanced situational awareness making it easier to detect Abnormal Situations and improve decision making; and the ability to quickly and simply scale your SCADA system to include new devices and plants.
Plus, with many industrial environments beginning to digitise their processes, having a system that can interact with the ever-evolving world of computing device is key.
These are just some of the benefits to be realised, which should be seriously considered when evaluating current SCADA systems and deciding whether or not to upgrade.
With full support available to help you move along the migration path, it needn’t be as daunting to upgrade as you might think and the benefits to be gained, and overall reduced cost of ownership by doing so, is something not to be swept under the carpet in these increasingly evolving times.