Low-Code Tools Empower Shop Floor Workers and Improve Efficiency

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Low-Code Tools Empower Shop Floor Workers and Improve Efficiency

In the dynamic world of manufacturing, complexity, and rapid changes present significant challenges. Innovative solutions such as low-code tools and open-source software are transforming the industry, making it more efficient and adaptable. This article explores how these technologies reduce complexity, empower workers, and enhance overall productivity in manufacturing environments.

Reducing Complexity with Low-Code Tools

Low-code platforms play a crucial role in simplifying various aspects of manufacturing. These tools allow users to develop applications with minimal coding, bridging the gap between IT and business teams. Here’s how they contribute to manufacturing efficiency:

1. Bridging the Gap Between IT and Business Teams:Low-code platforms democratize data access, enabling all team members to collaborate on solving business problems. By breaking down data silos, these platforms foster a collaborative environment where IT and business teams can work together seamlessly.

2. Simplifying Application Development:Manufacturing engineers and shop floor workers can leverage low-code tools to build applications without extensive coding knowledge. This empowers them to create solutions like real-time quality control applications, reducing the reliance on traditional, error-prone spreadsheets.

3. Improving Data Consistency and Accessibility:Low-code tools consolidate data from multiple sources into a centralized platform, enhancing data consistency and accessibility. This allows for better decision-making and streamlined operations.

4. Enabling Agile and Iterative Development:These platforms support rapid development, deployment, and iteration of applications. This agility allows manufacturers to quickly adapt to changing business needs and continuously improve processes.

By democratizing technology, low-code tools enable shop floor workers, manufacturing engineers, and IT professionals to contribute to solution development, fostering a more agile and efficient manufacturing environment. However, successful implementation requires careful planning, change management, and appropriate governance.

One benefit of using open-source software for shop floor applications is that it is free to use, which makes it ideal for “shadow IT” applications that may later be adopted more widely within a company. Because there is no cost involved, employees can begin using the software on their own initiative, and if their supervisor sees that it is beneficial, they can help scale up its use.

The successful adoption of low-code tools requires a shift in mindset from both IT and OT. IT departments need to embrace the concept of citizen development and provide the necessary support and guidance to ensure its success. Meanwhile, OT teams need to be open to new technologies and approaches, recognizing that the old ways of doing things are no longer sustainable in today’s rapidly evolving manufacturing environment. By working together and embracing the principles of agility, interoperability, and data-driven decision-making, manufacturers can unlock the full potential of low-code tools to drive innovation, improve efficiency, and create a more responsive and competitive manufacturing operation.

Source: the “Empowering the Frontline: Low-Code Tools for Enhancing Shop Floor Decision-Making” session sponsored by FlowFuse at the IIoT World Manufacturing Days. This is an excerpt from the discussion summarized by notebooklm and chatGPT based on the session’s video transcript. It was verified and edited by IIoT World’s team.