Mobility in Manufacturing: Driving productivity and transformation


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This whitepaper takes a detailed look at mobility in manufacturing and understands the drivers
behind adoption of mobility, the benefits achieved, the challenges in-front and the future ahead.

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Mobility in Manufacturing: Driving productivity and transformation

  1. 1. Mobility in ManufacturingDriving productivity and transformation
  2. 2. The manufacturing industry worldwide is reeling under tremendous pressure to increase their output,improve quality and do it at lesser costs to expand their global footprint and reach to newer markets.To match up to the soaring expectations of the customers and other stakeholders in the ecosystem,manufacturing companies have initiated a stream of strategic and innovative measures with the objectiveof becoming competitive and, at the same time, cost-sensitive. Mobility in manufacturing is one suchrecent adoption that is enabling manufacturers to match their capability enhancements and resourcemobilization with critical improvement in business processes. The convergence of mobile technologywith manufacturing processes makes for a fascinating study with mobility playing a game-changing role.What we are witnessing is a major shift swiftly gaining the form of revolution that promises to reshape themanufacturing landscape by making it more lean, alert, and agile.Our cover story this month takes a detailed look at mobility in manufacturing and understands the driversbehind adoption of mobility, the benefits achieved, the challenges in-front and the future ahead. The MakeoverShop floors are set for a makeover with the entry of mobile phones, apps and devices. While the lastdecade gave industrial units a new look with PCs, laptops and automated solutions, the current decade isadding a completely new dimension with the advent of mobility. “Mobile and wireless technologies are more important to my organization today than they were last year.” Agree No-Opinion Disgaree 87.1% Source: Motorola Solutions Barometer 2011 Mobility in Manufacturing: Driving productivity and transformation/ 2
  3. 3. Machine-to-Machine or M2M solutions are wirelessly connecting diverse devices like turbines, heatmonitors, vending machines and trucks etc., to a network, enabling two-way communication andfacilitating sharing of real-time data through radio signals. Engineers and technicians are no more tied totheir machines. They are all over the floor, remotely managing and monitoring their machines via M2Mand taking instant decisions, right on their feet. Mobility is reducing the unplanned downtime in theorganizations via mobile eKanBan solutions. The solution enables manufacturers to place a call button atevery station which when pressed will instantly transmit the call for inventory to a mobile device in thehands of warehouse personnel for his instantaneous response. Mobility is reducing manual processes,lowering errors by providing real-time visibility for better and cost-effective management of inventory.Floor supervisors are armed with time and attendance data of their entire workforce resulting in effectivelabor management. Mobility solutions via RFID are enabling automatic real-time tracking of assets therebyreducing human effort, theft and wastage. Managers are carrying real-time Key Performance Indicators(KPIs) on their mobile to keep a close track on it. “My organization has a competitive advantage by using mobile and wireless technologies.” Agree No-Opinion Disgaree 72.7% Source: Motorola Solutions Barometer 2011Processes, be it Production or Quality Control, are slowly getting mobilized and mobile devices likesmartphones and Tablets have become the all important tools in the entire manufacturing ecosystem. Inshort, mobile apps and solutions are aiding transformation and bringing competitive advantage to theadopters by adding agility and precision. Manufacturing has got a new M- mobility- to add to its otherthree M’s- men, money and machines. Welcome the new wave in manufacturing! Mobility in Manufacturing: Driving productivity and transformation/ 3
  4. 4. The Factors at PlaySeveral factors are converging to enable manufacturers to gain competitive advantage through mobility.Manufacturing companies, of all sizes, are looking to newer markets to boost future growth. Zero-defectmanufacturing has become essential to be competitive and cost-effective in the current business economy.Resources are geographically getting dispersed and hence require anytime, anywhere collaborativemechanism. Employees used to the convenience of mobility in personal lives are bringing their owndevices and want to use them at work. Mobile devices are fast emerging as the premiere channel forcustomer engagement. And, organizations are looking for virtualized operating models that enable real-time collaboration round the clock and on the move. Mobility - Concerns & Advantages Concerns Mobility Advantages • Globalization of marketplace • Real-time information sharing speeds up • Optimization of resources to lower costs & be processes, faster time to market price-competitive • Lower cycle times means better costs • Reduced new product integration cycles • Increased regulatory/industry compliance • Integration of mobile apps with legacy systems accuracy for quality reporting • Data management cost • Reduced manual errors • Stringent regulatory/compliance • Low data management cost • Increased employee productivityThe mobile technology too has greatly evolved in recent times to emerge as the promising solutionprovider to many of the organizational concerns. Smartphones have become more powerful, Tablets withits various features are tailor-made for enterprise use and moreover, enterprise level app development isflourishing, providing a galore of choices in apps for manufacturers to pick and customize to best of theirrequirements. Mobility in Manufacturing: Driving productivity and transformation/ 4
