Mobile, big data helping to disrupt manufacturing industry

It’s easy to understand how mobile technology and big data are revolutionizing the way retailers and Internet companies do business. Smartphone use has been the biggest driver behind the exponential growth of data in recent years. Add in the power of analytics, and mobile data now offers unprecedented insights into customer behavior and preferences.

But mobile technology and big data also can be leveraged effectively by other sectors of the economy, starting with manufacturers and extending through the supply chain. A new survey of supply chain executives by SCM World underscores the impact expected of emerging technologies.

As Forbes reports, survey respondents ranked the technologies they consider to be disruptive: mobile technologies and apps (75%), big data analytics (68%), advanced robotics (64%) and the Internet of Things (62%) top the list.

The advantages of mobile are obvious: It enables better communication and coordination on the plant floor, and can improve supervision.

Likewise, data analytics are expected to benefit manufacturers in numerous ways. More than half of the respondents say real-time factory performance analysis (57%) and real-time planning (53%) are the “most likely uses cases in the factory of the future.” Others anticipate uses of data analytics include real-time supply chain performance analysis (42%), production quality and yield management (40%) and demand pattern analysis (37%).

Only 4% of supply-chain executives responding to the survey said they think big data analytics has “no use case on the plant floor.”

It’s hard to fathom how any supply-chain executive sees no place in a manufacturing environment for tools that can improve efficiency, enable agility, monitor production quality and cut costs. But those manufacturers who cede the advantages of data analytics to their competitors likely will pay a big price down the road.

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