When people hear the word “technology” coupled with manufacturing, a certain kind of fear takes hold. We hear about “the dangers of automation” all the time, but it’s easy to forget the Industrial Revolution and its impact on labor. In the early days, increases in productivity went almost disproportionately to capital producers (factory owners). As time went on, it was the laborer who reaped the most benefit with higher wages and the ability to work harder with more benefits to show for his efforts.
Today we are faced with a similar issue, but technology is not something to fear. It can be a boon for manufacturers, and will eventually make the life of the average worker much simpler. Here are just some of the advancements already at play thanks to technology in the workplace.
Software has given manufacturers the ability to track their shipments, from the assembly line to the final destination. This type of software uses barcodes, and a back end system to show when an item was scanned at various points along the supply chain. This influences everything from shipping, where the consumer can track his package in real-time, to receiving. Stores can now make accurate predictions of when an item will be available based on what’s in transit at the time. If the customer requests the information, a store clerk may even be able to give the customer an exact pick-up date as opposed to phoning their home on arrival.
This software has also enabled more retail outlets to open online components to their stores, with customers retaining the ability to pick up in-store or ship items to their homes.
[tp lang=”en” only=”y”]General contractors software[/tp][tp not_in=”en”]General contractors software[/tp] allows builders of homes to quickly choose floor plans, update designs and collaborate in real-time. Aside from the planning aspect, these programs also make construction projects much more efficient. Now, contractors can receive live updates on materials being shipped and plan for delays instead of reacting to them. The software even has benefits for owners, as well as contractors. At any point, the owner of the project can request updates, and find a history of changes to projects complete with logs of who accessed a document and made the changes.
Gamification is a fairly new concept with broad implications in everything from professional life to education. The idea is that the worker is now a “player,” and can “level up” and progress through a series of goals. Gamification has turned the simple report into an interactive design, complete with graphs that can show progress over time with actual data points and relevant history. While not a software application in itself, gamification has been the centerpoint of a number of applications in recent memory. Siemens, for example, has created a game called “Plantville” that tries to depict the effects of manufacturing for younger people and new hires. As a philosophy, gamification has the potential to make manufacturing an exciting process full of rewards.
More devices in the field mean more applications that can assist with tasks. For instance, doctors are already using results from do-it-yourself cardiograms that patients email to them for review. Some doctors have managed to cut the amount of house calls they make through email and Skype sessions, diagnosing patients through pictures and video of the symptoms.
Along with all of these advantages come some cons as well. While we have managed to make work more portable, there are problems with dividing our work and home lives equally. These devices also carry some security risks, especially when workers bring their own devices from home.
Technology has made work a lot more efficient and helped to cut down on losses. Especially in manufacturing. Technology won’t solve every problem, but it has greatly improved our ability to get more done with less time.