How to Formulate the Best-Fitting Mobility Solution for Your Manufacturing Environment

Change is scary. But it's also constant. Market conditions, production schedules, maintenance requirements, and inventory levels, all change frequently. What you need today is not the same as yesterday, or last year. But you can deploy a solution today that will be ready for whatever may come tomorrow.

Xplore Technologies
Xplore Technologies
®THE RUGGED TABLET AUTHORITY™ Rugged Tablets Will Keep You from Getting Trapped: How to Formulate the Best-Fitting Mobility Solution for Your Manufacturing Environment Did you know that mobility solutions are often “compromised” with a one-vendor solution? Don’t walk into the trap... LET’S FIND OUT... Change is scary. But it’s also constant. And Industry 4.0 is coming. (That’s a fact, not conjecture.) As a manufacturer, you know planning is everything. But so is agility. That’s why you’re investing in a set of tech tools – “a survival pack” – right? Like three-quarters of your peers, you’re probably using, or plan to use, mobile technology to boost operational excellence. After all, you’ve been promised that it will protect your operation’s livelihood amidst fluctuating market conditions, increasing competition, and evolving customer demands. Plus, it’s hard to feel both safe and secure when you’re spending all your time trying to makeshift solutions amidst rapidly shifting supply chain dependencies. It’s also hard to get ahead of the curve when you’re always behind. So you... • Weigh your options: A bundled single-vendor package vs. an unbundled, custom-built solution comprised of best-in-class components. • Consider the costs: You don’t need to waste time or money on something that’s too disruptive or creates more downtime. • Try your best to figure out which solutions provider is really trustworthy: You need a competitive advantage, not to find yourself constantly compromising on capabilities. At the end of the day, you just need mobile technologies that work better for you and your workers. You need hardware that can collect accurate data and make it easily accessible to all workers in real-time. And you need software that can analyze and normalize the massive ® volumes of data from all input systems (mobile, IoT, automation, etc). In other words, you expect your mobile solution to “effectively transform the aggregated data into performance-improving information.” But what many technology providers won’t tell you is that single-vendor bundled solutions – the ones that are pre- packaged with “highly compatible” hardware, software, accessory, and security components – will quickly fail to meet your cost, performance, and longevity expectations. They’re not compatible with future technology platforms and, therefore, not adaptive to change. Bundled solutions providers simply don’t have the flexibility to be innovative, or the motivation to sync their product lifecycles with yours. You know what else isn’t adaptive to change? Your workers. They have things to do. They don’t have time to print up and sift through outdated paper reports or stop the production line every time a device fails, or move around the shop floor accessing multiple PC systems. And they sure don’t have time to learn complex tech systems. They may be out the door before you can even on-board them. They just need a single, easy to use mobile PC at their fingertips – either on foot or forklift – that delivers relevant, real-time data all day. Does that describe your current solution? So, let’s be honest: How Prepared Are You Really to Not Only Survive Today’s Increasing Manufacturing Demands but Thrive during your Mandatory Transition to More Technologically-Driven Operations? There’s a clear cut process for designing a workable mobility solution that meets “best-in-class” standards 1 Determine the business challenge(s) and goal(s). 2Decide which workflows to mobilize to improve business processes. 3 Develop a technology architecture foundation that includes hardware, software, security and performance requirements. 4Examine digital assets to ensure they really are delivering the right information, at the right time, to the right device. 5 Build a team of manufacturing experts. Not just mobile tech providers. 6Consider the TCO and the long-term ROI. $$$ ® And it starts with being honest about your challenges and defining clear cut goals. (complete the checklist on the next page) ®Challenges Goals I’m not confident current end-of-life PC platforms can hold out before something bad happens. The OS we’re currently running isn’t compatible with our other integrated systems anymore. (We need to move past Windows CE – and fast.) Every time my fixed terminal PC needs to be serviced, my forklift goes out of service. I have several “300-pound two-year-olds” pounding on device screens when they don’t work properly. I need a mobile PC that can run my homegrown software without any re-writing required. If I don’t replace the outdated forklift-mounted PCs then we can’t upgrade our servers and