Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Backstory: Leveraging mobile devices in the manufacturing industry

February 7, 2017
By Mitch Black MOBI

Feb. 7, 2017 – Despite initial hesitation and slower adoption, the use of mobile devices in the manufacturing industry is picking up speed. With a growing need to make tighter deadlines and hit quicker turnaround times, manufacturing companies are turning towards mobile technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help increase efficiencies and reduce downtime.

Manufacturing is experiencing an increasing mobile-first client base and growing workforce demands. To keep up with customer deliverables and “always on, always available” attitudes, manufacturers are integrating programs to encourage the use of mobile devices at work. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs allow employees to use the device of their choice when accessing company data, applications and networks. Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) programs provide employees with company-approved devices that already have management solutions.

IoT incorporation is also improving manufacturing workplace efficiencies. By offering better insight into specific lines of business and applications, IoT allows manufacturers to transform real-time information into actionable intelligence.

These innovations allow for greater visibility and information access. However, manufacturing companies need to ensure new device models or operating systems are supported. Without support, software may never be updated or patched after installation, resulting in downtime or worse.

Security is also a primary concern; major losses can be incurred if mobile devices are poorly managed/maintained, or if employees are unaware of what they should and shouldn’t be accessing. According to Deloitte, 40 per cent of manufacturing companies were affected by cybersecurity incidents within the past year, and 38 per cent of those impacted suffered damages in excess of $1 million. While companies are more willing to implement IoT today, AT&T found 90 per cent of organizations lack full confidence in their IoT security.

Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), when combined with Managed Mobility Services (MMS), offers companies the ability to push security/system updates to devices, as well as real-time remote device wiping, tracking, and geofencing. As mobile devices and IoT become more popular within manufacturing, so will EMM and MMS. Benefits will continue to grow as manufacturing becomes more comfortable incorporating mobility into the workplace. In the meantime, EMM and MMS will make sure current devices protect company data while giving employees the access they need.

As president of MOBI, Mitch Black leads the company’s go-to market strategy and organization, contributing to the overall growth and operations. He has 20 years of experience in other executive positions in the mobility industry.

This column was originally published in the January/February 2017 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION.

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