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How often do you hear the term, “productivity in manufacturing?” This term is often tossed about and misunderstood to mean making more than anyone else. Today we will talk about how supply chain mobility will aid in this pursuit, but first let’s take a look at what it means to manufacturers.

According to Merriam-Webster, productivity is defined as:

1. The quality or state of being productive.

However, productive is defined as:

1. Doing or achieving a lot: working hard and getting good results.

2. Producing or able to produce something, especially in large amounts.

3. Causing or resulting in something.

Each of these definitions applies to a manufacturer’s ability to produce a surplus of a product. However, modern manufacturing is not about creating surplus inventories, but creating the right amount of product, at the right time, for the right consumer- the Holy Trinity of Manufacturing. And in today’s modern world, supply chain mobility is quickly driving more efficient productivity. 

Imagine if the typical definitions of productive were applied to manufacturing. It would lead to an insinuation of a warehouse full of product. Unfortunately, the product would move slowly, if at all, which drives costs for manufacturers and irate reviews of the products in terms of customer satisfaction. So, how does a manufacturer increase productivity while maintaining the Holy Trinity of Manufacturing? The answer is probably in your pocket, if not in your hand, your smartphone.

Wireless Companies Will Continue to Push the Market and Capabilities Forward

As explained in a recent interview, “2016 Telecommunications Industry Outlook,” with Craig Wigginton, vice chairman of Deloitte & Touche LLP, “mobile devices and related broadband connectivity continue to be more and more embedded in the fabric of society today. Preliminary analysis of smartphone sales in the US indicate more than 120 million smartphones will be purchased, sold, or traded in 2016.

Additionally, the next generation of wireless network technologies, otherwise known as 5G technology, is expected to start entering the market in 2016. However, the official rollout of the 5G technology is not expected to take place until sometime in 2017. Today, more smartphone manufacturers are creating smartphones with built-in Near Field Communications (NFC) chips, also known as RFID, which is further driving the push towards the use of point-of-sale technologies through the smartphone.

As a direct result of increasing technologies in the consumer-driven world of mobile connectivity, the use of mobile technologies in manufacturing will continue to increase. This surge will spike with the introduction of carrier- and third-party logistics provider-specific apps, which will integrate with an existing company’s warehouse management system, transportation management system, enterprise resource planning system, and other legacy systems. Naturally, this implies a host of operations to form this connection, which leads to the use of machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity.

Machine-To-Machine Connectivity, the Internet of Things, and M2M Sensors

Scott the Internet of Things at length, but many manufacturers fail to think about how supply chain mobility is driving your supply and inventory management. Although the Internet of Things helps to maintain the uptime and enhance productivity in manufacturing, that represents only a small portion of the order fulfillment process. After all, the consumer wants to know where the product it, and the manufacturer needs to be able to track every movement of the product. Unfortunately, errors due to manual entry, inefficient processes, or poor customer communication can lead to lost orders, lost costs, and problems in the supply chain.

The use of mobile connectivity technologies, such as Bluetooth enabled devices, RFID sensors, NFC technology, temperature sensors, and many others, is helping to shape how a given product moves from manufacturing to shipment to the consumer. In fact, approximately 73 percent of surveyed manufacturers plan to continue investing in supply chain mobility, asserts a Deloitte study. Yet, this does not even scratch the surface of how mobile-enabled devices (smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches) are shaping manufacturing.

Mobile Devices and Employees in Manufacturing

The next age of manufacturing worker movie made up of millennials, asserts Maria Montenegro of Verizon.  Millennials have grown up in an era of technology, mobility, and immediate results.  Well versed in the use of social media, the internet, collaboration tools, such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Skype, millennials have an intricate understanding of how important supply chain mobility and mobile enabled devices have become in the modern world.

For manufacturers, banning the use of mobile devices seems logical. However, mobile devices are part of modern manufacturing, and more manufacturers are looking to embrace the use of these technologies in the work environment. For example, some manufacturers may be using apps too truck order movements comic provide status alerts on an employee’s current physical health in extreme temperatures, or provide real-time updates on an employee’s location.

each of these measures is not a means of a company penetrating an employee’s life. Instead, these are means of improving the productivity of the employees, which inherently translate to better recognition of workmanship, dedication, and skill set, as well as a host of other professional skills, as des. However, manufacturers must also think about the use of mobility for customer service and sales.

Supply Chain Mobility For Customer Service and Sales

Traditional customer service and sales required long hours in the office, the transport of huge volumes of product materials, and lots of legwork. However, mobility is changing this concept. As explained by Madhavan Krishnan, applying mobile solutions to a manufacturer’s CRM has become one of the favored forms of using mobile devices in manufacturing. Similarly, the use of mobile technologies is allowing manufacturers to enhance production on the basis of customer feedback, customer service requests homo and even in the field of reverse logistics.

After worldwide demand for more products, at any time, and at lower costs continues to grow, the use of mobile technologies in manufacturing will thrive. the age of leaving the smartphone at home is ending, and mobile devices are replacing the endless, physical paper trail in manufacturing, which is only going to further boost supply chain and manufacturing productivity in 2016. Take a look at some of the other interesting facts in this infographic, “Mobility in Manufacturing: Streamlined Productivity.”

Infographic: How Supply Chain Mobility is Driving Manufacturing Productivity

supply chain mobility in manufacturing