  5. 5. Possibilities and Opportunities Scope of Mobility Supply Chain Operations Fulfillment Procurement Product • Inventory Management • Plant operations • Asset tracking & • PO/requisition approval Development • Mobile ERP & Mobile BI management tracing • Status tracking • Engineering • Forecast collaboration & • Plant maintenance • Warehouse • Supplier profile change/approval status approvals management automation • Shipment notifications • Program status & • Receipt • Scheduling alerts/report • Fleet management • Supplier alerts & reports notifications Acknowledgement • Production alerts/reports • Route optimization • Program project updates • Alerts • Asset tracking • QC reportsMobile technology has the potential to play a role in almost every step in the manufacturing cycle,right from raw material procurement to supply chain to delivery. From mobile ERP and mobile BusinessIntelligence to QC reports to PO/ requisition approval, we can see multiple points across processeswherein mobility can be a lean enabler. In other words, mobility doesn’t limit itself to simply shifting workfrom PCs to mobile but promises more through role-based applications, device integration and processsynchronization. Oppurtunity for Mobility in Manufacturing Value Chain Research & Product Product Product Customer Sourcing Value Chain Development Development Manufacturing Distribution Service Customers feedback/data collected Customer directly from user devices, through Interactions specialized mobile applications Smartphones with barcode reading Materials applications to track inventory in Management various stages of manufacture Wireless sensors connected Maintanence to machinery can send status Management informationon to handheld systems RAD tags on inventory items can store Quality Rationale QC state information such as expiration Assurance date Remotely controlling multiple plant Factory systems such as power and cooling and Operations running operations diagnostics Wireless surveillance systems that Facilities supply live feeds to handheld devices Management for security and emergency response Sensors on company assets such as Asset trucks allow employees to carry out Tracking better fleet management Wireless sensors update ERP with Warehouse entry/exit of materials. Data accessed Management from stakeholder smartphones Source : TCS Global Consulting Practice - Research Desk Degree of Significance Mobility in Manufacturing: Driving productivity and transformation/ 5
  6. 6. The Benefits Mobility benefits to organizations Improve regularly and/or regulatory compliance 19.4% Reduce downtime 21.9% Improve product quality or consistency 25.6% Lower labor costs via automated processes 25.8% Increase customer/partner satisfaction 28% Decrease delivery time 31.5% Improve on-time delivery rate 32.3% Increase production efficiency 35.6% Improve order fulfillment accuracy 35.8% Decrease employee/manual errors 38.2% Improve supply chain performance 40.3% Improved business revenues/sales results 40.7% Increase employee productivity/efficiency 57.3% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Source: Motorola Solutions Barometer 2011There are several benefits associated with mobility adoption in manufacturing. Instant access to critical dataon-the-go not only helps in taking quick decisions but also helps enterprises engaged in manufacturingto deftly manage their resources and prevent wastage contributing to cost-efficiency. Smooth and real-time flow of data and information improves response time to all stakeholders including suppliers, vendorsand customers etc., helping organizations resolve key internal and external issues in shortest possibletime thereby boosting brand image and perception. Mobility also helps eliminate redundant activities,enhance collaboration within various units thereby speeding-up processes.A study conducted by BlackBerry to examine a company’s ROI in adapting BlackBerry solutions came outwith interesting results-• Productivity- The study revealed that, on average, employee’s productivity increased by one h o u r per day because of using a smartphone. In monetary terms, on an average yearly salary of $100,000, it provided yearly benefit of $12,500 per user to the company.• Workflow- The workflow efficiency increased by 38% as employees were able to maintain their contribution in team workflow even when they were outside the office. Based on the average annual productivity of $88,500 determined by National Competitiveness Council, the company gained $33,630 per employee annually due to boost in workflow.• Immediacy- As per the study, employees on an average sent and received 24 emails/ day and approximately 9 of these emails were time-sensitive. On a conservative value of $5 each time-sensitive email/day provided an annual benefit of $4,400 per user to the company.The total benefit of adopting BlackBerry solutions in the company was over $50,000 per employee peryear. Mobility in Manufacturing: Driving productivity and transformation/ 6
