In this blog, I provide 4 reasons why you should consider mobility in industrial settings. I will show how plants can provide employees with cost-effective, secure, on-demand remote access to critical information resources. In the future blogs I will explore ways in which you can begin to build out your mobile technology base for use within manufacturing.
1. Ability to utilize resources securely from any location
“Over 67% of the manufacturing companies reported a shortage of available qualified workers” (2)
Employees in manufacturing work with complex, expensive equipment. They handle multiple responsibilities, deal with more regulations today than ever before, and need the ability to troubleshoot plant equipment or production status, from the office, home or on the road.
One of the greatest benefits of remote access: opening a wide portal to the organization’s plant data, is also a significant potential weakness. Providing adequate security of that data, when employees access it from outside the confines of the “normal plant,” is probably the highest concern faced by IT.
Some key regulations mandate stricter policies for IT security. An effective mobility solution must adequately protect corporate data. (4)
2. Effective Management: Improve decision making and manager effectiveness
“70 % of manufacturing decision-makers are looking to leverage mobile” (2)
Using existing smart phones and tablets, manufacturing workers can accelerate decisions by delivering up-to-date plant data and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to knowledge workers or plant managers
3. Quality: Validate process accuracy
“When plant managers carry a mobile device, the real-time information improves productivity by 5 to 10% — and with access to real time sales information, the improved forecast accuracy reduces overproduction waste by an average of 5%” (5)
Products must be manufactured at record speed, yet the struggle for competitive pricing has resulted in outsourcing to vendors that may be located across town or around the world — adding a new level of complexity to the quality assurance function. When access to plant applications is available on mobile devices, the speed and accuracy of quality checks can be significantly improved, and quality assurance processes can be standardized. The automated capture of quality data enables manufacturers to achieve “Six Sigma” quality, virtually ensuring that customers receive the right product, manufactured in the right way and facilitating a robust access environment to meet strict regulatory guidelines.
4. Production: Increase line uptime
“When mobility is utilized in the asset maintenance function, plant availability increases an average of 5%(2)
The ability to view real-time Human Machine Interface (HMI) and Visual Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) information on mobile devices provides operators and engineers with better control over the health of critical equipment such as the production line machinery. Operators no longer need to leave the machinery to travel to a “wired workstation” to input critical machine status information. Engineers are no longer tied to the control room to monitor machine status — they are now able to receive, acknowledge and act upon, alarms wherever they happen to be. Production and employee safety levels are
- AutomationWorld (2013, March 1), Mobile Device in Automation, retrieved from http://www.automationworld.com/control/mobile-devices-automation
- Mutual Mobile (2013). Mobile for manufacturing: 7 ways to benefit, from the floor to the field. Retrieved from www.mutualmobile.com
- Jusko, J. (2012, May 14). Training the Manufacturing Workforce: Don’t Go It Alone. Industry Week. Retrieved from www.industryweek.com/workforce/training-manufacturing-workforce-dont-go-it-alone?page=4
- Ericom (September, 2012), Access Done Right, Mobile Access Security & Management: Managed and Unmanaged Mobile Access to Windows Applications and Virtual Desktops—from Smart phones and Tablets
- Motorola (2012), Top 10 mobile solutions for lean manufacturing