With all the advancements in technology I am still humbled by the sheer fact that you can pick up a land line telephone and instantly chat with someone across the globe. Now, we have fiber optics, satellites, and many other instant wireless communications device that create a no-excuse mentality in today’s society. If we have access to all of these great features, what is holding the manufacturing companies back from optimizing the same? We feel it’s only a matter of time.
When contemplating any sort of upgrade, change, etc. the first thing you should typically do is to weigh the pros and cons. Currently, there are a lot of drawbacks in jumping into the smart-era with both feet in. Prices have reduced significantly with the saturation of the market, but you’re still going to be paying around $199/phone and about $500 per tablet… these numbers are not necessarily chump change. Next, are you really going to want your welders, machine specialists, and floor managers carrying around these expensive devices in potentially hazardous areas? There is a lot of risk for accidents and replacements. This point brings me to my next; smart devices are still in the very early stages of ERP software capabilities. These devices and their applications are ways away from becoming fully optimized and integrated within system abilities. Lastly, a whole new round of training will need to take place, in order to bridge any gaps in system to application variances.
Now, don’t be overwhelmed by these ‘cons’, as they are only negatives, momentarily, and will soon transfer from the dark side. Let’s discuss why. We spoke about the pricing of the devices and how they are still at a premium for business models (business meaning size/speed capacity). While they are high, recent acquisitions of Motorola, by Google, and other competition will soon supply a buyers’ market. Do your research now and keep up on the advancements so you won’t have to learn it all in one large sum. Next, yes, there is no way around the risk of these devices on your shop floor, however, there are specialized casings that are meant to protect and most have backed insurance plans (at a premium, of course) that are worth the coverage. Finally, software is still at the trial-and-error stage, but getting ahead of the curve and taking advantage or certain features might be worth jumping in early. This will also save you from multiple, in-depth, training sessions keeping you up on the latest advancements while still giving you flexibility of running your floor through wireless.
You can battle between the pros and cons, going back and forth, but the main idea is simple. We will soon have the opportunity to run our manufacturing companies and shop floors remotely; from being literally on the floor and in your offices, dialing up reports without having to bounce around from department to department, or building to building, to being at home, on the road, or on vacation and not have to worry about bottlenecks or waiting on others to send YOU reports. Soon you will be able to keep tabs on all major jobs, projects, etc. remotely and wirelessly. For the time being, the programming just isn’t ready nor is it financially justifiable. However, in the very near future, this will be the standard for all manufacturing companies, big or small.Posted by Jason Rourke, Marketing Manager, ProfitKey International