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The manufacturing industry is held as a relic of past glory, on the path to be dethroned by the new industrial forces of digital revolution. According to an IDC report, the number of mobile apps will double and IT spending on mobility will peak to 50% of enterprise IT budgets in 2018. The early adoption of digital technologies can set in motion rapid improvement in employee productivity and efficiency.
A few years back, the major stakeholders in the manufacturing industry viz. floor workforce, sales team, and management were functioning as isolated silos. The flow of information was manual, thereby introducing layers of inefficiencies in the systems. The sales committed to a stock which, unbeknownst to them, was just sold; the management had no real-time data of the production; the customers had no grip on delivery-related progress, and were forced to blindly rely on the data that was fed.
This wall of confusion has been broken by the forces of digital technology, notably mobility in tandem with others. However, the evolution had to pass through various stages, concurrent to the advancement of technology. It was kick-started by information-delivering mobile applications. With mobile applications, floor staff has access to a central repository where all the data resided; they can access email from the floor. But the rapid strides achieved in the outside world, where collaborative technology reigned, made its way into the manufacturing world too. It was only after the digital wave stormed the world, that digitally-transformed systems could achieve complete mobile integration.
Improving Manufacturing Business with Mobility
Real-time inputting of data by floor workforce gives the entire enterprise a single view of data that accurately depicts the ground reality. The real-time inventory status improves workforce productivity, intra-team coordination, and helps the management understand the current scenario promptly, enabling them to take proactive decisions.
Information is the greatest tool and Achilles heel of the sales team. Dated information can put them and the company in highly embarrassing situations. In parallel, inability to follow-up on a hot lead with proper, timely data can cost the project. Immediately following a trade-show where a customer evinced interest, a detailed quote replete with last-mile delivery details could significantly improve the probability of sealing the deal.
In today’s digital world, sales can update the customer on project progress constantly. To up the ante, some companies have gone to the extent of offering customers custom apps that give them a real-time status of production; these apps cannot be tampered with, thereby enhancing the credibility levels of the information.
With continuous access to the digital trail of movement in the production, management is totally-aware of the floor scenario. It helps them in real-time monitoring of logistics and supply chain, enabling them to uphold the lean culture.
Replenishment and real-time quality check of supplies help management evaluate their decisions concerning supplier. A poor quality of supply, for instance, would reflect on management dashboards instantly, helping them halt further inflow of remaining order.
With enterprise-wide digital integration, the management can generate a wide range of reports at regular intervals. Custom dashboards provisioned to the management team help them have a real-time grip on all enterprise data, helping them in smart, informed decision-making.
Where the margins are thin and the movement is rapid, mobility will become a vital part of the manufacturing ecosystem and the pillar upon which the future waves of manufacturing automation will rest.