A manufacturing plant is, by nature, chaotic. The constant hum of machinery combines with dozens of technicians, quality control inspectors and thousands or even millions of items rolling off the assembly line. Manufacturing facilities require a high degree of precision if they’re going to maximize efficiency, and in today’s modern world, technology is key to achieving that precision. According to a Forbes article, eight in ten CEOs regard mobile technology as a “strategically important” element in their operations, with 86 percent categorizing mobile apps as a “competitive advantage” that’s “key to the success of their investments.”
Increasingly, business leaders are seeking customized mobile apps like GoPlant to streamline the manufacturing process. Originally developed for Form Automation Solutions, Inc., located on the edge of Dallas in Addison, Texas, this asset tracking and data collection app generates the data you need to make well-informed business decisions. GoPlant can be customized to suit manufacturing companies, along with businesses in industries such as utilities and power generation, water and wastewater processing and food/beverage.
But GoPlant illustrates just one of many potential uses for mobile apps in the manufacturing industry. So how can your company leverage mobile apps to streamline operations and maximize productivity?
How Mobile Technology is Impacting the Manufacturing Industry
Mobile apps come in many forms, and the right developer can create an application that performs nearly any task. Here is some of the emerging mobile app technology in the manufacturing sector:
- Integrating Mobile Apps with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software: A mobile app/CRM integration mobilizes your customer relationship management portal, making it possible to communicate with customers or process orders on the go. This is a major advantage since many manufacturing facilities and warehouses are so large that workers require golf carts, bikes and Segways to get around. Integration allows for faster order fulfillment and decreases response time on customer queries or concerns. A prompt response can go a long way toward maximizing sales or turning a one-time customer into a returning customer. And when a single order can translate into a sale worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, this type of app can noticeably impact your bottom line.
- Real-Time Inventory and Order Fulfillment Apps: For the past couple decades, manufacturers have used hand-held scanners to manage inventory and perform order fulfillment. But today, smartphone and tablet technology lets manufacturers use a single device to handle all tasks, whether it’s sending an email, attending a virtual meeting, fulfilling a customer’s order or taking inventory of stock. Using one device for multiple tasks saves money on hardware purchases, and a real-time inventory and order fulfillment mobile app allows your team to perform tasks while automatically updating your databases, order tracking software and website. The improved order accuracy and faster status notifications for orders will make customers happier. Plus, there’s no substitute for having a more up-to-date inventory database. You can avoid a missed sales opportunity due to an item being incorrectly labeled as out of stock or prevent a scenario where your sales team must contact a customer because the item they ordered online is discontinued.
- Using Mobile Apps to Generate Price Quotes: Manufacturers can deliver a price quote in moments with a configure, price and quote (CPQ) mobile app. This allows sales representatives to generate a quote while on a sales call or during a meeting with a prospective customer. The ability to provide an accurate price estimate is paramount, and according to Forbes, some manufacturers see a 70% conversion rate for prospective clients who receive a quote during or immediately after the sales pitch.
- Production Monitoring and Management Apps: Imagine you could program a production run from a remote location using your smartphone or tablet. With modern mobile apps and Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) technology, that’s absolutely possible. Say you’re meeting with a client to approve the mock-up for a manufacturing run. Simply input the specs and print-ready files into your device, and it beams the data to your IoT-enabled manufacturing equipment. The production run may be finished before you even arrive back at headquarters. A shorter production time means higher customer satisfaction and more money in cases where you can justify adding a surcharge for expedience.
- Connecting With the IoT for Real-Time Machinery Monitoring and Repairs: Just a few minutes of downtime can impact your manufacturing facility’s bottom line, so it’s vital that your technicians are alerted immediately when a piece of machinery or equipment goes offline. What’s more, mobile apps give you the ability to tap into the sensors you’ve installed as part of your IoT interface, enabling your team to identify machinery needing preventative maintenance or servicing. Most equipment sees a slight decrease in output (or the quality of that output) as parts begin to wear, while other parts wear out after a certain number of usage hours. You can configure your IoT sensors to issue an alert when this happens, so your techs can perform maintenance between production runs or at another time when it won’t harm your bottom line. Adding mobile integration to the equation allows for a faster response time, and the facility can resume operations within moments of the repair.
There are many uses for mobile apps for supply chain and shipping logistics, too. Apps can manage inventory, track items and ship the right items to the right location. These are areas of equal concern for companies that handle both manufacturing and distributing those manufactured goods.
Getting Started With Developing a Manufacturing Industry Mobile App
As you begin developing a customized mobile app, consider the following points:
- What problems are you trying to solve?
- What functions do you need the app to perform?
- What existing systems or technology does the app need to interact with?
The app development company will need this information to determine if they’re well-suited for your project and create project specs and a price quote.
The right mobile app can transform your manufacturing company since you’ll have a tool to manage your inventory, interact with your facility’s IoT and connect with customers more effectively. But to build the perfect application, you need a developer with experience in this niche. This is where Dallas-based SevenTablets can help.
Dallas is home to over 10,000 corporate facilities, including manufacturing plants for companies such as Texas Instruments, Haggar Clothing and Dean Foods. SevenTablets is situated in the heart of this thriving industrial and business center, and our work with local clients has provided us with the insight required to develop user-friendly mobile apps for manufacturing companies and industrial clients. We also create B2B and B2C apps for clients in the healthcare industry, energy companies and the financial sector.
Our apps feature military-grade security. We also help you cut costs by upwards of 35 to 40 percent in many cases and shorten the development timeframe using our open source platform, STAX, which provides pre-made frontend and backend infrastructure elements. So whether you need a photo editing app, sales tracking app for the financial and insurance industry or a real estate app, our talented team of mobile developers is happy to help. Contact us today to discuss your development project.
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Shane earned a B.S. at Texas A&M (whoop!) and studied mathematics as a graduate student at Southern Methodist University.