Industry and technology often go hand in hand. Whether it is using advanced robotics, flow computers, or communications systems, performing regular system updates is likely part of the manufacturer’s recommendations. Even though these steps are important, many businesses put off these system updates due to the inconvenience they can cause. But failing to take part in these basic requirements can lead to significant issues or even catastrophic failures. So, before you put off that system update for just one more day, here is an overview of why taking the time to keep your systems up-to-date is always in your best interest.
Various computer-based systems, including flow computers, are designed to collect and analyze various kinds of data to manage operations. This data can be related to ensuring operational accuracy as well as monitoring for trends over time. But failing to keep systems up-to-date can lead to issues in accuracy, which can spell trouble for any industrial business.
For example, inaccurate flow computer data will lead to incorrect measurements in key business areas like the output of a specific fluid. Over time, even small errors add up, creating long-term results that differ greatly from the actual output of the product. If the flow computer is not properly set up and managed, it could be the primary source of the fault.
However, systems that tied into the computer, such as the flow meters themselves, can also provide faulty data. This can include failing to properly calibrate your flowmeters to ensure accurate readings. If the flowmeter isn’t calculating outputs properly since the calibration has been updated, it will feed faulty data into the flow computer and lead to inaccuracies that can impact business is a significant way.
Any system that is connected to a larger company network with access to external resources, such as the internet, also need regular system updates in regards to security. Any computer that is connected to the internet can be vulnerable to outside attacks or corruption, should a virus make its way into the system. One of the simplest defenses against malicious code is through the use of antivirus and antimalware software, but the software is only as secure as its last update.
Most computer-based security software solutions provide general updates on a regular schedule, allowing them to be scheduled at a time that is most convenient for your business, including outside of traditional working hours. However, many critical updates, such as defense against the latest major virus, are released as soon as they are available. While you can choose to wait until the next scheduled update to implement the solution, this can put your systems at risk if the malware is particularly widespread. In this regarding making sure your systems are up-to-date as soon as possible, ensures you have the latest and strongest protection available as quickly as possible.
In some cases, keeping your system up-to-date requires an investment in newer technology. While replacing any existing system with a newer version can be costly and time-consuming, this may be offset by savings resulting in increased efficiency.
For example, if a new piece of industrial manufacturing equipment can significantly decrease energy requirements or the amount of wasted product that results from the standard production process, you will see savings in the corresponding area. Over time, these savings can outweigh the expense associated with installing and integrating the new equipment, making it a wise investment in the long-term.
It is situations such as the one mentioned above that make it critical to look at how an up-to-date system impacts expenses aside from the purchase price. By choosing the right system updates, you can actually see increased profits when the big picture is taken into account.
Preparing for System Updates
Most system updates require preparation on the part of the business, regardless of whether they are software or equipment oriented. Typically, an update will take a system or portion of a process offline for a specific period of time. This can include the time required to download a software patch or time required to install new equipment.
During the time of the update, certain company operations will likely be unavailable. In most cases, this makes performing updates during off-hours an ideal solution. However, some businesses run 24/7, meaning there is no downtime of which to take advantage. In cases such as these, additional work will be required to decide when an update is ideal.
When an update relates to security or inaccuracy, making the change as quickly as possible is wise. This ensures everything is running safely and properly, keeping the business functioning at an optimal level without any unnecessary risk. Equipment upgrades may not be as critical, allowing them to be managed at a point when business may be slower, such as is the case with companies that see seasonal demand fluctuations.
Regardless of the kind of update, the first step is always to coordinate with the team of employees that will actually perform the work. This allows them to gather the information they need to ensure they can perform the update successfully. Once a plan is created, formal support from management is likely required to make sure those responsible for overseeing operations are aware of the need, as well as how implementing the solution will work. Finally, affected employees need to understand if they will be unable to complete their duties for the time while the update is being implemented as well as if any of the systems will operate differently upon completion. After those steps are completed, the update can be formally scheduled and completed.
Updates are Essential
In the end, keeping your system up-to-date is often essential for good business. It makes sure everything is running properly and limits any unnecessary risk. By staying on top of the update cycle, you can actually streamline the process and make it part of your regular operating procedures. Ultimately, this lets what can be an inconvenience feel like a commonplace event, helping business move forward in the safest, securest, and most efficient way possible.