If I had a dollar for each time that Ive heard the words, paperless society, Id be drinking a Mai-Tai, watching the waves roll-in from my private Hawaiian beach-front property. Well maybe thats an exaggeration, but the reality is that after 40 years of talking about it, technology is now here to support the concept.
In March 2013, Aberdeen Group published a document titled, Mobility Making Waves in Manufacturing, I couldnt agree more but would like to add two words and change the title to, SAP and Mobility Making Waves in Manufacturing, and these arent the Mai-Tai watching kind of waves. In 2005 SAP purchased Lighthammer, in 2006 they acquired FactoryLogic, in 2008 Visiprise, in 2009 Business Objects and then in 2010 they added Sybase, today I understand the vision which drove these acquisitions.
Now when I meet with prospective and current customers and they say we want a paperless shop-floor with full security, we want our operators, from their mobile devises and without leaving their workstations, to have the ability to clock-in and out for the day and to log-in and out of an operation, and we want them to have the latest work instructions and 3-D documents and they should be alerted, also via mobile devise, when their equipment is starting to trend out of tolerance, I can look them in the eye and say no problem.
Just in time, a concept has become a reality. I say just in time because, from what Ive observed, the next-generation workforce is all about swipe and tap, a fact that none of us can deny.