Industry 4.0, sometimes called “disruptive manufacturing,” has arrived. According to statistics cited in a recent Forbes article, the manufacturing sector, fueled by technology innovation, is expected to spend $479 billion digitally in 2023, reaching a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 21%. It’s estimated that more than three-quarters of all manufacturers either have an ongoing smart factory initiative or are developing one.But what’s really driving the new industrial revolution is mobility. The days of being “chained” to a computer desktop in an office – or even worse, pushing paper around – have become a distant past. Today, manufacturing managers are relying on mobile devices and their applications to provide updates and real-time monitoring as part of the new business model.
For example, say that a plant manager detects a malfunctioning machine. In the past, the manager had to jot down notes about the defect, trek back to the office, which might be at a distant location, create the appropriate work order and facilitate the repair. It could take valuable hours – or even days – from start to finish.
Now this type of problem can be resolved quickly using a mobile app on a phone or tablet. In most cases the machine will automatically alert the manager of the malfunction. The manager can scan the product code, share the information with others and promptly make the fix saving time and money.
Specifically, the primary benefits of using mobile devices in the manufacturing sector are highlighted below.
- Portability: With mobile apps, you can operate from virtually any location. Unlike the traditional manufacturing model, you don’t have to return to a fixed central location to receive information, check procedures or fulfill orders. Workers can instantly notify others about problems, update the status of jobs and initiate quick equipment repairs.
- Improved productivity: It stands to reason that mobile devices will increase the productivity of workers on the plant floor. Workers can receive and react to directions and change orders faster and more efficiently. Because many workers are already familiar with the basic technology – who doesn’t have a personal cell phone? – they are likely to embrace this new approach in the workplace.
- Immediate solutions: Instead of basing solutions on recent history or the latest trends, you can make decisions in real time. By being able to share information throughout the hierarchy, you can better avoid errors costly delays. What’s more, having mobile “eyes and ears” on the floor at the point of contact provides greater transparency for everyone.
Previously, customers usually weren’t privy to the “inner workings” until after the fact, but now mobile devices can provide valuable insights.
- Precision monitoring: Thanks to GPS tracking in mobile devices, management can assess job status in real time. As they view the instant updates, managers may check the status of orders and quickly locate raw materials and arrange deliveries. Finally, if the firm employs outside salespeople, precision monitoring also becomes a vital selling point. Not only does mobility improve efficiency, but it also bolsters new and existing customer relationships.
Industry 4.0 is moving forward with you. Manufacturers who don’t make the necessary accommodation, including a shift to using mobile devices, are likely to be left behind. Of course, this requires a financial outlay by the firm. Consult with your business advisors concerning your situation.
Goldin Peiser & Peiser helps manufacturers find ways to improve efficiencies in their operations. If you have questions about this blog or other questions for our Manufacturing and Distribution Services Group, please contact GPP by filling in the form below or calling, 972-818-5300.
Note: This content is accurate as of the date published above and is subject to change. Please seek professional advice before acting on any matter contained in this article.