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3 Ways Mobile Manufacturing Applications Improve Plant Efficiency

June 08, 2015 | Time & Attendance

The modern workforce is becoming increasingly mobile, making stationary workstations and laptops a thing of the past. More and more work is performed on tablets and smartphones, resulting in a need to adapt to the changing landscape. It is important to manage your workforce in the palm of your hands.

The manufacturing industry, characterized by constantly moving materials and dynamic statistics, is a natural fit for mobile technology. There are three ways that proper utilization of mobile technology can best improve efficiency in manufacturing:

  1.   Information on-the-go In the most basic sense, mobile apps are useful in a plant environment because they enable users to access and submit information on the go. As mentioned, expecting busy plant employees to return to a stationary workplace every time they need to look up or verify a piece of information is impractical.With a mobile asset management app, employees can bring essential, dynamic information wherever they go. Plant employees can use their tablet or smartphone to search for data from anywhere in the plant without interrupting their work. In addition, the simple interface that mobile apps usually provide often come in handy in busy manufacturing plants. The appsFreedom blog explains that a plant is a very noisy, distracting environment, so a simple user interface can be tremendously important to plant employees who will most likely find it difficult to concentrate during the course of their workday.
  1.     Increased data speed and quality The most recent era of big data has shifted emphasis from simply having big data, and now focuses on building analytical power into customer products and services. According to the Harvard Business Review, this is relevant to businesses of all sizes, particularly those in the manufacturing industry. Every device, shipment, and consumer leaves a trail, and data now has the ability to analyze those large sets of data for the benefit of customers and markets as well as embed analytics and optimization into every business decision made at the front lines of operations.A recent article from Thorn Technologies states that mobile asset management apps can put high-quality data at the fingertips of manufacturing plant managers and employees. With a mobile app, employees are able to instantly report data from wherever they are in the plant. This data can then be combined with data submitted by other employees to provide a complete picture of what’s going on in the plant. Employees can then use the mobile app to find the data they need to make better business decisions quickly. The result? Constant improvement of plant operations.
  1.     Improved employee efficiency Manufacturing software developer CIMx cites a Motorola survey that states manufacturers who incorporate mobile applications into their processes saved a daily average of 42 minutes per employee. Furthermore, a study conducted by Software Advice, an employee scheduling technology reviewer, found that one-third of respondents agreed that they would be less likely to no-show for a shift if they had access to a mobile app, thus reducing absences caused by employee error.Mobile scheduling applications can also reduce losses caused by unavoidable absences, such as illness and personal emergencies. Applications that use demand-driven, rules-based scheduling quickly adapt to unexpected changes by rearranging the daily schedule based on configurable jobs criteria such as qualification, title, and seniority. The right person is therefore always in the right place at the right time, thus minimizing the negative impact of unexpected absences.

To summarize, mobile manufacturing apps enable plant workers to instantly obtain the information they need, gain better insight into the overall goings-on in the plant, and improve labor efficiency.This instant access to dynamic, comprehensive plant-wide information can have a huge impact on overall efficiency and profits, and improve the long-term health of the plant.

-Yvonne Hangsterfer

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Originally published June 8, 2015, updated December 1, 2017
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