Historically, the manufacturing industry has not been known for its propensity to rapidly acquire new technology.
Today, however, the manufacturing industry is embracing change, as well as the technology that supports that change.
It’s well-known that the manufacturing industry is undergoing a dramatic transformation into the digital age, using a suite of technologies that go by the term Industry 4.0. Using IoT, mobile devices, the cloud, data analytics and more. While the factory floor may have once been a static space home to aging technology, the factory floor is becoming a highly efficient, automated place, tied directly to the rest of an enterprise’s infrastructure and supply chain.
And while this ongoing technology evolution in the manufacturing space is commonplace knowledge, not so well-known, though, is a secret weapon that can speed up the move to Industry 4.0 – low-code and no-code development platforms. Smart manufacturers are increasingly using these platforms to help power Industry 4.0.
Simply defined, low-code manufacturing platforms enable creation of apps and efficiencies by using virtually no code. While the idea itself may seem straightforward, the ramifications this software has had on the manufacturing industry cannot be understated.
Manufacturers face significant problems hiring enough experienced developers to write the applications and mobile apps that are at the core of Industry 4.0. Low-code and no-code platforms solve the problem, by letting citizen developers and those on the factory floor write apps. They also make it easier for professional IT staff to write them.
The Industry Week article “Citizen Developers on the Shop Floor,” provides several examples of how manufacturers use no-code platforms. Using such a platform, Orlando-based Nautique Boat Company built apps to track, in real-time, the low code manufacturing process using IoT sensors in order to improve productivity and reduce errors.
The Nautique Boat Company isn’t unique. More and more manufacturers are using Industry 4.0 techniques to gain a competitive advantage. The IQMS Manufacturing blog post, “Top 10 Predictions for Manufacturing CIOs In 2019” says, “CIOs and their teams who are the most adept at integrating analytics, Business Intelligence (BI), real-time monitoring, and quality management are growing on average 10% faster than their peers.”
So why should you care about that metric?
Competition within the manufacturing space is tight—if you can grow faster than your peers, you not only prove what you’re capable of, you prove value.
“CIOs and their teams who are the most adept at integrating analytics, Business Intelligence (BI), real-time monitoring, and quality management are growing on average 10% faster than their peers.”
In addition, the survey found, “CIOs who can create a unified data model and power it using IoT platforms will grow the fastest and have the greatest time-to-market advantage with new products compared to peers.”
Scott Benting of Alpha Manufacturing Solutions explains how no-code and low-code platforms can help manufacturers do all that. “Low-code and no-code development platforms are manufacturers’ secret weapon for getting to Industry 4.0,” he says. “It’s hard to find experienced developers who can do the hard, complex work of gathering data, writing the right apps, tying the factory floor to back-end systems and more. Low-code/no-code platforms let non-developer manufacturing experts do all that — and also improve the productivity of IT staff.”
He adds, “Low-code/no-code platforms have other benefits as well, including increasing employee engagement, helping manufacturers do more with less, giving skilled developers app makers to work faster, reduce app backlogs, and integrate new technology with legacy systems.”
So what does that mean?
In short, low code manufacturing platforms allow you to remove burdens from your employees, giving them more time to focus on other work. What’s more, increased employee engagement leads to increased loyalty and productivity, as well as career longevity.
Low-code/no-code platforms have other benefits as well, including increasing employee engagement, helping manufacturers do more with less, giving skilled developers the tools to work faster, reducing app backlogs, and integrating new technology with legacy systems.”
The Best Tool for Getting Manufacturers to Industry 4.0
Alpha Software products are ideally suited for enabling digital transformation at manufacturing companies. the Alpha TransForm app builder helps business users craft online or offline mobile apps in minutes that utilize the latest mobile features (camera, GPS, etc.) for fast, accurate data capture on the production floor, in warehouses, or at customer sites. Manufacturers are using Alpha TransForm to:
- Increase worker efficiency by reducing the hours spent on each daily activity.
- Capture the knowledge of more experienced workers in intelligent apps that can guide less experienced workers.
- Lower risk by eliminating data-entry mistakes and delayed access to critical data
Companies are finding that they can realize all these benefits by turning paper forms -- such as quality inspections, non-conformance reports, safety checklists, etc. -- into modern mobile apps.
If you’re operating in the manufacturing sphere, don’t wait for your competitors to pass you by. Take advantage of tomorrow’s tools today to help your organization grow, all while proving value. Learn More.