Manufacturers never doubted that new technologies could drastically improve their business. From the First Industrial Revolution bringing mechanization to the English textile shops in the late 18th century to Henry Ford mastering mass production in the early 20th century, the manufacturing industry has always been the storefront of innovation.
Today, computerization and mobility bring challenges and opportunities to the table and manufacturers are reinventing their business models once again. M. Dell, CEO of Dell Inc. explains that people have instinctively the wrong approach to innovation. Instead of trying to add a new technology on to old processes and deliver marginal improvement, people should take the problem from the other angle and ask themselves “Now that we have all these new tools and new technique, how can we solve the problem in a fundamentally new way?“
The world is mobile
During the past decade, mobile devices have been revolutionizing the world the way computers, assembly lines and mechanization have before them.
Today, there are more mobile devices than people in the world and they are multiplying 5 times faster than we are. The volume of mobile traffic generated by smartphones is about twicethat of PCs, tablets and routers and CEOs are adapting to the trend. According to a survey conducted by PwC, 81% of CEOs see mobile technologies for customer engagement as the most strategically important technology for their organization, before data mining & analysis, and cyber-security.
With the expansion of mobile devices, the world data collection has simultaneously exploded over the past decade. According to a study conducted in 2013 by SINTEF, 90% of all the data ever collectedhad been generated in the two previous years. If CEOs understand the importance of data, being second most strategically important technology according to the PwC survey, companies have problems collecting and analyzing it correctly. Research estimated that 23% of all digital data generated annually would be useful if tagged and analyzed, yet just 3% is tagged and 0.5% analyzed.
Manufacturers can tackle both of these challenges if engaging in innovative mobile strategies such as the ones provided by ABIS Inc.
Bringing mobility and data to manufacturers
Manufacturers have found innovative ways to integrate mobility into their operations. Some use devices to empower their sales force and strengthen their customer relationships, other improve logistics through mobile technologies or their on-site productivity. Mobility is more than ever at the heart of manufacturers’ strategies and making differences for many businesses.1. Give them the tools to success
At ABIS, we believe mobility can have many positive effects for the manufacturing industry starting with empowering the workforce.
By implementing wireless connectivity solutions to their mobile workforce, companies have been able to get real-time visibility over work status and workflow management. Employees update work-in-progress information, get notified on-site about maintenance schedule and manage recurring tasks. Communication between in-house and the field service workforce is improved and the business runs more smoothly.
Inventory management and control is a time-consuming yet critical element of industrials daily operations. It requires important manpower and long procedures to ensure maximum accuracy with the lowest error margin as humanly possible. Yet, research has demonstrated that inventory inaccuracy is common. In a study conducted over 370,000 products across a single chain, 65% of inventory was reported to be inaccurate, including 20% differing by 6 or more units.
This challenge has been at the core center of ABIS mobility solutions for decades. By integrating wireless warehouse barcoding into their operations, manufacturers witnessed a jump in inventory accuracy. The most successful ones have used this technology to develop new ways and new processes to track and manage their inventory. From the reception platform to storage, production, assembly, warehouse and shipping, they implemented scanners to tag and locate every item. The entire supply-chain is revisited for better tracking and more accurate inventory levels generating unprecedented gains in turnover ratios and profitability.
In a sector where decades of innovation and process improvements maximized efficiency levels, leveraging opportunities for productivity gains is a challenge. Although, mobility technologies have been unlocking new potentials to shake the tree. One of ABIS client-partners used their mobility solutions to incorporate inventory tracking and predictive data analysis to streamline their production processes. Management teams know in real-time the quantity of product in stock, being processed and ready to ship. They know the precise location of every item at any given time and can share it with the entire company. By unlocking the potential of predictive analysis, the purchase and procurement department is updated with stock levels in real-time and advised on the best course of action to follow based on purchase history and advanced behavior analysis. Since mobility solutions provide access to enhanced data, manufacturers have been able to develop financial models to get in front of cost trends, cost analysis and predictive financial analysis.4. Improve customer relationships
With the explosion of mobile devices, work habits continually evolve, modifying relations to work and customers. Recent studies have shown that 92% of Americans use their personal smartphones for work at least once a week. The walls of the office are expanding and employees adapt their behavior to get more work done faster. Among them, the sales force has been one of the quickest categories adapting to these new standards. Often on the move, visiting clients and calling prospects, mobile technologies have open opportunities for them. Tablets and smartphones capacitate them with the most accurate information on the fly to fit with customers needs. It gives them the right tools to capture info and redistribute it on the go. Sales reps going to a meeting can now gather information about the customer, show him pertinent options and edit a quote on the way back. It accelerates sales cycle, nurture pipelines, centralize CRM information, and at the end of the line helps you close deals faster and generate more revenue.
From a customer perspective, mobile technology alleviates information gaps and stress related to project management. Manufacturers have been using mobility solutions at every step of the supply-chain to update project status and keep customers on the loop.
Once again, a technological revolution is affecting customer behaviors and industrial productivity in unpredicted proportion. Employees are working on new dimensions, customers are absorbing more information than ever before and every industry is adapting their processes to fit the new fast-paced standards. Even though industrial businesses did not originate this innovation, their adaptation and investments towards mobility solutions is saying a lot about the importance it is taking on the field. From one hand of the spectrum to the other, from customer satisfaction to supply-chain, from production cycles to workflow management, every department and process is under transformation and the return on investment (ROI) is beyond satisfaction in terms of productivity gains and revenue generation.
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