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Alpha Software Blog

Mobile Maintenance: The Your Secret Weapon to Get to Industry 4.0

Learn why mobile maintenance is the secret weapon for accelerating Industry 4.0 at your organization.The manufacturing industry is in a mad rush to take advantage of what it calls Industry 4.0 — a massive digital transformation powered by IoT, big-data analytics, artificial intelligence, smart factories and other technologies. Companies are struggling to marry all those new technologies to an industry that has sometimes been resistant to change.

But the industry may be overlooking a secret weapon in the move to help them make their manufacturing plants more effective — mobile maintenance. It can have a more immediate payoff than some of the more complex and expensive technologies such as artificial intelligence, and also provides benefits in the long run.

Ryan Chan, CEO of UpKeep Maintenance Management, writes in a Forbes blog, “Industry 4.0: How IoT Will Inspire A New Era Of Maintenance Technology,” “Today, we’re seeing the mobilization of maintenance technology.” That allows manufacturing workers to submit work orders from mobile devices, he notes. But even more important, he says, mobile maintenance “allows organizations to keep better track of preventative maintenance tasks, which can dramatically extend equipment lifetime, increase productivity and ultimately boost profits.”

Combining mobile maintenance apps with IoT is a particular potent combination, he says, because IoT lets manufacturers gather vast amounts of information about how a factory is working, including data that will immediately show when maintenance is required. He concludes, “I believe the next generation of Industry 4.0 software will empower even more people, organizations and entire industries through the successful mainstream implementation of connected IoT devices. The advent of IoT could very likely reshape the way that people use software and technology, especially with respect to (preventative) maintenance and reliability.”

Eberhard Klotz, head of Industry 4.0 for the industrial automation Festo, details those benefits in his post “Mobile maintenance: proof of Industry 4.0 payback,” written for the ControlEngineeringEurope website. In the post, he offers a case study in how Festo has reaped those benefits, including reducing the time it takes to repair machinery, cutting the distances that maintenance teams need to travel, taking advantage of mobile support, and more. He writes that thanks to all that, “The same number of maintenance team members have been able to handle a 30% growth in factory size and machinery… Overall this has significantly increased OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) figures and has provided a return on investment (ROI) in under six months.”

Further Reading: 

Why Industry 4.0 Is Powered by Mobile
How You Can Maximize the Potential of Industry 4.0
The Missing Link in Industry 4.0: Employee Engagement

The Best Platform to Write Manufacturing Maintenance Apps for Industry 4.0

To build mobile maintenance apps for help get to Industry 4.0, manufacturers need to choose the right software. And Alpha TransForm (for non-developers) and Alpha Anywhere (for developers) are ideal to do that. Alpha TransForm and Alpha Anywhere can work independently or together as a single platform and are ideally suited for writing mobile maintenance apps, quality control apps and quality assurance apps. Alpha TransForm 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. Alpha Anywhere has the unique ability to rapidly create mobile-optimized forms and field apps that can easily access and integrate with any database or web service and can exploit built-in role-based security or robust offline functionality. Learn more about Alpha TransForm and try it free for 30 days.

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.