Our world is a mobile one and increasingly, manufacturing operations are trending that way as well. Managers govern today’s facility floors with tablets and techs service machines with smartphones — technologies that provide on-demand information, wherever it’s needed. More than just being a convenience, these mobile technologies are changing the way manufacturing managers handle facility operations today.
Staying connected in Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 is the information revolution. Manufacturing managers oversee facilities by using seemingly infinite amounts of data gleaned from various connected devices like smart sensors and intelligent beacons. And while these connected devices collect and aggregate data, mobile devices are the key to leveraging that data.
- Repair technicians can access records and logs directly from service tablets, using them to take pictures and keep more detailed notes about particular machinery pieces.
- Factory managers can instantly look at production data about specific manufacturing lines to determine when to schedule service downtime or where to adjust.
- Workers experiencing issues can use smartphones or tablets with augmented reality (AR) features to visualize problems.
- Auditors making rounds in facilities can access all the pertinent data they need directly from tablets to gain insights into the areas or operations they’re auditing.
The instant on-hand nature of mobile technologies makes it easy to immediately simplify tasks that might otherwise become bogged down by back-and-forth conversation or a lack of accessible data.
More than just apps and files
This rise of mobile technologies has everything to do with the data, but it brings another important benefit into the foreground: efficiency. The operative word in the phrase mobile technology is mobile. Coupled with cloud computing and data integrations, mobile tech provides the versatility necessary to be efficient across factory operations.
Portability, availability, and affordability are three aspects of mobile tech that have propagated its rise to prominence in the world of manufacturing.
- Portability means having access to pertinent data and resources necessary to make informed decisions about things like maintenance and operations.
- Availability represents the spirit of Industry 4.0, giving the right workers access to the right data at the right time.
- Affordability is the low entry cost for mobile technologies, largely offset by the potential for efficiency and cost-savings they bring with them.
Mobile tech offers the means for manufacturers to harness the power of Industry 4.0 without interrupting legacy processes or systems. Because mobile tech acts as a medium for data access, manufacturers who understand the power of on-demand data are adopting it.
Growing industry importance
How crucial are mobile technologies in the world of manufacturing? Manufacturing CEOs put “mobility” at the top of the list — 73% demand — in terms of priority. Further, 86% of CEOs factor mobile into their comprehensive vision of digital technologies.
As data continues to play a crucial role in how we approach factory operations, manufacturers will likely continue to separate out mobile technologies as the preferred medium for accessing this information. Today it’s tablets and smartphones; tomorrow it could be wearables or a new innovation in the realm of portable on-demand data systems.