Are mobile Apps becoming more prevalent in the Electronics Manufacturing landscape?
I recently came across a survey at Manufacturing Business Technology magazine by Canvas:
The article states “…The survey points to an increasingly mobile manufacturing workforce that is looking to extend more day-to-day business processes to their mobile devices”. The key areas of mobile device usage seem to be in the inspection of goods areas (48%). Although this survey is more generic in nature and not specific to electronics manufacturing, I would argue that Quality Inspection, Inventory Management, WIP Management, and Test areas are ideal candidates to deploy mobile app devices. Locations where data collection is vital to maintaining visibility, aggregating metrics, and feeding manufacturing operational intelligence should be areas of focus. In addition, real time feedback to the end-user, such that critical quality and management decisions can be made, in-process quality may be implemented and a dramatic reduction of paperwork, manual entry can be achieved are additional reasons these specific areas of focus should be addressed by all electronic manufacturers. In addition to Valor’s MSS technology that can provide these capabilities, factories are many times looking for internal resources to develop such capability. Thorough analysis of cost of ownership should be done before deciding on approaching vendors or developing internally. Are there many electronics manufacturers implementing mobile apps and devices on their factory floor? Yes! However, this push seems to be more prevalent in Europe than in the US right now.
So, how does this fit into the Internet of Things?
Internet of Things (commonly abbreviated as IoT) is used to denote advanced connectivity of devices, systems and services that goes beyond the traditional machine-to-machine (M2M) and covers a variety of protocols, domains and applications. – defined by Wikipedia. I’ve been thinking about how the mobile manufacturing workforce may be extended so that more connected devices are deployed and all types of equipment may feed data-aggregation strategies of business intelligence to drive manufacturing excellence (at Cost, in Quality, on Time). Some examples may include equipment that order material on its own, when levels are low, or kanban levels that drive shop orders for refill. With the expected upcoming announcement by Apple of their MFi Certification project, I believe there will be more push to have connectivity between ‘wares’, and that should creep into the manufacturing space as well.
I’m sure there are others who believe as I do, that it’s only a matter of time before the value of business intelligence and push for manufacturing excellence will drive more mobility and connectivity in the competitive manufacturing workspace.
I’m eager to hear your thoughts and ideas!