Utility of iPads on Shop Floor
One of the bottlenecks in today's shop floor manufacturing techniques is the incapability of shop floor supervisors to move across the shop floor and see real-time information on production and make intelligent decisions. This means that if a shop floor supervisor has a tool that enables him/her to track a particular part, subassembly, finished good anywhere in the shop floor by looking at the real time data, it would allow the supervisor to remove system bottlenecks more efficiently.
The ipad can be a wonderful tool to be used in shop floor because of its mobility, mobile internet access and touchscreen abilities . Also its light weight makes it a very useful hand held computer on which the shop floor employees can view real time data and reports. A company for example has stated to anticipate savings of around $100000 an year in time and paper for all its invoicing, signature capture and credit approval process. Also the capability to carry less paper makes the job of shop floor employees more interesting. Not only in the shop floor, but the terrific capabilities of iPad can be leveraged in retail outlets, warehouses as well as hospitals.
The habit of constantly monitoring real time manufacturing process through iPad and take real time decisions can drastically lead to waste reduction and optimal inventory. Not only this, but the iPads can effectively be used by transporters to optimize their milk runs and use the principle of cross-docking more effectively by timely and real time access to data
Also, since the paperwork, such as job sheets don't move along with parts, supervisors have to constantly leave shop floor to look for the missing part or they have to go to their desktops to track the part in their ERP system. Having the job sheet in front of them at any time that updates the part movement and the inventory in real time gives a real time picture to the supervisor. There are instances where the job steps need to be updated/changed due to parts/sub assembly having defects. Such cases involve a lot of physical movement and unwanted paperwork. This reduction and hence saving can be brought about by use of iPad in shop floor. This is also anticipated to bring about better communication and interaction among the employees even if they work in isolated zones. This in turn helps bring about better quality, reduced rework, increased on-time delivery and reduction in lead times