we’ll continue running a non-compliant system. (I need to find a solution before we get fined.) What’s Compelling You to Replace Your Current Mobility Solution? What Criteria Will Define Your Success? My boss is really pushing for an off-the-shelf device that may or may not fit our business needs. We need a mobility system that can be locked down (I need flexibility to assign better security policies before we suffer a breach.) Our current technology vendor isn’t returning my calls or responsive to my evolving needs. Come in on budget – or better, under budget– for the entire mobility solution. (Not just hardware.) Be systematic about our new technology integrations to ensure there are no issues. • Define a clear OS migration path. • Execute a smooth integration with ERP system. Change as little as possible for workers. (The faster I can secure their buy-in, the greater the ROI.) Find a better fitting screen for the forklifts so workers can actually see around them. Ensure that our new mobile PCs can survive our workers’ heavy hands. Ensure that the devices won’t fail due to extreme temperatures, vibrations or humidity either. Pick a mobility partner that will provide quality support and service when needed. (I know even the most rugged devices are bound to break based on how my workers abuse them.) Protect my reputation with my bosses and colleagues, and our company’s reputation with supply chain partners and customers. (In other words, deploy a performance- enhancing solution.) Improve worker productivity and efficiency while saving the company money. Next, take time to analyze business processes, find ways to improve productivity and remove waste. ®Ask yourself: Is your mobile solution... The second step in a mobile strategy is analyzing business processes, finding ways to improve productivity and removing waste. Game-Changing or Changing Too Much? Accelerating You towards Automation or Preventing You from Excelling as a Paperless Facility? Used to Refine Planning, Capitalize on New Technologies and Streamline Processes? Or Just Making Everything More Complex? Your current mobile solution is incompatible with your environment. “If you don’t want to get stuck with same results, don’t keep making the same choices.” If your current mobile computing solution is not enabling you to... Continue on for tips on how to build a best-in-class mobility solution that provides you with a solid, yet flexible foundation for advancing your technology architectures and your business goals. Collect data for compliance reporting, Manage parts installation and inspection, Monitor the production line, manage pick to light, and Track inventory and assets, Connect with industrial machinery for maintenance and repairs, Mobilize every rugged computing workflow in between... ®Ready to build a best-in-class mobility solution that meets every one of your hardware, software, security, performance and accessory requirements today? And won’t leave you with regret in the future? Then examine all digital assets to ensure they really are delivering the right information, at the right time, to the right device. REMEMBER... Just because you seem to get more “tools” in a bundled solution doesn’t mean that you’re getting the single right tool that can support every worker and every specialized workflow. Look for rugged tablets that provide the complete mobility, connectivity, and real-time intelligence you require to sustain rigorous plant maintenance, inspection, and quality control operations with ease. Ensure those same rugged tablets also provide the precisely optimized forklift-mounted solution that logistics managers need to improve the accuracy, speed, and overall efficiency of their inventory control, receiving, picking and placing, and other logistics management processes. Confirm that your mobile solution’s framework is flexib le, but stable; future-proof but sc alable, starting wit h the computing dev ice’s lifecycle ... ®Build a team of manufacturing and supply chain experts. Not just mobile technology providers. Do you have the right support team in place to not only deploy an effective mobility solution, but continuously optimize its capabilities to sustain its performance over time? Let’s Find Out... ? ? ? Are you confident your mobile solution provider is actually solving your greatest business challenges effectively today? Will they still in the future? If it feels like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Augmented Reality, Big Data and other digital platforms create apocalyptic-like changes, then you don’t have the right PC platform - or partner - in place today. Is your technology provider serving your best interests with their solution recommendations? If their products are usually a generation behind and a price ahead, then no. If they’re flexible, agile and willing to go out of their way to minimize change for your end-users, then yes.