A recent study by tech leader CDW revealed that 80% of all employees now bring a smartphone to work – and most use one or more apps to improve productivity and performance. Mobile technology has been embraced by many industries, from healthcare to transportation, but manufacturing has been slow to recognize the benefits of the technology.
With employees at all levels becoming more tech savvy than ever – and already choosing to own a mobile device or two, embracing this emerging technology has never been easier. Recent improvements to network security and affordable applications make mobile more accessible than ever before for the manufacturing industry.
Further, hot off the presses from the Catavolt blog, in their most recent post, “Enhance Manufacturing Operations Management with Mobility” they state the following:
As manufacturing operations management (MOM) projects become more complex to manage, making sure the technology is able to form concept to operation to maximize a company’s return on investment and tackle any issues that could affect productivity and efficiency. Manufacturing operations management systems can be used to consolidate real-time manufacturing data and turn it into actionable information for the entire business organization. How so? By incorporating mobile apps into the MOM strategy.
The following post is a continuation of our ongoing blog series talking about mobility, connectedness, and the internet of things as it applies to manufacturing. You can see our earlier posts in this series with Catavolt, who helps manufacturing organizations drive operational excellence with mobile apps.
By its very nature, a mobile app is designed for portable, on the go use. The right mobile applications can eliminate the need to return to a single fixed point to receive information, review a checklist or fulfill an order. Using a tablet frees your workers to conduct quality checks, alert you of problems and instantly update the status of a particular job order or piece of machinery.
Mobile data helps management too; the ability to consult a tablet or device to see the status of jobs, access customer or order documents or even check the maintenance schedules, schematics and procedures while on the go boosts productivity and efficiency, giving great arguments to the mobility in manufacturing movement. The ability to quickly update the status of a project or discuss it in real time without having to break to meet is a productivity booster as well. Mobile may allow managers to be more proactive and present in the field as well, since the need to be tied to one location is drastically reduced by this technology.
Instead of predicting problems and outcomes based on previous performance or on trends, the ability to learn about an issue while there is still time to correct it is vital. Instead of learning about errors, malfunctions or other problems after the fact, your management team and troubleshooting staff have the ability to be instantly alerted of issues in real time.
True situational awareness can decrease your reaction time, and increase your positive outcomes. Being able to instantly assess an issue while in the field can allow planners and the management team to act instead of react and may improve your outcomes and customer relationships as well.
Mobile is more than just tablets; wearable tech trends are also a part of the mobility in manufacturing movement and continue to provide better safety options for operators and for those working a line, picking orders or managing inventory. Inroads into fitness and health monitoring allow for mobile alerts when an employee is overheated – or too cold – and can trigger an immediate change in environment. For those in cold climates, wearables can help prevent frostbite or stress injuries; workers in hotter climates can benefit from modulation in temperature and humidity as well.
Do you know where your fleet is – and where your workers are? GPS locations in real time allow you assess your logistics and determine where you are losing time or being inefficient in your freight management tasks. Instant updates allow team leaders to check the status of any order at any time, or to instantly locate raw materials and goods arriving. For companies with an active outside sales staff, the ability to both check inventory and input sales on the go improves efficiency tremendously and can boost customer relationships as well.
Choosing mobile tablets can lead to better stewardship; workers respond well to this current and easy to understand technology and will be more likely to use it. Instead of returning to a stationary workstation repeatedly throughout the day, the ability to perform tasks on the go is an appealing option for most workers. The traditional learning curve required when introducing new technology, systems or processes is greatly reduced; a workforce that has already embraced mobility in manufacturing is already well acquainted with how to use and operate a device.
The tablets used for most manufacturing friendly applications are available at a consumer level and in many cases, more affordable than their stationary predecessors. Consumer tablets and devices pack a lot of power into a small mobile package – and are easily protected with heavy duty cases and screen guards.
As companies begin to embrace mobility in manufacturing to support an active sales staff, to manage data more effectively and to increase productivity, collaboration and innovation naturally improves. The reduction of employee stress, improved relationships and boosted productivity are some of the biggest benefits an organization can reap when making the switch to mobile. To learn more about mobile and the manufacturing workplace, contact us or follow our blog for the latest industry news.
How are you embracing the mobility in manufacturing movement? Let us know in the comments section below!
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