When It Comes to Manufacturing, Traceability Is Critical

Consumer and business demands on manufacturing companies are not only increasing in terms of greater overall production but also in providing details on how items are made. With greater insight into how the products we all use every day are designed and produced, the pressure customers have been putting on manufacturers is mounting. Calls for responsible labor practices, longer product lifecycles, more sustainable material use, and so on have resulted in manufacturers needing to prove that they’re doing all that they can to answer them.

Of course, these aren’t the only pressures manufacturers are facing, though they are certainly connected. In the 2019 State of Hardware Report from Fictiv, an on-demand manufacturing software firm, 67% of survey respondents said that the new tariffs have made a negative impact on their businesses. And 43% of respondents noted that they don’t feel they have the proper resources to effectively manage their supply chains. 

With so many manufacturers struggling to manage supply chains in the face of global change, how can the need to support traceability, sustainability, and responsibility be satisfied — with nearly half of the surveyed manufacturers stating that they lack the solutions needed to do so?

Hardware Traceability is One of the Best Solutions Available Now

It’s clear that managing such a heavy burden of information gathering, reporting, and data cannot be handled manually. What’s needed now more than ever is for manufacturers and even those that work with them (such as distributors) to put the tools they’re often producing to use in their own internal processes for improved traceability.

As manufacturers source material from suppliers, different components can be identified and marked to verify sourcing. As materials arrive at a manufacturing facility, they can be tracked throughout the production shop floor through the use of scanners and other mobile devices provided to employees. Often, these devices remain in the facility locked in secure containers to recharge when not in use. But the real benefits of hardware traceability here aren’t just the workflow efficiency — it’s a combination of data acquisition and cost benefits.

Using hardware for traceability, manufacturers are able to acquire virtually any kind of data they need at any point in the production chain. This again includes material sourcing data, date and time stamping for procurement, notification for finance teams, and of course, centralizing all data for leadership reporting purposes. Ultimately, providing a hardware traceability solution on the shop floor allows information to pass from all team members and sections to where it needs to be. This is possible thanks to advanced connectivity within warehouses and hardware connectivity to centralized software analytics.

On the cost side, manufacturers will initially have a difficult decision to make. This is whether to invest in a hardware traceability solution for their organization. Enterprise hardware can be extremely costly. In addition to requiring significant upfront capital, hardware also immediately depreciates as new hardware is developed. And of course, proving ROI on a purchased hardware traceability solution can be difficult since the financial benefits will take some time to be realized and pay back the initial investment.

HaaS is Your Hardware Traceability Solution

Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) is one of the first subscription-stye hardware solutions available for manufacturers. Why invest significant resources upfront when you can simply pay a monthly fee (that’s much lower than outright purchasing) and still get the hardware you need? There are a number of reasons this makes sense, particularly for such a significant responsibility like tracking and reporting on traceability.

With HaaS, everything your users do with their hardware is tracked. You can understand when and where they accepted a new batch of material, where they were routed, and so on. If you have a field service team visiting customers throughout the day, you’d obviously want to know the impact of their work as well. Hardware for field service is nothing new, but the right devices in the right hands can help you more effectively track utilization, costs, and productivity.

HaaS provides the hardware you need for all these different needs and teams. Whether they’re in the field, on the shop floor, or in the office, you get the devices you need for any workforce. And it’s all available at a much more accessible monthly price, ensuring you retain your capital and can even prove the ROI of your hardware deployment faster than ever.

But what about support? Rugged devices do eventually need repair and operating system updates. With HaaS, everything is kept up-to-date as part of your contract. Should devices need to be replaced or repaired, simply send them in. Meanwhile, a new device will be deployed immediately so your team doesn’t miss a beat. And when the time comes to replace the hardware, typically around the end of your contract and after a few years, we’ll be in touch to manage the transition to new devices efficiently and quickly.

On a grander scale, production information throughout your entire organization is unified through best-in-class analytics. This software provides all users — from shop floor employees to executive leadership — with the information they need to manage their hardware program. Supervisors, managers, and other leaders can quickly generate reports, submit repair requests, and manage their hardware inventory from top to bottom.

Get the Hardware Traceability Solution You Need

River Capital Finance has been working with manufacturing companies and many others for decades, matching them with the hardware they need to achieve their goals. If your organization has been looking for a technology solution to assist in your traceability initiatives, HaaS can connect you with the devices, efficiencies, software, and results you’ve been looking for at a fraction of the cost of investing in these elements directly.

Complete the form below to have a conversation with our hardware team. We’ll help you identify the right hardware traceability solutions to keep your customers satisfied and your company protected for the months and years ahead.