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Manufacturing Mobility: The Key To Productivity

Edited by Staff Surveyed manufacturing IT decision-makers cite an increase in mobile solutions’ importance and found mobility applications save a daily average of 42 minutes per employee.

A recent research study commissioned by Motorola, Inc. found over seven in ten surveyed Information Technology (IT) decision-makers in the manufacturing industry looking to leverage mobile and wireless solutions to streamline operations.

The Motorola Enterprise Mobility Manufacturing Barometer surveyed more than 3,400 manufacturing IT decision makers in 14 countries across four continents, of which 80 percent said that mobility was more important for their organizations today than in 2008. This represents a nine percent increase from previous research, indicating that enterprise mobility applications continue to grow in importance as manufacturers look to boost operational efficiencies and increase productivity in the current macro-economic climate. 

The survey, designed to provide a benchmark measurement of the overall perception and usage of mobile and wireless technology solutions across a multitude of industries, found manufacturers with mobility applications saved a daily average of 42 minutes per employee.

Over one-quarter of those surveyed identified inventory/materials management and sales force applications as their organization’s top drivers for continued mobility investments. Key application investment on the shop floor was driven by inventory management, materials management, and process-oriented applications such as work-in-progress (WIP) tracking, human machine interface (HMI)/operator interface applications and quality control/quality assurance. 

The study also identified the rising demand for sales force and field service applications, with nearly 29 percent of surveyed enterprises using field service applications citing an increase in business revenues/sales results and 25 percent reporting an increase in customer/partner satisfaction. 

From a geographical perspective, all regions agreed that inventory management was a key mobile application for the manufacturing industry, while Asia Pacific highlighted the importance of customer-facing applications and the Americas and Europe touted sales force applications.

The survey shows manufacturers investing and leveraging wireless infrastructure and industry-specific devices see higher productivity for all workers, increased velocity of investment in raw materials and an increase in the accuracy and relevance of the real-time data they need to make better business decisions.

“With more than 60 percent of the surveyed manufacturing IT decision makers stating that their organization currently has a mobility strategy, it is clear that mobility is no longer viewed by manufacturing IT executives as the vision of the future but strategically important today,” said Jim Hilton, senior director, Global Manufacturing Solutions for Motorola Enterprise Mobility Solutions.

Survey respondents also provided feedback on emerging technologies and future mobility trends.

Manufacturers plan to increase the use of voice-over-WLAN (VoWLAN), fixed mobile convergence (FMC) and various asset management/asset maintenance solutions over the next 12 to 24 months. The study also found strong interest in rich media and video conferencing applications that allow manufacturers to realize additional efficiencies and increase workforce productivity. 

Respondents also indicated plans to expand the use of wireless LAN and wireless sensing technologies within both process and discrete manufacturing environments, allowing manufacturers to achieve process automation, efficiency, and agility without additional wired networking infrastructure investments.

Sales force applications lead the plans for new installations and upgrades in the Americas, while inventory management has the highest planned growth rate in Europe and streaming media and customer-facing applications are viewed equally important for the next wave of mobility in the manufacturing sector in Asia-Pacific.

Surveyed manufacturing IT decision makers cited total cost of ownership (TCO), return on investment (ROI) and internal rate of return (IRR) as the main tools to justify their organization’s mobility investments. More than 50 percent of surveyed enterprises utilizing an ROI analysis indicated they expect a return within 15 months of their initial investment.

Click for here more information on the Motorola Enterprise Mobility Manufacturing Barometer.

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