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Mobility Trends

Mobility in Manufacturing: Moving Beyond Monitoring

This post is guest authored by Reid Paquin, Research Analyst Manufacturing at Aberdeen Group.

With the massive amount of manufacturing data that is collected and stored, it can be difficult to find the information you need, when you need it. Mobility is one tool that manufacturers have started to turn to address parts of the data problem by giving employees access to information right at their fingertips. Mobility can provide great value to a manufacturer, recent Aberdeen research shows that manufacturers that employ mobility saw 7% higher operating margins and 4% higher Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) than those manufacturers with no mobility. However, leading manufacturers are starting to break from the pack by enabling mobile usage to dynamically interact with their processes.

Both the Best-in-Class and All Others do a good job of utilizing mobile devices to help with data collection (60% and 50% of respondents respectively), a great way to bypass paper-based systems, which saves time and improves data quality. However, there are many scenarios on the plant floor where an integrated mobility strategy would be even more beneficial. Let’s explore two areas of manufacturing that Aberdeen has seen as early adopters of effective mobility use - Environment, Health, and Safety (EH&S) and Asset Management.

Environment, Health, and Safety (EH&S)

The speed at which incidents are handled is critical to reducing their impact and scope. Mobility can be a powerful tool if an incident occurs. Tasks can be created, emails sent out to those who need be alerted, and a report produced immediately. Also, a worker can upload images, voice recordings, or even videos to fully document the incident. The longer an issue remains, the higher the chance reoccurrence. This is also a great way to be able to record near-miss incidents in a timely manner, giving an organization the opportunity to monitor and analyze these events, which are leading indicators of a company's safety performance.

Asset Management

Proper Asset Management is all about ensuring your assets run as intended and limiting unscheduled asset downtime. Management of Change is fundamental to proper Asset Management, especially in the process industry, where a change in operating procedures could cascade into an adverse event. Traditionally, change management relies on an outdated, paper-based system. This type of system brings a heightened risk of error because there is no guarantee that the information will be entered into the database. With mobility, workers can view prior changes, submit change requests, and have these requests approved by the proper channels, all from a mobile device, removing the need to travel back and forth between work sites and a dispatch center.  It is no surprise that this is the area that the Best-in-Class have the largest advantage over their peers.

In addition, the Best-in-Class are twice as likely to provide their workers the ability to conduct safety analyses like Job Hazard Analysis prior starting their tasks. These tools are essential in many industries, like Oil and Gas, Utilities, and Mining, as assets are often not easily accessible or in hazardous environments.

Mobility is Here, Take Full Advantage

The real benefit of mobility in manufacturing is in the fact that it can be extended into every area of your operations, not just the two highlighted in this blog, allowing you to improve the entire business and achieve new levels of productivity. However, you need to take the next step with your mobile initiatives and go beyond data monitoring and start integrating into the manufacturing process.

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