Mobility, Wearables, and the Manufacturing Enterprise

mobile technology illustration

As a manufacturer, you need visibility and control to keep quality high and costs low. Mobile and wearable technology offer the potential for more insight into what is happening on the plant floor, and provide your employees untethered access to important, job-critical data. But is the investment worth it? Or are mobile and wearable devices just another technology fad?

Leverage the Opportunity

Gartner predicts that wearables could help manufacturing personnel diagnose and repair problems more quickly, saving up to $1 billion annually. In PwC’s 2015 Annual Global CEO survey, mobility is one of the top three technology priorities among industrial manufacturing CEOs. The opportunity for manufacturing to leverage wearables in a broader sense is clearly present.

Look Beyond the Technology

When you are considering these technologies, however, you need to look beyond the technology and determine the value and role they will play in your manufacturing process. Ask yourself questions such as: Will the technology provide a two-way conversation within the employee’s ecosystem? Will it expand the quantity and quality of information? Will it improve the timeliness of information between automation and people? The answers to those questions could be “yes,” as many manufacturers are proving that these technologies are more than just hype.

Connect Any Device to Your ERP

Beyond just phones and tablets, manufacturers are using smart scanners to enter and track inventory and integrating tools that drive efficiency, such as smart glasses and augmented reality for heads-up display work instructions. Fisher & Company, a seated systems and mechanisms manufacturer, piloted a ring scanner paired with smart glasses, then added iBeacons for plant floor communication and hands-free workstation and material tracking. Other organizations are adding Microsoft HoloLens to their manufacturing process for on-the-job work instructions and maintenance.

The key to making mobile and wearable technology valuable to your manufacturing enterprise is access to pertinent data, at the right time, for the right users. Mobile devices coupled with ERP give users full access to both track and make changes—anywhere, anytime—to bill of materials (BOMs), plant floor and process measurements, orders, and more. Only a cloud ERP solution with mobility at its core—versus an add-on—can adapt to your market needs and innovations quickly.

Learn more by downloading the white paper, The State of Manufacturing Technology.

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