Location independence has been a long-time coming for manufacturing, and a complete takeover is now upon us thanks to the accelerated disruption of the past two years. This means there are anywhere workers and anywhere things in abundance, making for anywhere operations at any time. And very few manufacturers need further convincing to get on board: 73 percent of manufacturers have said they are investing in new technology to facilitate this future. No longer are manufacturers going to be defined by a physical factory floor or production line. Instead, the brand and the experience will carry manufacturers forward. But what are the trends that brought us here, and how can manufacturers control them better for a more proactive role in the change?
Between remote work, cloud manufacturing, and IoT, a world of possibilities has opened up for manufacturing organizations. As we stand on the threshold of the location independence era, let’s review each of these trends and the unique role they play in shaping the dispersed, anywhere, and flexible look of manufacturing today.
Remote work is easily one of the pandemic’s most overwrought buzzwords, and many manufacturers may roll their eyes in the belief that it simply does not apply to their factory floors. However, remote work is very possible and even beneficial for production line work at many manufacturers.
To make remote work a reality in manufacturing, remote workers in manufacturing must utilize real-time communication among themselves, with their machines, and with their data. This means enabling your teams with the tools and data access to create a single source of truth that can be relied on. More manufacturers are turning to hybrid work models where part of their workforce is remote to maintain the health of their staff and leverage the latest technology for more efficiency. A cultural shift in manufacturing is critical to foster both the flexibility and collaborative spirit necessary to make remote workers optimally productive.
Salesforce’s return to work offering, Work.com, is another crucial tool manufacturers can leverage to make their transition to hybrid and remote work models easier. Complete with contact tracing, employee engagement functionality, and schedule coordination, Work.com makes it easier to keep your employees healthy and safe regardless of where they’re doing their work.
Another trend helping in the shift to location independence is cloud manufacturing, or leveraging cloud-enabled workstations over the traditional physical PC model. According to Manufacturing.net, the benefits of cloud manufacturing abound, including more certain security and compliance, greater business agility, faster user experience for employees, and the ease of deploying and maintaining.
IT’s burden lightens tremendously for manufacturers who convert to a cloud model for their staff. Making the jump also future proofs your organization for the current ongoing pandemic or other future crises that would impact your operations.
IoT and phantom machinery
Finally, location independence in manufacturing would be impossible without the crucial role of IoT and phantom machinery. Phantom forklifts, auto, and other machinery are paving the way for production line workers, even, to work from anywhere. While still not very widespread in manufacturing, phantom machinery is catching on quickly. Using this technology can generate more significant data insights and foster more ecosystem partnerships for manufacturers. Additionally, phantom machinery is just one of the many autonomous things that can integrate into one holistic tech stack.
The IoT means hardware and software, like robots and cloud applications, can connect to services and communication mediums. With everything talking to everything in your tech stack, your manufacturing organization can create a single source of truth and better align team members around that information, ultimately driving increased productivity and greater profit margins. Manufacturing organizations that are already set up for connectivity in their infrastructure have a leg up in this regard.
Your manufacturing organization can and will benefit from this pivot to location independence. And Simplus is ready to help make the transition easier with best-of-industry practices to set up your cloud framework for success. You can begin with our ebook, A New Way of Work: Post-Pandemic Planning for Manufacturers, or reach out to our team today to start talking.