With all of the emerging technology transforming manufacturing, supply chain, and logistics, such digitization, 3D printing or additive manufacturing, the Internet of Things, the great move to the cloud, big data, augmented reality, virtual reality, nanobots, and more, another great movement at the core of a lot of these other transformative technologies is enterprise mobility.
What is Mobility as it Applies to Manufacturing and Other Businesses?
But, what does mobility exactly mean?
When you look in the dictionary, you get the following:
the ability to move or be moved freely and easily.“this exercise helps retain mobility in the damaged joints”
synonyms: ability to move, movability“restricted mobility”
the ability to move between different levels in society or employment.“industrialization would open up increasing chances of social mobility”
synonyms: adaptability, flexibility, versatility, adjustability“mobility in the workforce”
However, we are not referencing this kind of mobility when we are talking about mobility in manufacturing and logistics. We are referencing, enterprise mobility, as defined by TechTarget’s Search Mobile Computing:
Enterprise mobility is the trend toward a shift in work habits, with more employees working out of the office and using mobile devices and cloud services to perform business tasks.
The term refers not only to mobile workers and mobile devices, but also to the mobility of corporate data. An employee may upload a corporate presentation from his or her desktop PC to a cloud storage service, then access it from a personal iPad to show at a client site, for example.
Enterprise mobility can improve employee productivity, but it also creates security risks. Enterprise mobility management products, such as data loss prevention technologies, are available to help IT departments address these risks. A strong acceptable use policy for employees can also contribute to a successful enterprise mobility strategy.
The Rise of Enterprise Mobility in Manufacturing for Process Enablement
When it comes to enterprise mobility or just mobility in manufacturing, the following insights can be gleaned from PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey:
- 81% of CEOs see mobile technologies as being strategically important for their enterprises.
- The top three technology priorities of industrial manufacturing CEOs are mobility (73%), cybersecurity (72%) and data mining and analysis (70%).
- 86% of CEOs say a clear vision of how digital technologies including mobile can create competitive advantage is key to the success of their investments.
As I read this report, something really hits me when it comes to mobility in manufacturing. It’s really the kickstarter to what will be commonplace in the coming years, the Industrial Internet of Things. This is a world where all systems are connected. Where automation happens and is expected in business processes. At Cerasis, we’ve been preaching this for years with our connect services through XML, API, and integration into ERP and WMS systems.
Salesforce.com is a perfect example of enterprise mobility. Like our transportation management system connected to an ERP, allowing manufacturers to have a better pulse on resources shipping in and out, Salesforce.com, with its Lightening Connection can take what used to be a CRM and connect to other systems, like on-boarding systems, shipping quotes for sales orders, to invoicing, and more. This connectivity, and the ability for anyone to access all those systems from one portal on their phone really speeds things up all while reducing errors. Now that’s efficiency!
Yesterday we had an infographic featuring what manufacturing leaders and others do between 8 am to 8 pm to stay successful. It spoke about automation, and enterprise mobility in manufacturing is the driving force of automation.
Enterprise Mobility Creating the “Uber” Of Manufacturing?
We have been fortunate to not only know the self-proclaimed “Uber of Manufacturing,” MakeTime, but have also had a guest blog from their founder, Drura Parrish. In that post, he talks about how the future of manufacturing is distributed. Essentially, what they are saying by distributed manufacturing, that much like how you can bring up your mobile smartphone, hit the Uber button, and call a number of cars to meet your demands of where you are and where you want to go, you can simply take a smartphone, upload a digital file, it matches you to CNC shops throughout the United States, and someone can make your designed product. This process is typically more efficiently than the traditional way of either owning your own CNC machine or finding one in your limited geographic area.
Enterprise Mobility In Manufacturing Improving Logistics and Supply Chain
Manufacturers whose business models rely on rapid inventory turns, tight production schedules and thin margins are the leading early adopters of mobile technologies for logistics and supply chain coordination. High-tech hardware manufacturers are a case in point, as are many distributors whose business models are shifting to value-added services over pick, pack and ship operations. Such mobility use could also lead to having better communication with customers on the status of shipments, as well as in receiving goods from suppliers. Finally, manufacturers soon will have logistics and supply chain application on their phone that with a touch of a button will call up the rates of carriers, pick the carrier, automated notifications to all parties are sent out to schedule the pick up and notify of that upcoming shipment, with then a GPS application with the driver that sends real-time updates. Essentially, this will allow from incoming goods to creation to shipping, to even reverse logistics, all seamless in the shippers’ hands.
Enterprise Mobility in Manufacturing Infographic
Here is a great infographic about enterprise mobility in manufacturing from xCubeLabs. The infographic showcases the adoption of mobile apps and solutions in the manufacturing industry, on how mobile is impacting every aspect of manufacturing business and help increase efficiency.