Manufacturing Workforce Management App: How to Reinforce Your Business with Digital Technologies

Manufacturing Workforce Management App: How to Reinforce Your Business with Digital Technologies

If you’re reading this, you’re probably very interested in improving your manufacturing workforce management. Surely, digital transformation in manufacturing routes the course of business improvements.

But if we were to guess, you’ve probably faced a lot of changes in recent months. The workforce issues, coupled with COVID-19-related restrictions, brought many companies to a standstill.

The impact of COVID-19 on manufacturers report says that 77% of companies re-evaluate their operating model strategies. Besides, the growing interest in digitizing the production has only grown, as a result of dealing with COVID-19. 

Now we’ve entered 2021, hoping to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind. Is the industry shakeout over? Of course, it keeps going on. And despite the taste of uncertainty, you still have to set up goals. You have no choice if you want to stay competitive.

So how are you planning to transform your workforce management in 2021? Thinking about building a work order management app? You’re on the right track. To dispel any harbored doubts, let’s dig into such topics as:

 

Why Do You Need a Workforce Managing App for a Manufacturing Company?

To say ‘Manufacturing workforce management is nothing more than hype’ is like saying Elon Musk has a few followers. Along with digitalization come reduced routine tasks, automated workflows, boosted productivity, and it all requires a digitally fluent workforce.

What is a manufacturing workforce management app? 

In many cases, a work order app serves for managing the manufacturing workforce. The software deals with a) preventive asset maintenance or b) managing reports on incoming and outgoing work orders. All work orders turn into digital, trackable documents.

In manufacturing, the workforce management tool accentuates quality management. It includes product inspection, inventory control, and quality assessment coordination. Apart from reporting, the work order app helps to analyze and optimize operational processes. Usually, the software is standalone. 

What are the manufacturing investments into apps?

The Worldwide Enterprise Application Market forecast  2019-2024, shows that manufacturing investments into the new software and apps are going closer to $27000 million. That includes upgrading and replacing many legacy industry-specific software as well.

Investments into manufacturing apps for work order management

Want proof of this prediction? 48% of manufacturers have speeded up digital transformation, according to Global Manufacturing Outlook 2020. Holy digitalization, Batman!

Impact of the pandemic on manufacturers' digital transformation

Why adopt a work order app?

Let’s imagine a situation A: The maintenance team, usually one or two workers, and a few outside contractors. They’re dealing with an issue and suddenly there appears another one. The easy work order turns into a complex one. The team needs to go back to the office, order materials, and search for an expert for consultation.

A long, time-consuming, and expensive process. And in the end, the fixed main and secondary issues might have a low impact on production.

And know situation B: Your organization uses work order software. All issues are gathered, prioritized, and tracked in real-time. The technicians efficiently collaborate within their team and across the company. Plus, they have access to instructions and guides to troubleshoot problems in the field.

When they fix an issue and there appears a secondary problem, they check it within the app. Once they see its priority level and look through instruction, they either fix it or add it into the workflow. The process is automated and done to the smallest expenses.

Recap: The workforce app helps to optimize performance, divide resources, and cut down on unexpected issues. Good reasons for adopting such software, right?

What are the benefits of workforce management software?

  • Cut down on the unexpected issues. You schedule preventive maintenance tasks and expect the potential breakdowns.
  • Equipment and labor optimization. Work order app handles manufacturing employee scheduling and aligning resource allocation. In plain words: it manages what has to be done, who has to do it, and when it has to be done.
  • Decrease turnaround times. The workforce management app helps to get a real-time view of processes. So you can identify and address the order faster and as a bonus boost customer satisfaction.
  • Resource scheduling. The workforce management software deals with resource management to exclude overlapping demands, downtime, or idle resources.
  • Advance quality. No guess-work anymore. The actual activity data at hand helps to improve performance in terms of productivity and quality.
  • Optimized labor costs. You have quick access to workforce data. Seeing the employee absences, time tracking data, you can plan better performance of the employees to minimize overtime.
  • Data access restrictions. Someone has said, ‘In God we trust. All others bring data.’ Controlled access adds to predictability and reliability.

What Is the Future of Manufacturing Workforce Management?

Raise your hand if you have tried to review and improve your operating model strategy during COVID-19. The urgency of putting the right technologies in place sooner than later.

Among the five countries that are actively adopting disruptive technologies in manufacturing, the U.S. takes fifth place - 73%.

Top 5 countries that are actively adopting digital technologies

One more proof from the impact of COVID-19 on manufacturers report: 76% of companies increase the use of digital enablers and disruptive technologies such the cloud, artificial intelligence, data analytics, robotics, 3D printing/additive manufacturing, Internet of Things, and augmented or virtual reality.

So what are the trends of workforce management in 2021?

