Companies around the world are increasingly applying mobile technology to achieve unique ends. Manufacturing companies, for instance, are leading the way in utilizing mobile technology to improve safety and efficiency. Wireless technology connections in worldwide factories are estimated to increase from 2.1 million connections to 3.4 million connections by 2017, according to a report from IHS Technology. Here are just some of the many ways that mobile technology can impact manufacturing processes, improve safety and promote efficiency.
On the Floor
Floor managers and employees in factory shops now use a slew of mobile devices and custom apps to monitor production and factory efficiency. One of the biggest advantages of a mobile device is that it allows workers to move around the floor while referencing manufacturers’ documents, contacting other employees and communicating with off-site personnel. The improvement in efficiency may seem small at first, but a study by Wipro points out that even a ten minute reduction in time spent on tasks can result in a 2.5 percent productivity increase. These minutes add up over time and can save manufacturing businesses large sums of money by the end of a single year of mobile adoption.
Safety in a factory environment is often reliant on engineers and workers having up-to-the-minute data to make adjustment decisions. Mobile devices allow engineers to access this information, which is normally confined to a desktop-based control room, from anywhere on the factory floor in real time, which ensures they have the most accurate information to work with. Mobile devices also allow factories to achieve real time tracing for critical materials that require extra levels of safety.
The Factory of Things
The idea of an Internet of things refers to the increasing level of connectivity that everyday devices in our lives now possess after all, we live in a time of Bluetooth refrigerators that can stream music. So, it’s only logical that manufacturing companies would take advantage of this connectivity. Connected devices stream information and allow manufacturers to react reflexively to shifts in the market, thus increasing efficiency. The factory of things also means that even forklifts can be mobile ready, allowing floor managers to control their access to tools, resources and inventory on the fly.
A cottage industry of manufacturing-specific mobile apps has sprung up because more and more manufacturing companies are adopting mobile technologies. Some of these mobile apps can govern every process a manufacturer must attend to from inventory transactional information to warehouse control and field repair.
As mobile technology continues to pervade factory floors, it is important that companies embrace mobile device management policies that are right for them. Consulting with your IT, legal and human resources departments regarding bring your own device policies and whether they are right for your business is a critical step. This ensures that any mobile devices intended for use are easy to understand and have set guidelines. If a company has an appropriate department internally, developing mobile apps in-house is always preferable to purchasing off-the-shelf apps, as they can be better tailored to your specific needs.
If you liked this article, then here are other Manufacturing Transformation posts on similar topics:
- Q&A Update: Mobile Perspectives in Manufacturing Operations
- Mobility’s Impact on the 4th Industrial Revolution