IT in Manufacturing

Technology and data can be used to assist businesses in streamlining their manufacturing processes.
Ivy Simon
Editorial Writer
Technology and data can be used to assist businesses in streamlining their manufacturing processes.

Any business actively engaged in the manufacturing sector, from huge MNCs to smaller businesses, needs the support of a specialised IT department to ensure that their operations continue to function smoothly.

IT is critical for enabling “just in time” manufacturing processes and optimizing inventory, both of which are key to increasing a manufacturer’s efficiency, cutting expenses and streamlining their supply chains. It is also crucial in helping manufacturers improve output – especially as manufacturing becomes increasingly automated and modern production line machines produce huge amounts of data that need to be analysed, acted upon, and archived.

Career overview

IT roles in manufacturing typically require graduates with skills in areas such as software engineering, network engineering, software development, and computer science. The core responsibilities of an IT professional in this field may include quality control, developing and maintaining software for computer-aided design and manufacturing, as well as data sensing and logging.

New hires frequently begin with technical tasks that involve maintenance and problem-solving for operational systems or IT networks that are used on a daily basis. You will usually be assigned to a dedicated team, where senior members will provide on-the-job training for the (usually purpose-built) systems you will be working with.

In order to advance your career, you can choose to specialise in a particular technical area in this line of work through postgraduate study or professional certification. Conversely, graduates can aim for managerial positions and concentrate on tasks related to broader systems planning, quality control, and monitoring.

Trends and developments

Roles in this industry can be extremely specialised due to the different types of processes and equipment used by each particular organisation. An IT expert at an oil and gas company, for example, may find it challenging to transition to the pharmaceutical industry because the industrial processes involved there are extremely different.

However, if you do eventually specialise in a certain area of manufacturing IT, an alternative career path could be to work as an external tech consultant for various manufacturing companies. Manufacturers will bring in specialists from the IT sector if such skills are required for specific projects. 

Malaysia has a highly specialised, modern manufacturing sector. Electrical Products and Electronics (E&E), accounted for 34.4 percent of the country's overall manufacturing output in 2021. Locally manufactured Machinery and Equipment (M&E) makes up four percent (USD 11.6 billion) of our national exports, and 85 percent of these manufacturers are SMEs. 

Lastly, due to our huge oil and gas reserves and petrochemical feedstock, more than 10 percent of Malaysia's overall exports are made up of chemical and petrochemical products. This is another key area of local manufacturing in need of IT talent.

Pros and cons

Working with cutting-edge technology

Fresh hires may get the chance to work with cutting-edge technology depending on the size and industry of the manufacturer. For instance, major organisations are generally more ready to spend money on the most recent IT infrastructure and systems to ease challenging supply chain procedures and processes.


Working in this sector has its challenges, including the tension graduates might experience when networks or systems suddenly fail. All-nighters may be required to bring the systems back online as quickly as possible because system failure can have a significant impact on supply chain functions and manufacturing output.

Required skills

  • Awareness of ongoing trends
  • Business and commercial awareness
  • Ability to multitask
  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Organisational skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • An eye for detail