  7. 7. The Challenges Security Concerns Lead List of Challenges Threats associated with network security,including data and IP security Understanding and keeping pace with network technology changes, including the move to 4G networks Our workforce is currently not mobile Insufficient number of useful business applications Lack of executive level buy-in to deploy mobile solutions Reliability and persistence of networks, signals Production environment has unique requirements 0 1 2 3 4 5 Average Rating (1 = low , 5 = high) Source: AT&TWhile there are many critical business benefits associated with mobile adoption for manufacturingcompanies, they however have to encounter a few hurdles in their journey. There are a few criticalchallenges that has to be addressed by manufacturing organizations as they embark on the path ofmobility. Security of data and information is one major challenge faced by the industry in its endeavorto mobilize processes. Enterprises have to create a formal governing policy which will define howmobile devices will integrate and interact with men and machines in the ecosystem and provide asecure mechanism to monitor and prevent data theft and fraudulency. Choosing the best technologicalinfrastructure is one major factor which organizations have to consider. Diversity in devices and platformfragmentation only adds to the challenge as decision-makers sit to lay the blueprint. Organizations alsoneed to consider mobile bandwidth and latency issues as the world moves to 4G networks. Meeting upinternal and external demands and making mobility a hassle-free and smooth experience should alsobe factored-in to enable comprehensive adoption and usage of mobility within the organization and toderive desired benefits out of it. Mobility in Manufacturing: Driving productivity and transformation/ 7
  8. 8. In Future…Most organizations today are only picking the low lying fruits of mobility. And therefore we see therole of mobility limited to a communication & information channel with a few exceptions of deviceintegration in a process. Complete synchronization of operational processes with mobility solutions andcomprehensive integration of mobile devices and apps with the manufacturing ecosystem, are still in itsearly days. However, as organizations move in to the next level of adaption and the mobile technologyfurther evolves, we will see much bigger role for mobility in manufacturing. Factory floors will be remotelycontrolled with mobile access to Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and DistributedControl Systems (DCS). Machine-to-machine (M2M) and human-machine interfaces (HMI) will also enablesupervisors and managers to supervise and control shop-floor activities from anywhere via their devices.Emerging technologies like NFC and RFID will be used to tag and track the movement of products, rightfrom the production stage to inventory, logistics and store. Real-time business intelligence dashboards viablue-tooth enabled mobile devices will also see large scale adoption. GPS-sensors and accelerometers willbe used to update controller’s dashboard, expediting maintenance-related responses. Augmented reality(AR) applications on mobile will also become a norm to train technicians in using various instruments andtools. The future will see more such experiments and innovation in mobile adaption. Our Recommendations…• Enable mobility broadly. Mobility is the future and offers tremendous opportunities to manufacturing organizations. Explore how you can leverage mobile technology to transform your organization and bring agility and innovation to it.• Think big. Build a mobile strategy that optimizes your organizational capacity and the mobility advantage. Think beyond simple mobile usage and plan for wide-ranging implementation of mobility.• Manage the risks. Mobility has risks associated with it. Understand those risks and then deploy an effective security mechanism to mitigate those risks.• Be patient. It takes time to get returns on your investments from mobility. So be ready for a long haul.• Lay down the groundwork for next generation of mobility. Emerging technologies like NFC, RFID etc., promises more opportunities. Be ready to seize them. Mobility in Manufacturing: Driving productivity and transformation/ 8
  9. 9. It’s just the beginningMobility is more than mobilizing existing processes or providing mobile access for your employees tothe corporate network. The application of mobility we are witnessing today in manufacturing enterprisesare just the tip of the iceberg. There is much underneath to explore and leverage. A long-term mobilestrategy with sufficient ground work for future up-gradation and improvements therefore is the right wayto approach.Mobile devices and apps can be a key enabler for the industry seeking to answer many challenges likequality improvement, cost-efficiency, improved margins and to be competitive in the current businessenvironment. Now is the time for manufacturing organizations to seriously consider mobility and make ita part of the overall business strategy. Invest in it today to prepare your organization for tomorrow.About [x]cube LABS[x]cube LABS is one of the leading mobile appsdevelopment and consulting firm, headquarteredin Dallas, U.S and with offices in New York and Reach [x]cube LABSHyderabad, India. With expertise across all the connect@xcubeLABS.commajor mobile platforms, [x]cube has deliveredover 500 apps till date and has an enviable clientlist comprising of some of the biggest brands like 1-800-805-5783GE, Intel, Texas Instruments, Hasbro, Mattel and24 Hour Fitness. [x]cube’s understanding of the www.xcubeLABS.commobile space and technology, complimented byits rich experience across all the major industryverticals and the capability to deliver end-to-end solutions, make [x]cube the perfect mobileconsultant of choice.To integrate your enterprise people, processes and products with customized, avant-garde mobilitysolutions or to explore mobility opportunities in your enterprise with our experts, please feel free tocontact us at encourage you to continue exploring our website ( ) to find out more aboutour services. [x]cube is the premier mobile solution partner for companies and individuals creating the next generation of digital applications. [x]cube develops custom solutions for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Mobile platforms. [x]cube is a division of PurpleTalk, Inc. | 1-800-805-5783 |