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Nancy Powaga
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November 18, 2019

Building Better Processes: Apps for Manufacturing

industry-4.0Technologies like the cloud, the industrial internet of things (IIoT), and statistical process control are all widely prevalent in manufacturing. These innovations are having a big impact on management and production in the sector. In short, manufacturing has emerged as one of the most readily automated industries.

However, despite all technological progress that we’ve seen in manufacturing, production is lagging behind its potential. For example, it’s been found that in the United States, manufacturers can boost overall output by 20 percent by 2025 if companies take advantage of new technologies and processes. This concept applies to global organizations as well.

Workplace applications are one prominent example of technology that promises to take manufacturing to the next level. For years, the implementation of apps for manufacturing have been held back by high costs and lengthy development life cycles. Recent advancements in no-code app development, however, make it possible for the average business to leverage robust business productivity apps designed to support their unique workflows. As a result, more and more apps are flooding into manufacturing facilities — changing the way workers engage with their jobs, team members, and environments.

Let’s explore five areas of the manufacturing industry that have been transformed by mobile applications.

Inventory control

Inventory control is one of the most important — and risky —  aspects of manufacturing. Floor managers must oversee complex warehouse environments and systems, and even the slightest mistake can lead to production delays, angry customers, and lost profits.

Inventory errors are common when using traditional paper forms and spreadsheets. Using mobile apps, however, the process becomes much easier and more accurate.

Apps help manufacturing companies with several aspects of inventory control, including:

  • Predicting demand
  • Placing orders
  • Managing and monitoring stock
  • Identifying inventory trends

If this sounds like something your organization might be interested in, copy and customize the AppSheet manufacturing inventory app and give it a whirl.

Copy the inventory management app

Work orders

Shop floor teams and warehouse staffers must work closely together when completing work orders in order to ensure accurate components and quantities in their production lines. A small miscommunication or data-entry error on a work order can result in a massive production blunder — and a host of other negative consequences.

Apps enable real-time changes and work order status updates. Plus, they come with advanced email and SMS alert capabilities, making it easier for team members to transmit time-sensitive updates even when they’re on the go.

Apps make it easier to manage work orders by:

  • Enabling employees to request parts needed for repair or replacement
  • Prioritizing issues and take care of the most pressing ones first
  • Monitoring the status of issues 

You can copy and customize AppSheet’s work order app.

Copy the work order app

Equipment and safety checks

Managers and employees must work together to ensure all equipment is in proper working order. Otherwise, operations can grind to a halt, crushing productivity.

Maintaining a safe and efficient work environment requires scheduling regular maintenance checks and creating an environment where workers actively keep an eye on tools, vehicles, and machinery for wear and tear. 

Apps provide an easy way for workers to perform regular maintenance checks. For example, an inspection app can serve as a central hub for storing information and sharing it with maintenance and management teams.

How apps help with equipment and safety checks:

  • Taking pictures
  • Recording notes
  • Scheduling service
  • Checking on equipment updates 

You can copy and customize the AppSheet inspection app and our scanner inspection app to build a tool that supports your specific workflows.

Copy the equipment inspection app

Employee training

Floor managers need to have a comprehensive system in place to share information with new hires and get them up to speed quickly. Rushing through training manually can result in missed information and accidents — especially in fast-paced manufacturing environments where workers may potentially interact with dangerous equipment and systems. 

Apps are now being used to share everything from medical procedures, like handling a choking or allergy victim, to properly caring for sensitive equipment. 

Apps help optimize employee training through a number of mechanisms, including: 

  • Creating a portable reference library 
  • Collecting signatures and read receipts 
  • Distributing timely documents 
  • Centralizing training distribution

You can copy and customize AppSheet’s employee training app and get started transforming your training initiatives today.

Copy the employee training app

Audits

A manufacturing facility must always be ready for an unplanned audit — something that’s far easier said than done without a centralized management system. 

Apps, however, make auditing much easier. They allow teams to collect and track a variety of key information related to safety, personnel, output, inventory, and much more.

Here’s how apps help manufacturing companies with audits:

  • Capturing and recording data over time
  • Sharing reports automatically with auditors 
  • Communicating key audit dates with team members
  • Taking photos

You can copy and customize AppSheet’s audits app to give it a spin.

Copy the audits app

Don’t see a sample app that matches your exact needs? No problem. The great part about working with a no-code platform like AppSheet is that you can design your own. Get started for free.

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