The ability to use mobile devices on factory floors and laboratories is transforming many aspects of manufacturing in highly-regulated manufacturing industries such as pharmaceutical, nutrition, and medical.
Regarding healthcare, mobile devices have become so common that there’s been rapid growth in the development of medical software apps. These apps assist health care professionals in communications and consulting, data and time management, health record maintenance and access, patient monitoring, education and training, and even clinical decision-making.
Many manufacturing companies have seen how mobile devices have revolutionized the healthcare industry and are now also leveraging mobile technology with the intent to use them increasingly in the monitoring of production and to ensure factory efficiency and safety.
In the past, computing and communications meant having to rely on multiple devices which included pagers, PDAs, and cellphones that could only make and receive calls. With today’s smartphones, you have all the capabilities of those electronics in one device. But beyond the ability to make voice calls and send texts, today’s smartphones and tablets have browsers, GPS, sound recorders, and high-quality cameras. And most importantly, access to industry-specific apps.
With smartphones and tablets, you can now capture data and get quality assistance from ultimately anywhere. The ability to capture everything from deviations during sampling and testing to calculating batch measurements in real-time means that non-conformance and corrective actions can be enforced almost immediately. Also, having offline capability to still capture data on mobile if there is no internet connection can help with situations where the factory floor doesn’t have good reception on the mobile device.
In manufacturing, the significant benefits of allowing workers to bring their mobile devices to the floor are giving them the ability to contact other employees, communicate with off-site personnel, and reference manufacturers’ documents. With mobile technologies, there is a significant improvement in logistics and supply chain coordination with suppliers. Customer responsiveness is enhanced thanks to the capability to integrate mobile CRM systems with order management, pricing, and fulfillment.
This improvement in efficiency is saving manufacturers significant sums of money each year. It may seem trivial when you think about how the reduction in time wasted between capturing the information and relaying it to the relevant people is a matter of minutes. However, consider how much valuable time is lost every year when you add up all those lost minutes that ultimately equate to hours, days, and weeks of misspent time. This could have easily been avoided if everyone was equipped with a mobile device that allows them to deliver up-to-the-minute data.
Factory environments are also becoming increasingly safer as workers have access to relevant and real-time data which traditionally, was confined to a desktop in the control room. Access to real-time adjustments and improvement in supplier traceability of critical materials means having the most accurate information, ensuring extra levels of safety and enhancement in quality levels.
Highly-regulated manufacturing industries such as medical products need to be constantly calibrated. With mobile-based sensors, data is captured and reported in real-time to production, allowing quality engineering teams to immediately act and ensure the floor is continuously in compliance.
Thanks to these realizations, manufacturing landscape is changing and CEOs are embracing digital transformation, prioritizing the importance of mobile technologies in the form of mobile apps and integrating them in their strategies, procedures, and processes to increase accuracy and speed to production centers. The goal is to deliver better communication, promote collaboration, and increase responsiveness to deadlines and delivery dates.