Even before the disruptions caused by COVID-19, manufacturing was moving rapidly toward “lean” philosophies, seeking to improve efficiency, automate processes, cut waste and drive a more dynamic production cycle. At the heart of this program are smart, connected devices that are also durable.

Rugged smartphones’ growing popularity shows the critical role that technology resiliency plays, as manufacturing seeks to get the most out of these versatile devices. Lean manufacturing needs phones that can deliver the latest app-based productivity tools and also withstand unexpected drops.

What is lean thinking in manufacturing?

Lean thinking is about adding value. Its proponents review all aspects of the manufacturing cycle to curb unnecessary activity, whether in design, production, distribution or customer service.

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Manufacturing personnel operate across diverse spaces — from the loading dock to the shop floor to the administrative centers — so communication and real-time tracking are critical. In lean thinking, communication across the enterprise is essential. All the gears need to turn together with minimal waste and without excess effort. Mobile devices play an important role in this endeavor.

The rise of mobile apps on factory floors

The advent of mobile data and apps has presented an opportunity for mobile manufacturing solutions to simplify operations and reduce waste.

The ability to instantly share images, documents and other necessary business information makes the rugged smartphone an invaluable addition to the lean toolbox. At the same time, connected accessories such as barcode scanners can increase efficiency, saving time and reducing redundant efforts.

Mobile apps help enable Gemba walks — transliterated from Japanese “genba,” meaning “the real place” — where managers identify opportunities for improvement in key areas like scheduling and inventory. Likewise, tools such as a statistical process control (SPC) app can send push notifications when performance starts to stray off target.

The growth of lean thinking and the new app ecosystem together drive mobility in manufacturing. Historically, mobile devices’ limited durability has lessened their ability to survive in the rigorous conditions of a manufacturing environment. Hence the rise of the rugged smartphone.

Drops are the leading cause of phone breaks and all too common in the manufacturing sector. With vulnerability to dust and dampness, too, it becomes clear why manufacturing environments take their toll on average smartphones.

Samsung’s rugged devices combine durability and functionality

Manufacturing needs rugged devices like Samsung’s Galaxy XCover6 Pro, with all the versatile functionality of the most advanced smartphones plus the durability to withstand the rigors of the manufacturing environment.

Broken displays are a top concern when it comes to smartphone durability. That’s why Galaxy XCover6 Pro was designed to MIL-STD-810 specifications for military-grade toughness. The edge-to-edge 6.6-inch screen is built tough and with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, so it can withstand drops from up to 1.5m. It’s a long way from the loading dock to the warehouse floor, and workers need the peace of mind that accidentally dropping their device isn’t going to cause an unnecessary break in their workflow. Galaxy XCover6 Pro’s screen is even sanitizer-safe, so employees can clean their device without fear of damaging it.

Beyond drop testing, the device was put through a series of 22 other environmental tests, including blowing rain and dust, humidity and extreme temperatures, in addition to high altitude and constant vibration.

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Working in extreme conditions means employees might need to wear gloves while they work, and Galaxy XCover6 Pro’s increased touch sensitivity supports input from regular leather gloves up to 2mm thick. Wet Touch mode also ensures employees can use their device when their hands are wet from rain or snow.

Galaxy XCover6 Pro’s durability comes with all the other features you want in a premium smartphone — including powerful 5G and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, as well as support for CBRS to run on private networks. The long-lasting swappable battery, Pogo pins and Pogo pin fast charging provide flexible charging to support long shifts. Enhanced volume makes it easier to work in noisy environments, and there’s a vast ecosystem of business-ready accessories from Samsung and third parties.

Mobile devices have helped change the world of manufacturing, driving lean processes to unforeseen heights. Now, rugged versions are ushering in a new phase of efficiencies. With the ability to withstand drops and operate unimpeded across a range of conditions, the latest rugged smartphones demonstrate how durable technologies can help the manufacturing sector achieve its lean ambitions.

Find out more on how mobile enterprise solutions are changing the way employees work on a daily basis. And get your free guide to the mobile technologies that will accelerate your smart factory journey.

Posts By

Karen D. Schwartz

Karen Schwartz has more than 20 years of experience writing about technology and business issues across the spectrum, including government, small business, education and channel. Schwartz has written about everything from telecommunications to outsourcing for industry-leading publications like CIO, InformationWeek, eWeek, Government Executive and PC Magazine, in addition to dozens of ghostwritten white papers, articles and case studies for companies like Microsoft Corp., Comcast, Dell, Unisys Corp. and CDW.

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