The manufacturing industry’s image is somewhat tarnished by outdated stereotypes (like those evidenced in old pictures of overburdened assembly line workers). In actuality, the state of the industry is rapidly advancing thanks to technologies like big data and mobility, which are redefining core business processes.


Bill Rayl, executive director for Jackson Area Manufacturing Association of Jackson, Michigan, described best how manufacturing has been typecast in a recent interview with Michigan local news channel MLive: “In manufacturing you’ve got that frozen in the ’50s mentality that it’s dark, dingy and it’s dead end … that it’s sort of brainless, mindless, push-this-button work. That’s so far from what the reality is.”


According to MLive, the city of Jackson has a manufacturing employee rate that is 92 percent above the national average, making it a boon for the industry.


Rayl is correct that the manufacturing industry has drastically changed—and for the better—thanks to advanced and intuitive technologies like mobility and data analytics. An industry where employees could clock up to 14 hours a day doing manual labor, according to Rayl, can be transformed by the right technologies that yield better business outcomes.


Still wondering why manufacturers need to step up their big data and mobility efforts for process and performance improvements? Research shows that a healthy portion of manufacturing companies are “all in” with their strategies. Consider the following findings from SCM World’s “The Digital Factory: Game-Changing Technologies That Will Transform Manufacturing Industry” report:


  • Some 47 percent of manufacturers expect big data and analytics to have a major impact on company performance.
  • Up to 36 percent expect mobile applications to improve their financial performance today and in the future.
  • Nearly half, or 49 percent, expect advanced analytics to reduce operational costs and enable assets to be employed more efficiently.


In manufacturing, capitalizing on such things as mobile application development and data analytics to make actionable business decisions and improvements is the key to greater profitability and expedited business processes. For example, driven by predictive analytics and mobile apps that enable employees to work anytime, anywhere, manufacturers can better quote equipment and can more confidently assure customers of quicker lead times, as opposed to having to push the time out and risk customer churn or dissatisfaction. It’s only a matter of manufacturers taking that first step towards more improved technologies.