Mobile Apps for Enterprise Operations Management
Combining rapid mobile app development (RMAD) with a single development environment for building cross-platform apps makes Altova MobileTogether an ideal tool to create specialized mobile apps for enterprise operations management at all levels.
The development schedule using MobileTogether can be as short as a few days vs. weeks or months for traditional native platform coding. That kind of productivity makes it practical to build specialized apps that might only be used by a small number of operations managers, but greatly improve enterprise efficiency.
For instance, an app for the inventory manager for a manufacturing operation with just-in-time supply chain management can link to back-end systems to monitor inventory levels using any mobile device from anywhere in the plant or even offsite.
Manufacturing companies frequently negotiate with suppliers to receive parts as they are needed, with very short lead times between order and delivery. This strategy avoids two problems: purchasing too many supplies ties up capital and requires storage space, or purchasing too little means the factory cannot deliver finished products on time and must pay overtime to catch up.
We wrote a simulation app using MobileTogether to demonstrate how a mobile tool for an inventory manager can improve efficiency.
In our scenario, the inventory manager purchases pre-assembled build kits containing all the unique components for gadgets, gizmos, sprockets, thingamajigs, and widgets to supply customer orders. Complicating the task, some items are individual units, but are also sub-assemblies in larger products. For instance, a thingamajig is composed of 1 buildkitTJ plus 2 sprockets, 1 widget, and 3 connectors.
When the factory is running, the inventory manager’s job is to monitor incoming orders and existing inventory. The manager orders new components as necessary with the goal of maintaining at least 50 percent but no more than 200 percent of average daily demand as parts are consumed on the assembly line.
The inventory manager app has three main views: table view, chart view, and demand forecast view. The screen shot above shows the chart view on an Android device at 5:00 AM before the start of a day’s production.
Forecast view lets the manager review the day’s expected demand by product orders.
Table view, shown below on an iPhone, provides detailed information about each component and lets the manager order more.
Scrolling down further in any view reveals a button linking to bills of materials for each product, allowing the manager to review the component lists for each finished product.
In a real-world app, the clock would update as time passes, the inventory database would be queried, and the manager would watch as components are consumed. In our simulation, the Advance Clock button at the top right simulates the passage of time, 2 hours at a time.
At 9:00 AM we can see 6 orders have arrived and several components are in short supply:
The manager can switch to Table view and order more components to keep the factory supplied.
Repeatedly advancing the clock to 5:00 PM completes the production shift and offers a performance evaluation for the manager’s work that day:
MobileTogether even automatically creates a Windows 10 app from the same design, with exactly the same functionality. This gives the manager an inventory dashboard for a desktop workstation in the office. The Windows 10 version is shown below:
Our example app is only a simulation, but MobileTogether includes all the functionality you need to build a real-world version. MobileTogether connects to all major databases to facilitate interfacing with existing inventory control systems. Purchase orders to suppliers could be generated and delivered by email, text message, through creation of a purchase order document in PDF, Word, or RTF formats, or by execution of a database function or stored procedure.
MobileTogether even supports a signature field to capture the manager’s signature for each purchase order.
Get started on your own mobile apps for enterprise operations by downloading the free-to-use MobileTogether Designer, which comes with integrated help, tutorials and many sample apps. If you would like to try our inventory manager simulation, you can get a copy on GitHub at https://github.com/altova/MobileTogether-inventory-manager