Mobile devices have become ubiquitous in the last several years. Forrester Research predicted that there will be over 3 billion smart phone users in the world in 2018, and that trend is continuing upwards. Mobile devices, which include not only smart phones but tablets and other handheld devices, provide a great way to untether your workforce from tasks that would normally be performed on standard desktop computers.
When is it a good idea to look at a mobile computing solution in the manufacturing and industrial services environment? Here are some examples of solutions that we at TwinEngines have implemented for our customers to give you some ideas.
Mobile Inspection Application
Engineered Systems Inc (ESI), an industrial crane products and service provider, wanted to modernize their crane and hoist inspection services. Their inspection process included a lot of good old fashioned paperwork. Each inspection included a paper form that was completed and signed by each inspector and customer. This paperwork was then carried back to the home office where it was reviewed and painstakingly turned into a service/repair quote that went back to the customer. A quick turn-around on the quote after an inspection is completed has a direct impact as to whether the customer will schedule a service/repair for the system or not. Getting quotes out more quickly would generate more service and repair revenue for ESI.
TwinEngines worked with ESI to develop a solution to streamline their inspections and quoting process. The application allows an administrator to create checklists specific to different types of crane systems and assign inspection tasks to inspectors through a web based portal. The inspectors then download their inspections onto an iPad application. This iPad is then taken onsite to the customer (where there is often no Wi-Fi, so it works in a disconnected mode) and the results of the inspection recorded within the application. The checklist interface allows inspectors to quickly record their results, take pictures of any defects or issues that might require a service or repair, plus digitally sign the inspection. When they once again connect to Wi-Fi, the results of the inspection are pushed back to the home office and into the quoting portal.
By developing this mobile solution, ESI was able to greatly reduce the turnaround time it took to get a service quote back to the customer, which directly affects their bottom line. Additional benefits included reducing paper, being able to customize checklists, having photos on file of defects and issues, and better automated tracking of the entire process from start to finish.