May 16, 2020

Disaster resilience: one-size fits all won’t do

data storage
3 min
Disaster resilience: one-size fits all won’t do

A disaster resilience strategy ensures that an organisation or facility will be able to function based on an event or failure.Here sometop tips for ma...


A disaster resilience strategy ensures that an organisation or facility will be able to function based on an event or failure. Here some top tips for making sure your organisation is fully prepared should a disaster occur.


1. Know what you need

The terms disaster recovery and disaster resilience are often mistakenly interchanged, but ultimately, in the midst of chaos surrounding lost data and facility down time, very few people will care about the definition of the terms. However, it is vital organisations develop an understanding of both before such issues arise.


For disaster recovery, businesses need to first assess the cost of downtime whilst data is recovered, who and what is required for the recovery process and how long the process will take from disaster to recovery.  For disaster resilience, businesses must assess the likely causes of the disaster, what the minimum components are for systems to still operate and how these will still be available during the disaster.


2. Make sure your plans are robust enough for a manufacturing environment

Disaster resilience plans are commonplace in corporate IT, however there is often an assumption that a solution that fits an office environment will also protect a plant environment. A recent piece of research we conducted identified that manufacturing organisations often inherit IT infrastructures specified at corporate level that are not robust enough for the plant environment. The survey also revealed that 40% of manufacturing businesses were less than confident in their organisation’s ability to get up and running again after a critical IT failure.


These worrying stats can be attributed to manufacturers being focused on developing, marketing and selling their products, and, as such, disaster resilience is often something that slips down the list of priorities – usually until something goes wrong.  We’ve heard directly from engineering, operations and IT departments that there is a clear requirement for a reliable, secure and cost-effective IT solution to replace their existing systems.


3.    Understand what’s at risk

The costs associated with a production facility grinding to a halt are high. Manufacturers will not only face the cost of productivity loss, but they may also face fines for missing contracted production quotas and shipments. Likewise, the associated cost of a workforce unable to do their jobs and the knock-on effect this will have down the supply chain can also hit manufacturers. Quality loss and production variability from before or after the downtime can also mean that energy, materials and man-hours are wasted manufacturing sub-substandard products.


4.    Ask the right questions

It is therefore vital that manufacturers consider a number of key questions when assessing their plant-specific disaster resilience plan, including: what is the maximum allowable downtime, how and where should data be stored, how quickly must data be retrieved and mounted or restored and how do you ensure your plan actually works?


The process of developing and answering these questions will help you define the solution you require.



5.    Consult the experts

It is becoming increasingly popular for organisations to utilise third parties to remotely monitor and back up systems. These services, such as SolutionPT’s Managed Platform service, offer a combination of encrypted local back-up virtualisation, off site replication and bare metal restore. Offering a complete IT system infrastructure combined with SCADA performance management and disaster resilience, Managed Platform enables manufacturers to combine performance monitoring, proactive alerting and disaster resilience to help reduce downtime, lower capital and operating costs and increase competitiveness.

Tony Mannion is the Security Expert at SolutionPT

Follow @ManufacturingGL

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Jun 8, 2021

IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery

Elise Leise
3 min
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims that while markets are rising and manufacturing is coming back, it’ll push for global immunisation

After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022

Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery. 

Lingering Concerns Over COVID

Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high. 

Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery? 

IMF: Current Boom Could Falter

Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”. 

Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”. 

Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.

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