Mobility in manufacturing – An important element in strategic cost-cutting

The manufacturing industry is one of those arenas which are in the midst of a massive transformation. We are more connected now than ever before. Technological advancements and shifts in the market are transforming and leading into a new phase of innovation, growth and opportunity. Traditionally, the investment is a more traditional approach to improve performance – especially around optimizing manufacturing operations. These investments are no longer considered as competitive differentiators but viewed as a cost of business. In such a scenario, every manufacturing company looks for ways to cut costs and save money. Implementation of technology now requires technical know-how and better understanding in order to implement and leverage effectively. Manufacturing companies may find it more complex with rapid product introductions and continuous improvement for optimizing costs, quality and efficiency.

Mobility for “modern” manufacturing

Mobility is ubiquitous. As any 13-year-old teenage girl can exemplify as she updates her Facebook status and sends a message to her friend before your desktop computer can even finish booting up, miniature mobile devices have arrived. Forward looking organizations are leveraging mobile and wireless technology, which is not just advanced but also capable of addressing the needs of automation. Capabilities of workers can be directly enhanced by mobile driven improvements that ease real-time decision making and workgroup collaboration.

Well designed and implemented automation solutions solve many of the pain points of legacy system. Below are some of the critical mobile developments and considerations in manufacturing:

  • Process optimization: Before we talk about cost, it’s important to look over your entire process. Focusing on the process instead of product is the way to start.
  • Automation in manufacturing: It is well-recognized solution in the manufacturing industry that reduces variability, ensures system reliability and reduces unplanned downtime, optimize service delivery and improves visibility- and ultimately helps cut costs.
  • Next Generation Solutions: However, next generation solutions are beyond task optimization. Mobility in manufacturing can provide more advanced capabilities that drive new revenue, improve cash flow and sell opportunities.
  • Real-time wireless connectivity: It is an important element in manufacturing solutions. It involves offline capabilities that facilitate improved communication and collaboration among field workers. Improved visibility helps gain information faster, which can then be adapted into better decision support.
  • Energy consumption: For many manufacturing organizations, energy denotes the first or second highest (with labor being the highest) cost element. Real-time and accurate data can help you reduce the cost.
  • Using mobility to improve inventory management: Storing product inventory for a long time comes at a cost. It is vital to consider storage and maintenance costs. Mobile inventory management solution helps you garner valuable insight into sales patterns and enable store managers to devote more face-time with customers.
  • Workforce optimization: Needless to say, reduced overtime payment can be a major source of savings. Workforce optimization delivers great business values with key insights into how its workforce is performing. Overall, it can help companies identify revenue opportunities and competitive advantages, lessen operating costs, and boost performance, profitability, and the customer experience.

Mobility in the workplace sounds all well and good for Fortune 500 companies, but how practical is it for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) when it comes to cutbacks? With the correct implementation of mobility, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Mobility can redefine the way manufacturing units run their businesses and gain competitive advantage. The very first thing before directly jumping onto the mobility bandwagon is to do in-depth study and determine the pain points of their businesses.

Below are some of the mobile solutions which are widely adopted by leading manufacturers around the world and have successfully cut down on costs:

  • Logistic Management Solutions
  • Mobile Supply Chain Management
  • Mobile IT and RFID Based Solutions
  • Fleet Management Solutions
  • Mobile CRM and Sale Force Management
  • Mobile Inventory Management
  • Intelligent Supply Chain
  • Mobile Sales Application

Clearly, real-time data and better decision making at every level-strategic, tactical and operational, is a key to enhance productivity and reduce expenses. Ultimately, the goal of a manufacturing company should be to make sure that any technology implemented is scalable enough to accommodate with future technologies.