The issues facing the manufacturing industry today are intense competition, shrinking margins, mass customization needs, productivity of workforce, innovative ways to market products and changing dynamics of user profile (read emergence of consumers in emerging markets). Manufacturers will increasingly look to harness technology to:
- Create product platforms that can be customized
- Optimize and dynamically assemble inventory for a JIT product manufacturing capability
- Reach out to customers to demonstrate products
- Service-enable their product offerings to keep up with usage life cycles of products
As a consequence of these needs, 5 key mobility trends have emerged. They are:
1) Convergence around mobility platform
With the proliferation of devices and rapid evolution of network capacity (at relatively low costs) with 3G and 4G telecom networks, options available for corporate IT and business teams to leverage personal devices will rise. This will lead to increased demand for and adoption of solutions like VDI, BYOD and home-office. The manufacturing workforce and the need for higher employee productivity will drive demand for mobility tools and technology
2) Cloud will be the platform for Enterprise Mobility
Massively scalable cloud infrastructure that will support applications and data needed to support wide proliferation of devices and data appears to be the only conceivable enterprise architecture of the future. The convergence of mobility and cloud promises to be the next wave of technology investments for manufacturers.
3) Supply and inventory management
Mobility solutions enabled with M2M sensor technologies help in inventory and product tracking. A mobility solution aimed at stock managers and distribution center operations (inventory picking) greatly improves productivity with activities such as 'inventory picking'. This can enable real time inventory management while reducing errors due to manual data entry.
4) Sales Force Automation and workflow management for faster decision making
The most common use-case of enterprise mobility technology in manufacturing is in deploying mobile CRM solutions. In addition, solutions aimed at improved sales productivity and customer satisfaction can be deployed for tracking customer feedbacks, field-service team collaboration and product demonstrations.
5) Mobile will become primary platform for Enterprise apps
Mobile solutions will be the target platforms most enterprise applications will be built to support. Most business applications will be designed to support mobility. This will call for consistency and standardization of mobile strategies including management and monitoring of enterprise data with necessary security controls.
An in depth analysis of mobility trends in manufacturing is available at /documents/Mobility_in_Manufacturing.pdf