The use of smartphones and mobile devices, in general, has brought great changes to our daily life. Outside of work, we could not do without them, but they can also provide benefits in the work environment. According to a report cited by the influential magazine, Forbes, and reported by Bridgr Insights, within the first six months of the introduction of the mobile device a commercial in a operational setting, the positive effect on turnover can reach a growth of +13%.

What about production? Let’s try to understand together what are the benefits of using mobile devices, what is the best strategy for adopting them and how to choose the most suitable tools.

Mobile devices: can you still do without them?

If digitization has led to an increasingly complete dematerialization of the processes and therefore to an increasingly widespread use of digital documents, replacing paper documents, this process would not be complete without the use of mobile device. Mobile devices represent a fundamental innovation given that they facilitate communication and speed up Decision-making and reaction ability (Execution).  

Fixed devices are still necessary, that’s true, but there are many work situations in which it is more important to be able to communicate with flexibility, from anywhere. In short, as the international analysts show us, the use of smartphones or similar devices in production environments constitute one of the linchpins of Industry 4.0.

 

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The benefits of using mobile devices

The advantages of using mobile devices are mainly related to performance and internal processes.

Increase in performance

Imagine being able to know any time and any where how production is progressing. It is clear that having available all the information in real time is fundamental for being able to manage problems quickly. If this is one of the aspects of greatest value of a completely digitized production environment, the use of the mobile device makes it possible to take even greater advantage of Industry 4.0. Some indicators to watch when adopting a mobile device - for which the companies registered most improvements - are the individual productivity of the employee, reduction in errors and downtime.

Simplification of the work

Mobile devices play a fundamental role in every day work. Since they are always close at hand, they can be used anywhere in the plant (provided, obviously, that it is safe to do so) and are therefore important in situations in which there are problems or inexperience. For example, it is one thing to have available paper manuals collected in files positioned in specific points of the factory. It entirely different to be able to quickly access all the guidelines necessary just with a touch on a  smartphone or tablet if you have it with you. Even more efficient is viewing tutorial videos while working, directly applying what is viewed. This is how work becomes simpler, faster and more efficient.

A three-step strategy towards the mobile device

If you think that the time has come for your company to start using mobile devices for business purposes, this three step guideline could be useful for you:

  1. Increase the applications which can be reached by mobile device: in the first place, it is necessary to slowly extend everything that can be done by desktops to mobile devices. Some examples are the approval of requests, access to performance indicators or monitoring of the plant.
  2. Increase the capabilities of the existing mobile applications: the second step is to add new functions to the mobile apps, taking advantage of the specific features of mobile devices. For example, capturing images, bar code scanning, voice commands or geolocation.
  3. Increase the exchange of internal information (and at the same time also their speed): the last step concerns the complete integration of the mobile devices in internal processes, as enabling element to radically modify how the work is carried out.

And if the classic devices are not allowed?

For reasons of safety, traditional mobile devices cannot be included in certain production contexts, for example, those that are flammable or sterile. Think, for example, of chemical or biological laboratories. No worry, the innovation of Industry 4.0 does not end. In fact, there are specific devices designed for these environments. To check which are suitable tools, you can refer to the ATEX (ATmosphères EXplosibles) certification, in other words, the legislation of the European Union that regulates the equipment that can be used in places with risk of explosion.

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