Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Upper Hand: Combining Mobility and Flexibility

The Upper HandMany shop floor employees and supervisors are responsible for a broad work area. That means they need access to specifications and drawings at various sites around the plant, they need to move around with the work instructions and they need to be able to enter data wherever they happen to be. Any lost time can delay production and have a direct impact on a company’s bottom line. A survey conducted by Motorola concluded that “manufacturers with mobile applications saved a daily average of 42 minutes per employee.” The study also found that “7 in 10 IT decision-makers in the manufacturing industry were looking to leverage mobile and wireless solutions to streamline operations.”

Although a tablet on the shop floor has much of the same functionality as a wired PC, there are a few distinct advantages.  First and foremost, it’s mobile. Employees and supervisors can view work instructions, collect data, and manage non-conformances, missing parts or incomplete information anywhere on the shop floor instantly. This eliminates non-value add walk-around time and possible delays in production. Second, the ease-of-use barrier is dramatically reduced. Touch screens make the software much more intuitive and approachable. Shop floor personnel can browse detailed multi-media work instructions and enter data with a finger touch rather than going to a keyboard.  Third, tablets reduce costs. Tablets require less hardware and infrastructure enhancements than traditional laptops or wired PCs, adding value to your bottom line. The future of paperless manufacturing might just be in the palm of your hand.

What is your company doing to gain the upper hand?