A recent Gartner study found that CIOs at manufacturing companies rank mobile technologies as one of their top priorities in 2013. This is influencing how manufacturers establish IT budgets, as many companies are increasingly choosing to invest in mobile data collection tools, reported Manufacturers' Monthly.
Mobile data collection leads to tangible improvements in warehouse operations, with staff inputting data or viewing work instructions using hand-held devices. A wireless barcode scanner, for example, can be used by workers to track and trace products, manage inventory and instantly provide a real-time picture of warehouse product availability and activity. These devices can become an extension of the worker, simplifying their tasks rather than making their jobs more difficult.
"The integration of mobile technologies into manufacturing process allows employees to access data faster than ever before," business solutions professional Paul Goepfert told Manufacturers' Monthly. "From the warehouse, shopfloor and on the move through the distribution chain, data is easy to source."
Adhesives and specialty chemicals distributor Ellsworth Adhesives recently implemented a new warehouse management system to improve its processing times and customer service abilities. Its Ontario facility is now fully automated, with barcode software being used to track product availability throughout the warehouse.
The new wireless data collection system allows the company to control inventory by item, lot and shelf life and also matches available products to customer needs. It is integrated with existing systems so that the company can easily track information throughout the supply chain.
"In today's markets, customers demand that their suppliers provide them with what they need, when they need it," Roger Lee, Ellsworth's vice president of specialty chemical distribution, said, according to Electronic Products and Technology. "The objective is to provide an enhancement that fully-insures a benefit to our customers which improves the products and services we provide."