Envision tablets mounted at each work station on your plant floor and your process engineer hard at work from a mobile device.
According to Computerworld, IT operation spending in manufacturing companies is up approximately 4 percent. Likewise, a recent study stated manufacturing company CIOs rank the investment in mobile technologies as a top priority. Mobility can redefine the way manufacturing companies run their business processes and increase their competitive advantage. For example, manufacturers are instantly seeing benefits of real-time data and customization capabilities. But why should your manufacturing company take this technology leap?
Mobile technology has the ability to play a role in almost every step in manufacturing and there are several benefits associated with mobility:
Better Supply Chain Management
Globally dispersed supply chains and operations make supply chain management challenging. For instance, synchronizing the volume of parts, suppliers and global warehouses is a critical task for managers. Mobility of supply chains provides workers at various supply chain locations to immediately input information into a mobile device; consequently, providing managers real-time visibility from mobile devices into supply chain processes can ensure that operations run smoothly.
Inventory management with a mobile device can provide manufacturers real-time information on materials movement and stock levels which is critical in Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing environments. Mobility provides manufacturers the opportunity to receive production alerts and reports, track and trace assets, have a better grasp on fleet management, and gain route optimization capabilities. Additionally, workers with mobile devices in warehouse and distribution centers can improve productivity with increased order and shipping accuracy, improved order fulfillment, and track driver work rate as products are delivered.
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) solutions wirelessly connect devices, such as turbines, heat monitors and tracks, to a network, enabling two-way communication. Consequently, real-time data is received through radio signals and engineers and technicians no longer need to be tied to a machine. The data received provides accurate and quality reporting, and workers can remotely manage and monitor machines via M2M with mobile devices.
Ultimately, mobility serves as a flexible tool for manufacturers to share information and make the best possible business decisions. However, the biggest challenge for mobility in manufacturing is security. Manufacturers fear the risk that sensitive and valuable data will be leaked, or damage can be done by exposing production systems to malware.
Manufacturers constructing a solid deployment roadmap ensure mobile technology complies with security mandates and regulations. When constructing a deployment roadmap, it is essential to address mobile access policies and strategies, firewalls, authentication of senders and receivers, BYOD strategies and policies, malware and spywaredetection technology, and data erasing policies from missing or hijacked devices.
Read: Manufacturers will only continue to implement mobile technology in the workplace. Find out more about mobility benefits in our blog post Mobile Technology: Manufacturing at Your Fingertips.