As the world battled with the most significant health crisis in recent times, manufacturers across the globe took extraordinary measures to protect their workforce while managing their operations. A few managed to operate under these stringent conditions, while others faced challenges with increased demand and supply chain disruptions.
The pandemic has had a negative ripple effect on the supply chains with labor shortages, production disruptions, and costs. In short, the pandemic has become an inflection point for technology adoption.
The Shift in Modern Manufacturing
In traditional times, manufacturers produced goods and delivered them to the customers. Supposedly, the customer journey was linear, and it came at the end. The primary focus of manufacturers was to produce standard goods at the lowest cost possible.
With the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, the scenario changed completely. Customers and products shifted to the value chain center in this digital era. Manufacturers are rethinking their processes and business models to provide smart products and enduring value for customers. It requires process changes and reimagining the value chain from design, production, quality, equipment usage, and supply chain. Manufacturers should focus on the right technology tools to gain efficiency, improve visibility and be data-driven.
Microsoft Power Platform is a holistic solution to aid manufacturers in automating their processes, analyzing data, and being customer-centric. Let us discuss more details about Power Apps for Manufacturing in this blog.
How can Power Apps Empower Manufacturers?
Power Apps for manufacturing enable anyone in the industry to clear the development backlog for the applications and start automating the data collection and process automation to solve many critical business challenges.
Enhanced visibility across the value chain – The pandemic has challenged manufacturers to enhance resilience, visibility, and efficiency. With Power Apps, manufacturers can collaborate with their suppliers and partners collaboratively through collaborated apps to accelerate time to value for customers. Manufacturers can easily identify emerging needs and eliminate any road blockers in no time by utilizing low-code applications.
Improved collaboration for innovation – With tailored digital solutions, organizations can empower the employees with intuitive interfaces and real-time insights and enhance collaborative capabilities. For example, manufacturers can utilize apps for field service operations to understand the service quality and manage real-time communications among the technicians and operations teams.
Drive efficiency with process digitization – How do you digitize processes with Power Apps for manufacturing? You can replace paper-based processes with applications, automate alerts and approvals in the workflows, and make data available for immediate use. You can minimize human error and improve customer experience with digital applications.
Power Apps for Manufacturing – The Potential
By reducing development costs and improving speed, Power Apps offers a holistic platform to create custom apps and digital solutions that are highly secure and scalable. Whether you work with a technology partner or enable citizen developers within your organization, low-code development reduces the value barriers to enterprise applications.
Leveraging pre-built templates
- Audit, inspection, and field services
Quality check – For manufacturers, a quality check is a necessary process. You can create your checklists and monitor the products through the factory with easy-to-use applications leveraging low-code development. The application can track the individual spare parts if you can provide the necessary actions to give you a detailed root cause analysis.
Maintenance and inspection – Any connected factory in the Industry 4.0 needs to predict its maintenance activities in advance to reduce downtime. It is the most popular use case for manufacturers. With Power Apps, you can track each piece of equipment and its performance and link it to any previous maintenance history. It will enable manufacturers to analyze this historical data or relate different parameters to create a maintenance schedule.
Field services – In the modern manufacturing era, you need to be more concerned about the after-sale service for your products. The quality as well as timely service matters to the customers. Also, the data from these service requests form an impetus for future quality and efficacy predictions. Hence, it is crucial to track these requests and their status, send alerts accordingly, and analyze the data as required.
- Internal processes
Leave requests – Power Apps portals can help manufacturers enhance their HR operations. You can easily create an intranet to process all the internal requests with HR and finance—no more manual requests for leaves and tracking them.
Attendance tracking – Manufacturers’ most vital productivity measure is maintaining the time-in and time-out for each production line and shift line. With Power Apps, you can easily compare this data with different production lines and enhance efficiency.
Expense approvals – Generally, employees are more confused and least informed about tackling finance-related issues. With Power Apps, manufacturers can provide the employees with the needed expenses and payroll-related information. Also, you can ease the Q&A process for finance-related information.
Employee onboarding – Onboarding an employee requires a lot of documentation and induction into the current organizational culture. You can ease the entire process with low-code development and reduce productivity and communication hassles.
- Workflow automation
Invoice processing – The AI builder in Microsoft Power Platform can extract relevant fields from the invoice to simplify text processing. The workflows needed to process the invoice are automated using Power Automate. If you want to share this with other stakeholders, you can leverage the visual interface in Power Apps to create the needed enterprise application. The benefits of this holistic solution vary as per the business size and the existing internal processes.
Vendor and partner information – Most manufacturers face challenges related to communication with partners and vendors. Developing internal applications always was cumbersome too. With low-code development, manufacturers can collaborate better with vendors and partners to enable visibility through their value chain.
Alerts and notifications – It is not complete if manufacturers create the processes within the applications. The most critical component is to create the triggers and notifications through the workflows so that the processes become efficient.
We just detailed a few process changes with Power Apps for manufacturers. But the application of Power Apps changes according to the challenges for specific businesses.
Microsoft Teams + Power Apps
Real-time response – When a sensitive event like production line stoppage occurs, manufacturers need to respond rapidly. To do that, you can consolidate the information flow and capture the data on Teams to make better-informed decisions.
Highlight production issues – If you can help your employees to leverage both Teams and Power Apps, you can respond instantly to production issues. For example, if employees can highlight any quality issues, material shortages, or malfunctions with chats and alert the stakeholders with embedded apps, you can avoid many stoppages and productivity challenges.
Collaborative teams – As Microsoft Teams is a hub for collaboration between your teams, you can be more productive, complete tasks, track changes, and capture details without searching for individual apps at the workplace.
How do Manufacturers Meet their Goals?
Industry 4.0 is more likely to bring in many changes for manufacturers to be customer-centric. How do Power Apps help them achieve these new goals?
Modern Factory of the Future – As the processes become intelligent for manufacturers, it is vital to engage with these systems effectively. Enterprise applications and data will become essential to such systems in the future. Manufacturers need to empower the stakeholder to utilize these automated workflows and customer-centric apps while also providing the product, risk management, and safety information handy when needed.
Intelligent Supply Chain – With the pandemic, the focus of manufacturers shifted to enhancing the visibility of the supply chain. Power Apps can enable manufacturers to access in-context supply chain data and insights to cater to dynamic customer needs and emerging products and services.
Connected Enterprise for Product Innovation – How do manufacturers validate their new product ideas with customers? Low-code applications rapidly pave a path to bring data from all the processes and stakeholders into the creative process of developing new products. This validation helps design and engineering new products ineffective and valuable ways at each stage. Are you still dubious about the adaptability of Power Apps? Get in touch with our experts to accelerate your time to value.