  • Employee safety. Keep to protocols and plans fighting the virus. And ensure compliance with CDC guidelines and OSHA regulations.
  • Self-service portals. This software is an employee bestie. Workers use it nearly for every aspect of their employment life. They log in on any device to check their shift, edit payroll information, apply for perks or manage their PTO and sick leaves. Employee engagement and experience is a fresh-out-of-the-oven trend and self-service portals can make it useful and outstanding.
  • Connected workforce. 34% of manufacturers are already applying some collaboration and mobility tools. This trend is continuing to grow. It is critical to adopt and train the workforce to use those technologies and maximize productivity.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) keeps wide-spreading in manufacturing. During COVID-19, 41% of manufacturing organizations are implemented with IoT and sensors abilities for managing remote monitoring and predictive maintenance. The improved bottom line due to measured, informed decisions can’t be unattractive.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are leveraged by 37% of manufacturers. AI aids in scheduling and predicting workloads. And no overstaffing during slower hours saves you on labor expenses. Plus, AI manages routine tasks quite well too.

7 Manufacturing Workforce Management Features to Look for

How to choose the work order app so it becomes a one-stop tool for you? Well, it depends on your organization and the goals you’ve set. But there’s a basic set of options to look for. Check out this buyer guide on features.

Create and edit work order or request 

The orders are submitted as a direct entry or web submission. These documents aren’t static and can be changed anytime. The benefit is quick and comprehensive communication within a company.

Schedule and allocate resources

Work order apps enhance the management of equipment and materials required for jobs to be done. And in the same way, you distribute work among the employees based on their skills and qualifications. Here should be a calendaring tool to avoid double-booking.

Status updates

The real-time tracking of the order or job improves the identification of benchmark intervals. So the status updates of work order completion show performance speed and quality. All that gives insights for predicting the order completion and plays a part in improving customer satisfaction.

Reporting

Work order software collects a bunch of data about your operation quality. Basically, you track 

  • KPIs (error rates, adherence to quality standards, time to completion, etc.)
  • workforce (who’s done the job, how many working hours, etc.)
  • operational downtime
  • materials and repair costs
  • process updates

Reports bring you valuable insights on weak spots and improvement opportunities.

Remote access

Native mobile apps are quite efficient in manufacturing as many teams spend most of their time away from desktops. Mobile devices help to keep all processes updated and access data either on the plant floor, at other facilities, or out in the field.

Integration capabilities

The seamless work of all systems makes performance productive. So the work order app should integrate with third-party systems and software your organization already runs.

Sharing Experience: How to Develop a Manufacturing App

Tired of using the same old tools for workforce management? We thought you might be. That’s why we decided to show you how to do things differently. And here is a peek into one of our manufacturing app projects:

Client: a shipping container supplier & manufacturer

Industry: manufacturing, machinery

Starting point

The key was to develop the optimizing system performance. The client had a general concept of the app and the features needed. Together we identified the weak spots and scope of work to do.

Milestones for the team were:

  • create a logistics management system to optimize the in-house workflow
  • develop the production calendar for web and mobile platforms
  • identify a discovery stage and detailed project estimate

Critical features of the custom software: 

  • To-do list of mobile app task manager helps to arrange workflow tasks, track working hours, and production calendar.
    • Product calendar allows creating and assigning tasks, tracking and controlling progress, and monitoring the activity of workers.
    • Map view is a logistic management system. It enhanced navigation and showed task details like payment and delivery information, delivery time, and attachments.
  • Zoho CRM integration 

Technical aspect

The dedicated team handled concept development, UI/UX, and web and native mobile apps development. The tech stack of the custom-made solution was Nest,
 NodeJS, 
React, 
React Native.

Result

Web and mobile apps help to manage workflow, track tasks, assign them to employees, and monitor performance. The client got the solution to address the business pain points, and advance operational process performance.

TL;DR

  • Due to the COVID-19 impact, 48% of manufacturers have speeded up digital transformation and revamped their operational strategies.
  • The workforce app helps to optimize performance, allocate resources, and cut down on unexpected issues. That’s why it is worth being adopted.
  • The benefits of workforce management apps: reduced expenses and turnaround times, optimized equipment and labor, resource scheduling, improved quality, optimized labor costs, and role-based access.
  • The trends of workforce management in 2021: employee safety, self-service portals, connected workforce, IoT, AI and ML.
  • A guide on work order features includes: work order or request management, schedule and divide resources, status update, reporting, native mobile apps, and integration.
  • Shared experience: a case study on a manufacturing app development. In the end, the client got web and mobile apps to manage workflow, track and assign tasks, and monitor employee performance.
  • A shortlist of work order management features along with development costs. If you have questions or have a project in mind, feel free to reach out to us.

Get a rough estimate of your manufacturing app

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