2022 Manufacturing & Supply Chain Enterprise Mobility Outlook
<i>Data and Analysis Provided
by Hanover Research</i>
Research Shows Manufacturers Lagging on Mobile Opportunities
The pandemic has meant staggering disruption for manufacturing and supply chain organizations which hasn't let up. In a recent McKinsey survey, CEOs said the continuing problems are one of the greatest threats to growth for their companies. The challenges have accelerated digital transformation as organizations begin to deploy new methods to get the holistic data they need to identify bottlenecks and improve operations. Solutions like mobile devices and software upgrade communication, increase speed and efficiency, and transmit real-time information that improves strategy and spots problems faster.
As a leader in enterprise mobility, Stratix does research every year to learn what's working and what isn't for organizations. In the 2022 Enterprise Mobility Outlook, we studied manufacturing and supply chain as one of four key industry verticals, along with retail, field services, and transportation. The data shows manufacturing companies aren't moving fast enough to evolve their technology.
Where Manufacturing is on the Mobile-First Journey
The pandemic has underscored the value of mobile solutions for communications, enabling anywhere operations, increasing automation, and improving workflows. To get more of those benefits, organizations are embracing mobile-first principles that put mobile at the heart of strategy, operations, and the user experience.
One of the 2022 Enterprise Mobility Outlook highlights is our new Mobile-First Score, which reveals how organizations see themselves vs. reality. We found that manufacturing and supply chain organizations lag behind their peers in other verticals.
First, we asked respondents to rate their own organizations. Fifty-three percent of manufacturers see themselves as mobile-first, with an additional 42 percent believing they're "somewhat" mobile-first (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Manufacturing Self-Assessment
Next, we put survey respondents through a battery of questions designed to reveal their organizations' true nature. We looked at indicators like how central mobile is to decision-making, if they have a comprehensive understanding of their mobile environment, and if they're engaged in proactive digital transformation. We found a big gap between self-perception and reality (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Manufacturing Mobile-First Scores
Only 18 percent scored high, and it was nearly evenly split between medium and low. Manufacturing has the lowest of the high scores in our four groups (see Figure 3).
The data shows where manufacturers do poorly:
- There is very little centralized decision-making on mobile solutions. Without it, leaders don't have a holistic view of the entire organization to see where there are opportunities for scale, potential savings, and increased efficiency.
- Only 43 percent have half or more of their employees using mobile devices to do their jobs.
- Only 24 percent of IT budgets are spent on mobile.
- Only 32 percent have moved half or more of their workflows to mobile in the last three years.
Figure 3: Scores by group
However, there are some things that manufacturers are doing well:
- Ninety-one percent have systems for tracking mobile devices.
- Seventy-two percent have an annual forecast for how many devices will need repair or replacement
- Fifty-four percent have a single Enterprise Mobility Management solution vs. a patchwork of endpoint management platforms.
So, overall, why does manufacturing lag behind? It's traditionally been an industry that's slow to change. Companies have not embraced mobile technology as quickly because they're more focused on lean processing and large capital equipment expenditures. Last year's Enterprise Mobility Outlook also found manufacturers cite a lack of flexible IT infrastructure as a barrier to adopting mobile solutions.
The gap between self-perception and actual Mobile-First Scores can be explained—in part—by a lack of understanding of what it really is to be mobile-first. Many assume they are if they use mobile devices in some workflows, but they're missing the bigger picture and benefits of a holistic strategy.
Other Key Findings on Manufacturing Mobile Usage
The 2022 Enterprise Mobility Outlook also looks at device policies and how they're used within manufacturing and supply chain organizations. Additionally, we wanted to understand how devices are supported, what special needs organizations have, and if there are any pain points.
Of our four groups, manufacturers had the highest rate of corporate-owned, business-only devices that are individually assigned (63 percent). Only 15 percent are shared—with 92 percent of those shared devices being assigned to one employee for the duration of their shift. It's clear from the research that manufacturing environments don't lend themselves to device sharing compared to other verticals like retail, where the strategy is much more common.
