How mobile apps help manufacturing overcome problems

Mobile apps help the manufacturing sector achieve improved business results by collecting accurate data, streamlining manufacturing processes, improving worker safety, addressing labor shortages, increasing employee engagement and increasing employee productivity.

Historically, the manufacturing industry has not been the most agile when it comes to implementing new digital technologies. The industry has struggled with labor shortages, implemented technical solutions and hired experienced developers to write apps that streamline processes. However, the manufacturing industry is embracing change, undergoing a digital transformation and moving to Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 includes the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, mobile technology, smart factories, analytics and other technological advances.

Mobile applications are part of Industry 4.0 rotation. Many modern manufacturing companies already use mobile applications to collect, share and access critical manufacturing data and drive continuous improvement.

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Manufacturing employees can collect more accurate/accurate production and quality data with connected mobile devices, share it quickly among different teams and analyze it instantly. Not only will they collect more accurate data, but analysis of that data can better identify or predict production problems.

Manufacturers can accelerate their transition to Industry 4.0 through low-code and no-code app development platforms that capture, analyze and share data in new ways faster than ever before. Low code/no code allows app development without needing any code. For years, the manufacturing industry has struggled to hire enough experienced developers to write and develop mobile apps. Low code solves this problem by allowing citizen developers and factory floor professionals to build their own enterprise apps. Often they work in coordination with the IT team to do so.

See also: 6 Rules for enabling the data behind industrial AI

Here are some ways mobile apps can solve the most significant problems plaguing the manufacturing sector.

1) Streamlining of manufacturing processes

Mobile applications help manufacturers share huge amounts of data instantly. Mobile applications in critical parts of the organization can avoid unnecessary delays in access to important information by facilitating real-time access to large amounts of data. By facilitating the capture of information, such as automatically collecting time, data or location information, these apps can significantly reduce data entry errors. Faster analysis of accurate, complete data improves the manufacturing process and enables continuous improvement and development. Better data helps manufacturers make better decisions about equipment maintenance, corrective actions and material inventory.

2) Improved worker productivity

Mobile applications can improve communication and collaboration between employees and supervisors. In addition to tracking schedules and checklists, manufacturers can digitize data collection to automate processes and save time and energy for employees. Mobile apps reduce the burden on employees to record routine information and allow them to focus on more pressing issues or improvements.

Some applications capture the knowledge of experienced workers to create intelligent processes that can be used to train newer members. For example, apps can display images, videos, inspection processes and easy-to-use manuals to help new employees and assist them with more complex tasks.

3) To address the shortage of labor in the manufacturing industry

According to a Deloitte study, the biggest challenge facing the manufacturing industry is not external competition but the dramatic labor shortage. The manufacturers have not been able to fill even half of their vacancies. Deloitte suggests that the manufacturing industry needs to fill 46 million jobs between 2018 and 2028, but it will only be able to fill 2.2 million. The report cites several reasons for this discrepancy, including a shortage of people with the appropriate skills, retiring baby boomers and the general perception that manufacturing jobs are dangerous or dead-end jobs. A big problem is the lack of programming skills and the fact that people who have such skills lack the manufacturing know-how to build apps that help production or quality teams thrive.

Low code can help manufacturers increase internal training and equip employees with digital skills. Using low-code/no-code platforms, employees with less technical skills can write powerful applications. Low code also helps employees with manufacturing skills write applications that even advanced programmers (without manufacturing skills) do not have the domain experience to create and write.

4) Employee engagement

One of the biggest problems facing the manufacturing industry is low levels of employee engagement. This affects productivity and business results. It’s no secret that companies with highly engaged employees perform better and report fewer safety incidents.

One solution to low employee engagement is mobile applications. They can facilitate better, faster communication between all workers, including those on the production floor, product engineers at their desks, and service repairmen who have direct contact with customers on site. Each group can have a digital voice within the organization. Such mobile apps should facilitate information sharing for community building, customer care and company success. Businesses will deliver value, improve results and increase customer satisfaction when the entire organization can collect, communicate and engage through such powerful mobile apps.

5) Manufacturing safety at the workplace

For all organizations, the safety and general health of their employees is non-negotiable. Although not widely known, mobile apps can play a critical role in workplace safety. Mobile apps can identify and log factory hazards, document workplace safety incidents accurately and timely, and train or notify employees about safety issues or procedures. These apps can facilitate high labor and occupational safety standards, ultimately improving the overall safety of workers. They ensure that appropriate safety procedures are followed and that any dangerous circumstances are dealt with before anyone is injured.

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Mobile apps can measure sound levels to avoid exposure to sounds harmful to human ears. They can calculate dangerous heat levels and provide information on chemical hazards. Similarly, mobile apps record inventories of PPE for workers and monitor worker injuries to monitor compensation. Some incident reporting apps with no-code/low-code applications allow field personnel to report any issues while recording GPS locations, videos, and images from the incident.

Mobile applications built with low-code/no-code platforms can help the manufacturing industry overcome obstacles it has faced for decades. By collecting accurate data, streamlining manufacturing processes, improving worker safety, addressing labor shortages, increasing employee engagement and increasing employee productivity, mobile applications help the manufacturing sector achieve the best business results.

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