What to look for in an MSP
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IT Managed Services for Manufacturers: What to Look for in an MSP

IT Managed Services with ComTec

As your manufacturing business grows, you may be facing some growing pains that include a bloated technology stack, outdated systems and hardware, IT labor constraints, or other issues that come with growth. One of the most common challenges for manufacturers who are looking to grow their business is managing their technology. Organizations in an expansion phase face tight resources. Working with a managed service provider (MSP) frees your team from time-consuming IT tasks, enabling them to stay focused on supply chain management, production, customer satisfaction, and other revenue-generating operations. 

An MSP can also help you stand out from the crowd. While some companies are stuck with simple break-fix solutions, unpredictable IT costs, and crippling plant downtimes, organizations that partner with a managed IT service provider experience enhanced productivity and profitability. Leveraging your technology systems more effectively helps you stay more competitive and agile in a constantly changing environment.

A managed service provider can help you plan, implement, maintain, and optimize your systems to maximize your technology investment. Let’s explore the benefits of partnering with a provider, the levels of managed IT services available to choose from, and how to tailor solutions to your specific manufacturing needs. 


3 Benefits of Partnering with a Managed Services Provider

An MSP will help you bridge the gap between the evolving needs of secure, updated, and stable technology and your organizational goals. Here are three of the most significant benefits a provider can bring to your organization.


1. Mitigate IT Risks with Proactive Solutions

When it comes to maintaining compliance, technology quality, machine uptime, and client satisfaction, businesses inherently carry a lot of risk. By partnering with a managed service provider, you reduce your risk by relying on subject-matter experts and a full team of IT specialists who focus specifically on proactively addressing risks before they impact your business.

“The nice thing about ComTec is they will always jump in and help when something needs addressing,” says Joseph Faraci, EmpireEMCO controller. “They’re a highly-valued extension of our company.” 


2. Control and Predict IT and Technology Spending

Working with a managed IT service provider helps you control your costs better because, instead of building an entire team internally, you can work on a monthly or annual contract with consistent fees and transparent scopes of work. MSPs enable organizations to reduce operational costs, conserve capital budget, and lower IT operating expenses.


3. Equip Your Manufacturing Business with a Full Team of IT Professionals

Managed service providers can help small to mid-sized manufacturers level the playing field by equipping them with a full-time team of IT professionals—a luxury usually reserved for large companies. In addition to the increased quantity of IT staff on your side, you add valuable knowledge to your manufacturing operations and can leverage the expertise of your managed services provider. They live and breathe the latest technology and IT best practices that work best for manufacturers looking to accelerate growth. In addition, they stay abreast of current compliance and regulatory needs as well as system and data security requirements and tools to help minimize the risk of a breach.


Levels of IT Services Available

More experienced managed service providers will offer a wide range of service levels so that manufacturers can choose the best fit for their objectives, needs, and current infrastructure. (See an example here.) However, most manufacturers aren’t sure of exactly what they need. An experienced MSP will be able to quickly identify what level fits your business needs best.


Customizable IT Service Packages

Even though an MSP has standard “packages” to select from, at times, customization is required based on the specific needs of a company. Look for an MSP that is willing to personalize what types of services you need. ComTec, for example, can do so by combining various services into a single package that works best for your organization.

In addition to finding an MSP that can offer standard and customizable tech and IT support packages, other essential services may be needed for creating a strategic IT and tech blueprint that aligns to your specific growth objectives. Many of the manufacturers we work with don’t have a person on staff with “CIO” as their title. Instead, that responsibility tends to be filled by several individuals who all take a partial role in “keeping the lights on” in IT and, when time allows, looking into the future at what emerging technology will help them pave a smoother path to growth. This piecemeal and disjointed approach to strategic IT adds risk to the security of systems and data while also resulting in missing out on incorporating new technology to automate processes, speed production, and improve the customer experience. Missing out means falling behind, which can quickly sabotage the success of your growth initiatives.

Your managed IT services partner should offer you this critical service. Here at ComTec Solutions, we call that service Strategic Planning and CIO Services. Here’s a brief flyover of what that entails: 

ComTec will work with you to align your IT strategy with your business goals for operations, production, sales, and marketing. We start by looking at your current IT infrastructure. We use that information to create custom technology roadmaps that will help form a consistent and proactive plan. Our strategic planning services are specifically designed to positively impact your operations and your bottom line within an agreed-upon budget.

Another critical add-on service your MSP should provide is Disaster Recovery Services. This is a critical piece to the puzzle when building a resilient business model. Market uncertainty is commonplace now—we learned this from the pandemic days. Being ready for anything that might come your way in weeks, days, or overnight is critical if you want your business to survive, let alone thrive. Therefore, having a disaster recovery strategy in place is a must. Therefore, it must be on your MSP’s capabilities list.

Disaster recovery aims to protect your organization from negative forces, disruptive workflows, and permanent damage to your infrastructure. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, can damage your hardware, but other disasters—such as ransomware, malware, and cyber attacks—can be even more detrimental to your business.

ComTec Solutions’ Disaster Recovery Services, for example, addresses both physical and virtual environments, critical data, applications, and complete systems. So, when trouble hits, your business can continue with as little downtime and interruption as possible.

To set your disaster recovery strategy up right, the first step is to work with your MSP to do an in-depth business impact analysis, designed to pinpoint areas where your system is vulnerable. We’ve done this many times over with our manufacturing customers. We use the information from the analysis to implement a disaster recovery solution that will minimize productivity loss when a problem occurs. 

We hope this article helped you narrow down the key essentials needed when considering a managed IT services partner. We’d greatly value the opportunity to throw in our hat for your business as well. 

We’ve been working exclusively with manufacturers on their tech and IT needs for almost three decades. We offer both managed IT services along with ERP solution advisory and implementation services. If you’d like to connect, drop us a note

We serve all of the US, with offices in the following areas:

All work is done by US-based teams. We are a Microsoft Certified Partner, an Epicor Certified Platinum Partner, and recipient of the 2023 Epicor Global Partner of the Year award.

Other helpful info and resources:

ComTec Solutions Managed IT Services

8 Ways Manufacturers Can Quickly Reduce Unnecessary Technology Bloat

How to Keep Support Tickets from Falling into the “No Resolution” Abyss

ComTec Solutions Named One of the Top 100 Vertical Market MSPs by ChannelE2E for 2023