Mobile Solutions for the Manufacturing Industry

05 Jun, 2015
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With constant innovation in mobile technology, the face of manufacturing industry is changing drastically, in the areas of product refinement and process re-engineering. The manufacturing industry, just like all the others, is facing tremendous pressure from customers, suppliers and competitors to optimize outcome, deliver better quality, and maintain competitive costs.

In order to have a competitive advantage and generate better value for customers, suppliers and all stakeholders involved, it is important that business owners stay on top of  industry trends. Given that, mobilization of enterprises is at an all time high, mobility is more than just a trend now. Enterprise mobility is causing a major shift in the way business is done and disrupting the manufacturing industry, to make it more agile, responsive and lean. There is a dire need to upgrade legacy systems to meet current customer demands and also make them compatible to integrate and work with mobile apps.

Mobile solutions play an integral role in various aspects of the manufacturing cycle, starting right from the gathering of raw materials, supply chain management, shipping logistics and the delivery of the final product. Check out below the different ways global manufacturing organizations can implement enterprise mobility as a strategic initiative.

  • Expanding the enterprise support system and improving resource planning
  • Eliminating unnecessary paperwork
  • Better streamlining of manufacturing processes
  • Providing convenience to the customer, resulting in better customer satisfaction
  • Driving costs down by improving asset utilization
  • Minimizing errors by offering accurate data, which directly results in customer satisfaction
  • Reducing uncertain downtime
  • Creating better business value by gathering customer feedback reports and implementing upgrades
  • Automating all the organizational operations through enterprise mobility resulting in  highly accurate, real-time updates, thereby enabling the manufacturing company to better organize and manage their inventory, and eliminating production downtime
  • Providing easy and quick access to critical information means that the organization can significantly reduce the average cycle times and observe variances. When cycle times are reduced, they have a positive  impact on the cost structure

Let’s explore a few opportunities for mobility in manufacturing that have already been implemented at several organizations. At every stage of the manufacturing process, mobility can play a vital role in maximizing throughput:

1.)   Procurement:

  • Recording the profile of the supplier
  • Tracking the status of the raw material procurement
  • Set up alerts and notifications about shipments and deliveries
  • Generate reports that will have a glimpse of timely deliveries, delayed deliveries, quality of the raw materials and various other details that are important to the company

2.)   Product development:

  • During the phase of product development, getting project status updates and notifications is highly valuable
  • If any modifications need to be made, this can be communicated via the mobile device as real-time updates
  • Approval or rejection can also be done through mobile, reducing cycle times

3.)   Supply chain management:

  • Supply chain management is an intricately balanced process which can greatly benefit from the suaveness of a mobile app, in terms of inventory management and integrating with mobile ERP
  • Setting up alerts and notifications for receipt acknowledgement and approval can be a great way to optimize processes

4.)   Operations:

  • Enterprise mobility can play a vital role in plant operations and management, by enabling automated or manual real time alerts and notifications
  • Mobile can also be implemented to generate various reports such as those for quality control, as well as for asset tracking

While these are definitely not early days for mobile in manufacturing, there is still way more scope to explore and rethink the way mobile is being adopted in the industry. Although, enterprise mobility does raise several security concerns around the sharing of data the potential it bears far outweighs the security concerns, which can be dealt it by implementing a robust strategy. Now more than ever, it has become beyond crucial for manufacturing companies to start opening themselves up to new possibilities, new ways and new ideas to integrate mobility into their IT processes and logistics. This will give them a head startinto a brand new era of boundless engagement opportunities, with customers, suppliers as well as their own workforce.

Steven ten Napel, CEO
Steven is a co-founder and CEO of coMakeIT. He has extensive experience in setting up and managing large scale, distributed development centers for global technology companies across Europe, North America, and India

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