* * Also be sure their product roadmap aligns with yours. Confirm they’ll be able to deliver additional product/units during your planned solution lifecycle if needed for expansion or replacement. Are you confident your solutions provider understands the unique technology architectures, challenges and risks of your unique environment? Or do they just sell a fully-integrated bundle? It may seem simpler to have a single go-to-source for all your tech needs, but are they a trustworthy partner that will have your back when you need expert assistance to resolve unexpected challenges? Or just another tech vendor that drops parts off at your door? Be sure you have access to team of experts – the best in their fields – who not only specialize in manufacturing and logistics mobility, but technology integration on all levels. ®Consider the TCO and the long-term ROI of your entire mobility/IT solution. TCO OVERSIGHT CALCULATOR HELP SOFTWARE? TIME Time to decide on a solution Time to implement just one component and/or entire solution Time to refine (if bundled) every time new workflow capability is required Time to correct errors/ failures (either from inefficient methods, fragmented system...) DEVICE FAILURE Costs of frequent device failures and replacement SOFTWARE Costs to address software incompatibilities or lost efficiencies due to inability to run the right software LOSS OF BUSINESS Business lost due to quality issues, supply chain inefficiencies, inability to meet production deadlines or keep pace with rising demand PLANNING Inventory cost overruns or lack of materials due to insufficient planning/timing DATA ERRORS Cost of data input errors, lost data, or insufficient data to make effective decisions Do you understand the true value of assembling a best-in-class mobile solution? Some say it takes more time, money, and manpower to unbundle successfully. But that’s not true. It can actually save you more time, money, and manpower from day one because you’ll have both best-in-class technologies and best-in-field experts at your disposal – together working in YOUR best interest. Mobility is meant to eliminate downtime. Not create it. PEACE OF MIND Complete security control and easy accessibility for remote MDM/EMM ®How well is your current mobile solution adapting to your changing environment? THE ONLY CONSTANT IN MANUFACTURING IS CHANGE: Market conditions, production schedules, maintenance requirements, and inventory levels, all change frequently. What you need today is not the same as yesterday, or last year. But you can deploy a solution today that will be ready for whatever may come tomorrow. So, ask yourself one last time: Has your current mobility solution performed when you need it to, how you need it to, in the midst of ever changing data processing and communications expectations? Can your current mobile computing platform – and solutions provider – easily accommodate your unique interoperability demands with past, present, and future technology system architectures? Can your current mobile PC platform run all the software you need it to, including apps built in-house? Are you supporting your highly skilled “Information Workers” with a single high quality, highly versatile, multi-function mobile computer that can be used for every workflow inside and outside the four walls? If you answered no to any one of these questions, then say YES to a consult with Xplore. Call Xplore today: US 1 (512) 336-7797 | Australia 1300 654 978 | Outside Australia +61 2 9634 4022 ®Why it is so important to custom-assemble a best-in-class mobility solution: You need a mobile computing platform that can tolerate the constant change anticipated with Industry 4.0 as you transition from traditional to digital supply chain structures. INDUSTRY You also need a platform, and partner, that can facilitate operational adjustments, without forcing you to make unnecessary changes to your entire technology structure that result in wasteful hardware and software spend. Bundled solutions may have been sufficient in the past, but they will fail to help you succeed in the future. That’s why manufacturers and their supply chain partners increasingly turn to Xplore for help. They need a rugged tablet-based solution that… Keeps pace with fast industrial technology advancement. Has been proven to keep workers happy and productive throughout the multiple jobs they perform in support of plant/factory operations, maintenance and repair (MRO), and logistics, no matter how harsh manufacturing and warehousing/distribution environments can be every day. Are ready today to interop with whatever supplementary or complementary operational technologies they may want to bring online tomorrow, including Windows 10, more expansive automation, and IoT. Provides them with the safety, security, and stability needed to confidently mobilize the digital information systems – and information workforce – that define IIoT/ Industry 4.0 while protecting their entire IT investment for years to come. Learn more about how Xplore can help you prepare for the future today. And Xplore goes out of its way to deliver on every requirement, every time. www.xploretech.com/MFG