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Creativity First for a Mobile First World in Manufacturing


June 26, 2014

I work with Manufacturers a lot – that is how I earn my keep. This is a solid industry. It is also relatively stable- many companies in this sector have been in the business for a century or close to that. Keeping track of technological advances and using it to develop new products or doing things in a new way is built into the DNA of manufacturers. However having gone through many ‘technology revolutions’ also makes them cautious bunch.  They want to adopt and invest in a new ‘technology’, but absolutely stay away from the ‘hype’.

Given that kind of setup, I have been quite surprised by how rapidly manufacturers are taking up mobility. When I talk to the manufacturers, be it the head of a function, product line, IT, business – Mobility seems to be the killer user-facing technology. They want to invest and take the old client-server and web applications to smart mobile devices.

The trick here has been to choose the right kind of transactions (high volume) and then ruthlessly simplify the screens- less is more in this new world of mobility.  These mobile apps are all about getting the right information to the right person at the right time, do more with fewer staff and quite simply start engage with staff in a mobile-first world.

But while all this is going on, there have been also some counter-intuitive moves. Some companies have chosen to take mobility to areas where one least expects them. One such application is by a company Fair Dinkum in New Zealand that is into garden sheds.

Now who would have thought one can develop a mobile app to design garden sheds? But tech wizards in this company have taken up the challenge and have designed a killer app. Have a look at – http://designer.fairdinkumsheds.co.nz/. It is a beauty. You select a shed type and then play around with a few parameters and a there it is – your new garden shed. It is in 3D – simple, intuitive, superb user interface and I don’t know how creative people get in New Zealand when designing their garden shed, but it will meet the need of most people I know of.

As I dug to find more about this, I discovered that the app comes handy to all those folks who live in the rural area and otherwise have to travel to a distributor to design and order their sheds.

What does this tell me? I think while all those investments are happening in the bringing what you have to mobile world, the real difference comes in when one thinks of a use case which otherwise simply won’t be there without the mobility. In short it is about creativity – thinking and creating things when there is no precedence and past reference to fall back on.

About the Author

Satya Samal

Satya Samal

Satya Samal is a Senior Vice President with Hexaware and runs Hexaware’s Manufacturing vertical. He can be followed on Twitter @Satya_Samal

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