Motorola’s 2014 study offers a compelling look at the current state of plant communications around the country. Survey respondents represented virtually every area of manufacturing. Over 20 percent were in plant management, 15 percent in engineering, 15 percent in operations and 14 percent in information technology. Rounding out the survey were those from maintenance, production/assembly, warehousing and distribution, security, quality/safety/compliance, purchasing and materials handling.
- The 2014 survey shows two-way radios and cell phones are the two primary means of communication in plants nationwide. Thirty-one percent rely on two-way radios and 33 percent use cell phones to reach others in their operations. The remaining third of manufacturers are split between email and overhead paging systems, with landline phones used least.
- Cell phones fall short, according to respondents, due to problems with background noise, coverage, productivity and lack of robustness. Ninety-four percent say it is difficult to hear clearly in the noisy manufacturing environment using a cell phone. Eighty-five percent are concerned about coverage during emergencies or outages; 84 percent indicate problems with reception; 76 percent say productivity is limited because cell phones are not one-to-many communication; and 72 percent believe cell phones are simply not rugged enough for plants.
- Respondents believe two-way radios are of greatest benefit for resolving problems quickly and efficiently (60 percent); helping workers collaborate and coordinate more effectively (50 percent); increasing workforce productivity (49 percent); improving worker safety and emergency preparedness (44 percent); and decreasing unplanned downtime (32 percent).
- The research reveals that using a reliable device with long battery life is the most important consideration for plant communications. Ninety-six percent said this is their top priority. This was followed closely by accelerating resolution time; working effectively even during outages and emergencies; using a device that is ruggedly built with no monthly fees; and hearing clearly in noisy environments.
- When it comes to their current communications, 45 percent believe an updated system would improve their efficiency and nearly 40 percent indicate it would help improve clarity, coverage and worker safety. A third of respondents prioritize rugged devices that stand up to the rigors of the workplace.
According to leading industry researchers, unplanned downtime slashes profits by as much as 40 percent, while it undermines customer confidence and competitiveness.
Downtime not only impedes workflow, it creates a cascading effect that impacts worker productivity. Consumer devices contribute to the problem – they are three times more likely to sabotage uptime than digital radios. Eighty-five percent of enterprise leaders confirm that drops are the main reason for smart phone failures.
Digital radios have been designed to survive repeated drops from four feet onto concrete. Many manufacturers who use them know they withstand daily abuse that would destroy a consumer device.
Smart phones might be great for consumer use but they are not smart for business. Contact us to ask about communication devices that are designed for your business' needs.
See full report at Motorola Solutions