In the consumer world, there’s an app for everything. Want to check your kid’s team schedule? There’s an app for that. Need directions? There’s an app for that too. Want to check tomorrow’s weather? Ditto. You get the picture. Apps are everywhere, and for good reason. They make things easy—and not just in your personal life. In the last several years, apps have become more and more ingrained in business processes.
In manufacturing, apps are becoming more and more prevalent as rugged handheld devices continue to take on the user-friendly attributes of consumer-grade devices. There are apps to track everything from inventory to time and attendance—digitizing many formerly paper-based functions, enabling a much more mobile workforce, streamlining processes, and increasing shop-floor to top-floor visibility.
As noted in Manufacturing Business Technology, apps drive intelligence which can
- Improve uptime,
- Improve quality,
- Reduce costs,
- Facilitate predictive maintenance,
- Reduce operator entry/errors,
- And more.
There are not too many limits on what you can do with an app either. When there isn’t one available that can do exactly what you want right out of the box, there are custom developers like our team here at The SMS Group who can help you achieve your exact objective.
So how, specifically, can apps help? Read on.
Shipping & Receiving
- Scan and update delivery status—Capture inventory as soon as it is received and send automatic push notifications to areas waiting on the delivery
- Quickly and easily report damaged or missing goods to both your supplier and your team members waiting downstream
- Make pick lists
- Track containers
- Pack verification
- And more
Time & Attendance
- Record time worked
- Submit time entries
- Manage and approve time sheets
- Publish schedules and shifts
Inventory & Asset Tracking
- Perform cycle counts
- Get real-time updates on inventory levels across multiple locations
- Set automated alerts customized to your business needs—e.g. orders exceed inventory
Inspection & Maintenance
- Monitor equipment uptime/ downtime
- Identify causes of downtime
- Increase productivity with mobile work orders, client history records, and more
- Create and use prompts, reminders, and checklists to ensure procedures are followed consistently
In many instances, apps can also assist with training new and seasonal employees. According to a white paper published by Zebra, training these workers on legacy keyboard-based interfaces can take up to two to four days, while in most cases training on more modern touch-centric applications can be reduced down to several hours.
In short, wherever they are used throughout the warehouse or distribution center, mobile apps speed up information processing, reduce miscommunications, and increase transparency from one department or job function to the next. And, the more integrated the systems, the more business intelligence there is to be gained.
If you’re looking for a partner to guide you through your app development or systems integration processes, get in touch with The SMS Group. Our team can help you find the right systems, lead you through the process of purchase and installation, and make sure that your applications make the most of today’s technology. Contact us online to learn more or call 937-498-2700.