- 81% of CEOs see mobile technologies as being strategically important for their enterprises.
- The top three technology priorities of industrial manufacturing CEOs are mobility (73%), cybersecurity (72%) and data mining and analysis (70%).
- 86% of CEOs say a clear vision of how digital technologies including mobile can create competitive advantage is key to the success of their investments.
These and many other insights are from PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey (free, no opt in). The report provides insights into the priorities, plans and technology adoption trends of CEOs for 2015. Based on interviews with 1,322 CEOs located in 77 countries, the survey provides valuable insights into the strategic direction enterprises are taking with technology investments. The following two graphics from the report illustrate the strategic importance CEOs are placing on mobile technologies in 2015:
Exploring How Mobility Is Revolutionizing Manufacturing
CEOs prioritizing the strategic importance of mobile technologies are driving a revolution in manufacturing today. Designing mobility into new production strategies, processes and procedures is bringing greater accuracy & speed to production centers. Augmenting existing processes with mobility is delivering solid efficiency gains. The net result is greater communication, collaboration and responsiveness to customer-driven deadlines and delivery dates than has been possible before. Manufacturers are staying away from BYOD on the shop floor due to security, scalability and support challenges. Instead, the focus is on how to standardize on industrial-grade mobile devices including tablets designed for manufacturing environments.
Based on my visits with manufacturers, here are the ten ways they are using mobility to revolutionize manufacturing:
- Integrating mobile CRM systems with distributed order management, pricing and fulfillment to improve customer responsiveness. Providing information to sales teams, prospects and customers when, where and how they need it is driving greater mobile CRM adoption. Respecting prospects’ time and delivering a real-time response can make the difference between making a sale or not.
- Generating quotes for build-to-order products that reflect the latest pricing and delivery dates available. A VP of Sales at a local manufacturer told me that when his team delivers the first complete quote immediately following in-depth discussions with a prospect, they win 70% of the time. Mobile integration of their configure, price and quote (CPQ) system to pricing and inventory systems makes it possible for a sales rep to get a complete quote done and delivered within hours of leaving a prospect.
- Making distributed order management more transparent to sales while increasing order fulfillment accuracy. The more complex the product being built, the more the purchasing and procurement teams on the customer side want updates. One global leader in high tech distribution created a series of mobile applications their sales reps give to customers so they can request order status, delivery dates and configure order alerts that are delivered 24/7, anywhere in the world. The result: 76% reduction in order status calls to the enterprise sales teams and 13% increase in sales the first six months these apps were available.
- Improving supplier traceability and quality levels using real-time analysis and reporting. Too often quality systems and processes are manually integrated or isolated from manufacturing systems. Mobility is starting to have an impact here, making it possible for supplier traceability, quality, non-conformance & corrective action (NC/CA), corrective and preventative action (CAPA), Statistical Process Control (SPC) and genealogy traceability data to be immediately made available plant-wide. Forward-thinking manufacturers are using this data to benchmark suppliers in real-time, all over mobile devices.
- Replacing manually-intensive inventory management systems with enterprise-wide mobile inventory tracking, traceability and reporting systems. An aerospace manufacturer producing mid-range personal and commercial aircraft is using an enterprise-wide mobile inventory tracking, traceability and reporting system. This manufacturer has worked so closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) they can now report production status to the work instruction level electronically, saving thousands of hours a year in government-mandated reporting paperwork. Mobility is saving this manufacturer thousands of hours and dollars a year.
- Monitoring production workflow performance using dashboards accessible from mobile devices. A build-to-order engine manufacturers in the rust belt of the United States found that to complete just one customized engine, the entire order traveled six miles inside the building. By integrating mobile-based systems to provide real-time updates and propagate data through the production center, four miles was trimmed off the typical order workflow, saving two weeks of production time.
- Tracking machine-level compliance and providing alerts to production engineering when maintenance is required. In highly regulated manufacturing industries including medical products, production machinery and systems need to be regularly calibrated to stay in compliance. Manufacturers are starting to use mobile-based sensors to capture this data and report it in real time. Production and quality engineering teams get the alerts immediately and can plan on how to keep an entire shop floor continuously in compliance.
- Reducing Field Service call cancellations and delays by accurately communicating parts and staffing requirements. There is nothing more frustrating from a customer’s perspective than waiting for a field service technician to show up, only to find they don’t have the necessary parts or were told the problem was completely different than the one that needs to be solved. Cloud-based mobile platforms show significant potential here. Combining emerging mobile platforms with service optimization apps, manufacturers can get the right technician to the right customer problem with the right parts the first time.
- Improving logistics and supply chain coordination with suppliers using mobile technologies. Manufacturers whose business models rely on rapid inventory turns, tight production schedules and thin margins are the leading early adopters of mobile technologies for logistics and supply chain coordination. High tech hardware manufacturers are a case in point, as are many distributors whose business models are shifting to value-added services over pick, pack and ship operations.
- Making Manufacturing Intelligence the new normal in production operations. The CFO at a well-known auto parts manufacturer told me recently that her greatest challenge is taking shop floor data and interpolating it to financial results fast. Mobility is helping with the data collection, and this manufacturer is using advanced pattern detection and predictive analytics to get in front of production cost trends. Their financial models also include cost analysis, cost formulation tools, cost and defective monitoring analysis and comparative financial analysis tools. All of these can be accessed from a secured tablet by her and her staff anytime.
Bottom line: Mobility is forcing manufacturers to compete in their prospects’ and customers’ timeframes while delivering greater value in less time than before.