The digital age has transformed the way the manufacturing ecosystem works and how managers view the importance of the systems they have in place. Implementing mobile technology is not just about installing a new software system and making sure your employees know how to use their device. In this article from Forbes, Louis Columbus outlines the areas of mobile devices that successful manufacturing floors focus on.
- Manufacturers are predicted to spend $479B digitally transforming their operations in 2023, increasing from $152B in 2017, reaching a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.08% according to Statista.
- IoT Analytics is predicting global spending on Industry 4.0 products and services will soar from $119B in 2020 to $310B in 2023, attaining a 27.04% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).
- 76% of manufacturers either have a smart factory initiative that is ongoing or are working on formulating one. 56% have allocated $100M or more towards smart factories according to a recent Capgemini study.
Manufacturers are transforming themselves to improve shop floor productivity while at the same time supporting the launch of new digitally-driven businesses. They’re re-inventing themselves daily, with the most successful able to orchestrate a series of digital technologies to achieve cost, growth and profit goals. Analytics, mobility, real-time monitoring/Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), security, and smart, self-diagnosing production machines are the most common technologies manufacturers are relying on to reinvent themselves.
Mobility is digitally transforming manufacturing
It’s the contextually rich real-time data streams that mobile devices and monitoring sensors provide that are at the heart of manufacturing’s digital revolution. According to a recent PwC CEO survey, 81% of manufacturing CEOs say mobile technologies are strategically important for their business. They’re prioritizing mobility, cybersecurity and data mining according to PwC.
The following characteristics are what sets apart those manufacturers who excel at transforming themselves to improve shop floor productivity while launching new digitally-driven businesses:
- Are quickly developing the ability to create new mobile applications based on opportunities to improve production while growing new businesses. Manufacturers who excel at digitally transforming themselves are creating software development and software quality assurance teams that can produce and launch new applications quickly. These teams are often given the challenge of creating an entirely new application that can scale across a new distribution network while increasing collaboration and information sharing across the shop floor. An example of a manufacturer doing this is Porsche Informatik GmbH, who develops build-to-order automobile trade software for the wholesale, retail, aftersales, parts, and financial services sectors. They’re succeeding at transforming their business by prioritizing their customers’ and employees’ experiences using mobile applications they develop in-house.
- Realize that every mobile device’s identity is the new security perimeter, regardless of its location globally. Manufacturers who excel at digitally transforming themselves run at a faster pace than their counterparts. Their view of security is that it’s a must-have part of their growth strategy to preserve customers’ trust and remove roadblocks that could slow them down. I asked the CIO of a well-known manufacturer how they were able to keep up the pace of new digital ventures being introduced and new connected machinery being installed on their shop floors. “We treat every sensor, real-time monitoring device, employee and company phone, tablet and laptop as a threat surface,” she said. “The days of trusted and untrusted domains are over. We’re moving so fast that a Zero Trust approach makes the most sense for us; we never trust and always verify.” By 2023, the average CIO will be responsible for more than three times the endpoints they managed in 2018, according to a recent Gartner study., Manufacturers including Porsche Informatik GmbH are taking a mobile-centric approach to Zero Trust, partnering with MobileIron to securely scale operations across their value chains.
- Delivering an excellent mobile customer experience starts by realizing customers’ mobile devices are their identity, defining their expectations for real-time responsiveness. One of the most valuable lessons a manufacturer launching a digitally-based business learned was that customers have a completely different perspective of time, dictated by how quickly they can get an answer from mobile apps. This is especially true for a manufacturer launching digitally-enabled versions of new customizable products entirely online. E-commerce sites, their product descriptions, pricing, real-time order status, support, service, and channel sales systems all needed a content and security refresh. By relying on a Zero Trust-based approach to securing their mobile applications, these manufacturers were able to grant access to trusted customers and distributors while detecting and remediating threats on any iOS or Android device.
- Securing mobile devices are pivotal to manufacturers succeeding with shop floor productivity improvements now and in the future. McKinsey & Company’s study of Industry 4.0’s impact on production performance finds that secured mobile devices can contribute up to an 85% decrease in paperwork and transcription. Machinery operators using secured tablets can add descriptions, pictures, and videos in real-time, contributing to major reductions in paperwork, transpiration and lost time.
Secured mobile devices and applications contribute to greater transparency across the shop floor, added efficiency including better planning and control, and reduction of risk as the following Ericsson analysis illustrates.
The secret to having any digital transformation strategy succeed is to start with customer experiences and work back through every aspect of manufacturing operations. Customers’ perceptions of time, quality of user experience, contextual consistency and empathy are all reflected in how well mobile applications meet their expectations. For manufacturers, the future is now for improving customer experiences using their mobile applications, and at the foundation of any successful effort is respect for the customers’ data. That’s why securing mobile devices in defining manufacturing’s future today.