Technology in the warehouse has been a boon for manufacturers and distributors. The ability to track orders and products in real time provides myriad of data that can be analyzed to determine efficiency, combat staffing issues and develop new best practices. While many companies realize that these solutions are easy to install on-site, they may be unaware that similar technology is now available outside of the warehouse.
It is now possible to extend enterprise solutions beyond the four walls of a plant and into the field or the site of remote operations. Paper-based systems are just as inaccurate and inefficient in the field as they are on-site. With mobile solutions, even remote employees have access to the same information and technology as others in the company.
Embracing MEAP for increased connectivity
A Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) is the best way to optimize and enhance existing IT infrastructure. However, mobility is often a concern. An employee who is on the move and using his or her hands throughout the day does not have time visit a computer terminal when he or she needs to enter to data. A MEAP allows employees to conduct all their needed activities from a mobile device, just like those who work in the warehouse.
Another concern is data security, according to CMS Wire. Because the entire purpose of mobile data collection is to ensure employees working outside of the enterprise have access to the ERP system data, wrapping them in a corporate firewall or using solutions that deny access off-site nullify the value of the equipment. Ensuring that MEAP solutions meet the company's standard for data encryption and protection are key to selecting the right solution.
Consider Mobility, Security With BYOD
The security issue arises again when considering "bring your own device" solutions. BYOD can keep implementation costs down because employees use their own mobile devices to access information and collect data. The employee's personal phone travels home with him or her each night and can be loaded with sensitive information.
A MEAP can help companies control some of the security issues of BYOD, as well as integrate them with other solutions. With a MEAP, some employees can use their own devices while others use a barcode scanner, labtop or RFID device. Organizations can greatly improve their connectivity with a MEAP, but should examine their options closely to ensure they get a solution that is versatile and secure.