Manufacturers rarely allow employees to use their own devices for work. Only 5 percent said they have Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. That's the lowest of our four groups. Despite the buzz around BYOD in recent years, our overall survey found just 14 percent of organizations in all verticals allow it. Security concerns and privacy fears seem to be dampening enthusiasm for the idea.
Of our four groups, manufacturers are the least likely to rely on Managed Mobile Services Providers (MMSPs) to repair or replace devices when they break down. Forty-seven percent say they do, compared with 63 percent in retail and 61 percent in field services. Forty-one percent use MMSPs for deployments or telecom expense management. Manufacturers who don't have MMSP relationships are far more likely to manage mobile technology themselves, with 67 percent reporting they have the in-house resources for it.
When it comes to picking an MMSP, manufacturers prefer the simplicity of one hand to shake over a constellation of partners. Eighty-nine percent say find providers with "complete" solutions either "very" valuable or "extremely" valuable.
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Off-the-shelf mobile solutions rarely work for manufacturing and supply chain organizations. Sixty-two percent say they need "very" or "extremely" customized devices. That explains why they lean heavily towards Android as their primary operating system for mobile over iOS. Fifty-six percent use it mainly vs. 28 percent for Apple and 16 percent for Windows IoT (formerly Windows Embedded).
Equipment makers that use Android such as Zebra point to its agility and ease of customization for enterprise customers who need highly tailored solutions in their workflows.
While manufacturers have the highest levels of internal capability to manage mobile solutions, they're not immune to the same challenges for finding qualified staff as other verticals. Eighty-seven percent report at least some level of difficulty.
The research also shows that internal IT teams spend a lot of time managing mobile despite the lower levels of mobile device use compared to other verticals (see Figure 4).
Figure 4: Time spent managing mobile technology
Sixty-five percent spend more than a quarter of their day on mobile and 38 percent more than half.
It's clear from the data that manufacturing organizations need to move faster to adopt mobile-first strategies. Mobile solutions not only help reduce supply chain disruption, they improve communication, data collection, and operations.
Information from devices tracks human performance, safety, equipment performance, inventory levels/locations, and more. It all goes into a database that can be used for statistics-driven strategy improvements.
Immediate problems are resolved faster thanks to better communication. For example, a worker can take a picture of something wrong in a production line or other workflow. It's quickly disseminated to the team members who need to see it to brainstorm a response. Push-to-talk, email, and chat improve real-time collaboration.
Organizations that are behind on mobile-driven digital transformation are missing competitive advantages. While the research shows manufacturers often believe they have the in-house resources to deploy and manage enterprise mobility solutions, they probably don't have the expertise and scale to do it well at the holistic levels needed to be truly mobile-first.
Help is available. Our research shows partnering with an MMSP gives you access to experts who live and breathe mobile. They study workflows, end-user needs, and business goals to craft solutions that bring the desired results. MMSPs bring in specialists from across their partner ecosystems, including OEMs like Zebra, software developers, and accessory companies. MMSPs have the resources to rapidly configure and deploy technology at any scale, backed by support that helps prevent downtime and ensure great end-user experiences.
Want to see more of our research? Read the full 2022 Enterprise Mobility Outlook.
Wherever your organization is in its mobile-first journey, you don't have to go it alone. Stratix has led from the front on mobility for nearly four decades. We can help you design and deliver end-to-end mobile technology solutions that make your organization's mobility convenient, easy, and cost-effective. We execute deployments at scale and with precision, so they work in the hands of your end users out-of-the-box. Once devices are in service, we provide ongoing world-class managed services and visibility tools that ensure nonstop mobility throughout their lifecycle. For additional information, visit www.stratixcorp.com
Zebra (NASDAQ: ZBRA) empowers the front line in retail/ecommerce, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, healthcare, public sector and other industries to achieve a performance edge. With more than 10,000 partners across 100 countries, we deliver industry-tailored, end-to-end solutions to enable every asset and worker to be visible, connected and fully optimized. Our market-leading solutions elevate the shopping experience, track and manage inventory as well as improve supply chain efficiency and patient care. In 2020, Zebra made Forbes Global 2000 list for the second consecutive year and was listed among Fast Company’s Best Companies for Innovators. For more information, visit www.zebra.com