Manufacturers Are Tech-ing Up — But is That Enough?
For years, the manufacturing industry was seemingly always behind in terms of technology. Companies were operating off the older processes and systems that the generation before had used to keep production moving forward. However, change is in full swing as manufacturers adopt new technologies and trends like IoT and others to make their facilities, supply chains, and internal processes more efficient, productive, and intelligent.
This industry-wide shift isn’t anything new, either. In fact, research from IDC predicts that 75 percent of manufacturers will update their operations with IoT and analytics-based situational awareness by the end of 2019. Needless to say, the focus that manufacturers have on digitally transforming their businesses is strong.
However, connected, intelligent facilities are just one of the many efforts that manufacturers are using to achieve digital transformation. There’s still the people component: the technology that employees use to access enterprise data, generate business items like invoices and reports, and provide better customer service can make a meaningful difference in their operations.
Manufacturers often have multiple platforms for these functions, such as an ERP, CRM, eCommerce system, or other databases. But simply having them in place to collect and view enterprise data does not constitute a digital transformation. There are many definitions of this term, but in general, a digital transformation is the complete change of a business and its processes to make the most of digital technologies in order to accelerate their impact — with future shifts kept in mind.
One of the most immediate ways manufacturers can achieve this is by mobilizing their enterprise data. This includes data that companies are generating internally (production performance and goals, financial data, customer information, etc.) as well as data generated from beyond the four walls (customer orders, order tracking, service orders, and so on). But just as having an ERP or CRM doesn’t constitute a digital transformation, simply having a mobility solution in place doesn’t truly constitute one, either.
So how can companies best use mobile data in manufacturing to achieve digital transformation? It’s how technology helps manufacturers use that data, and how it helps to advance the business.
How to Put Your Mobile Data to Work in Manufacturing
One of the best and fastest ways you can make use of mobile data in manufacturing is by using the systems you already have in place. Take an ERP for example. If you’re using Infor VISUAL, Epicor ERP, or Prophet 21, digital transformation stipulates that you make the most of that data to propel your organization forward. To do that, you need a system that integrates with the platforms you’re already working with.
Through integration, you can develop a mobile layer on top of your existing platforms to put data into employees’ hands — whether they’re on the floor or in the field. More importantly, data from multiple systems can be mashed into a single application so all sources are effectively speaking with one another to provide critical information, even if the separate systems themselves don’t offer a direct integration between them.
The benefit of integration and data mash-up is providing your team (and also your customers) with the knowledge that they need, wherever they are, and right when they need it. This is becoming a critical business requirement. More and more companies are beginning to offer field service, which means those remote workers need access to data to do their jobs well and to meet business objectives. This translates into faster service, increased revenue opportunities, stronger customer satisfaction, cleaner data at the enterprise level, and better reporting and decision-making for leaders.
Field sales teams can benefit from utilizing mobile data in their manufacturing sales processes as well. Being remote, they can easily retrieve valuable customer data wherever they are, order new inventory for customers, generate invoices, check order statuses, and trigger tasks for other business teams to start working. This ensures that orders are never missed due to a lack of connectivity (and when there isn’t a connection, a solution that offers an offline mode will be beneficial) or a forgotten email or handwritten note.
Employees aren’t the only ones that can take advantage of mobile data in manufacturing. Customers can, too. Application development platforms like Bezlio allow manufacturers to set up portals that connect customers with the information they’re looking for. As a manufacturer, this would include information stored in an ERP or CRM that is safe for public viewing. And thanks to a secure data transfer process, data is kept safe at all times. Low code requirements also enable easy development, eliminating the need to hire a costly outside development company or an internal developer or team.
Bezlio Makes Mobile Data in Manufacturing Better Than Ever
Digital transformation is not a trend — it’s a necessity. Manufacturers across the globe are leveraging mobile data to make their operations more efficient, connected, and productive. To remain competitive, your manufacturing organization must do the same. But remember, platforms themselves don’t equate to digital transformation. It’s how those various technologies work together to keep your organization moving forward.
Bezlio was built to help manufacturers put their enterprise tools to greater, more effective, and more widespread use. Built for today’s increasingly mobile and distributed workforces, Bezlio allows manufacturing employees — internal and remote — to utilize their own devices to read and write enterprise data 24/7.
More and more manufacturers are leveraging our platform for field service, field sales, and more, and it’s helping them succeed. Don’t allow your business to follow the industry trend of being a few to even several years behind in terms of technology. Be part of the push forward: the new trend of leveraging technology to enhance mobility and data access to take your manufacturing operations to a new level of competitiveness and efficiency.
ADAM ELLIS, CO-FOUNDER & CEO
Adam Ellis is the Chief Executive Officer of Bezlio and one of four co-founders. Adam is a lifelong entrepreneur and has extensive ERP and mobile software knowledge through his consulting and management experience. He has a passion for exploring innovative ideas and how they can change the status quo. Connect with Adam on LinkedIn to learn more about his involvement in the ERP space.