Super App for Manufacturing: A Must-Have for Modern Manufacturing Companies

The introduction of super apps has revolutionized the way manufacturers can operate. For years, companies have been deploying several software systems like ERP or MES from different vendors to support multiple use cases across their production line. With super apps, manufacturers can now consolidate different software systems within one platform and achieve a unified experience which streamlines processes and reduces complexity - all the whilst guaranteeing flexibility to meet individual factory requirements.

What are a super apps?

Super apps have been listed by Gartner as one of the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2023. They have already gained traction in the consumer world, with  Alipay and WeChat providing two  great examples of how successful super apps can be. Alipay, a digital payments platform, has over 1 billion users worldwide and offers numerous features that surpass traditional payment methods by providing users with access to credit lines, loans, money transfers, mutual funds and more. WeChat serves as a feature-rich messaging service but also provides additional services such as online shopping, gaming, health tracking, food delivery and more. The app has become so popular, and the range of its offering so wide, that it is often referred to as the "app for everything".

These are just two examples of how powerful super apps can be for enterprises when applied across different business areas. Gartner expects that by 2027, more than 50% of the global population will be daily active users of multiple super apps.

For businesses, super apps provide convenience and speed by allowing them to manage their operations from a single platform. This ultimately reduces the need for multiple vendors while increasing efficiency by standardizing  processes. 

Super apps are now making their way into the manufacturing sector to revolutionize the way we produce: lean, with less waste, and able to quickly respond to the constant shifts in the supply chain. With a specialized super app such as Workerbase, manufacturing companies can streamline as many production processes as they like within one standardized platform. 

Super apps to streamline manufacturing operations

As defined in the Gartner article What is a super app?: "Super apps can consolidate and replace multiple apps for customer or employee use and support a composable business ecosystem." Super apps provide users with a unified experience across different software platforms, thereby simplifying workflows, removing complexity and increasing the odds of process adherence. Picture e a Swiss army knife - one powerful tool that combines a range of app-based workflows that operators can use and remove as needed. But why, where and when does it make sense for manufacturers to consider super apps?

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Super apps transform manufacturing operations

Super apps are a powerful tool for a connected workforce and a game-changer when it comes to manufacturing. They provide a centralized platform for several use cases, reducing complexity and increasing efficiency across the entire production line. Let’s take a closer look at some examples.

Super apps to provide contextual assembly instructions

The assembly line is a great entry point for super apps in factories. They can provide contextualized work instructions that show assembly workers standard work procedures for each production variant. The Workerbase platform, for example, can then automatically adapt these work instructions based on factors such as operator skill level, process step, and deviations in the process (e.g. missing parts). Operators can trigger these work instructions at the click of a button or by scanning a barcode. Or instructions can automatically pop-up on the screen of a workstation. This ensures uniformity and accuracy in the assembly process.

Super apps for efficient quality management routines

Super apps have the potential to significantly optimize quality assurance routines. They can standardize quality control processes and reduce the chances of defects or errors by empowering workers to get it ‘right first time’. Workers can use contextual checklists that reflect the real-time production status. These checklists can be triggered by pressing an app icon or automatically started based on process context. For example, the identification of missing parts in an assembly process can directly trigger a quality checklist.

Super apps to support intralogistics

Logistics personnel can leverage super apps to track goods, manage inventory, and ensure the right component is where it needs to be, when it needs to be. A super app can directly react to input from frontline workers, such as a barcode scan, to display the context-appropriate process (e.g. material delivery task assignment). Manufacturers that have agile processes in place to ensure products are delivered on time reduce the risk of delay or cancellation, avoid interruptions in the production schedule - and gain a sizable competitive advantage.

Advanced Super app functions

There are no limits to the powers of super apps. More advanced applications include integrating Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms that can quickly identify - or even predict - production issues to boost overall efficiency.  For example, the Workerbase platform can be used to track machine performance and automatically alert a machine operator on their smart device (phone, watch) when attention is required, preventing unscheduled downtime.

The perfect time for super apps is now:

What is already clear from market reports and observation of early adopters is that manufacturing companies that don't swiftly act to make super apps part of their operations are going to hinder efforts to transition to a connected ‘factory of the future’. COOs, Heads of Production and production professionals that get onboard now, however, are set to reap short term cost savings and secure their operations long-term. 

Super apps are the perfect tool for a connected workforce, offering a centralized platform that reduces complexity and increases efficiency across the entire production line. Super apps can significantly improve production quality and output by combining smart machine operation, assembly assistance and quality control workflows in one, holistic platform.  The great news is that the flexibility of a platform like Workerbase allows you to introduce app-based processes step-by-step, focusing first on the most pressing processes, and scaling at your rhythm.

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