How to scale technology in hard hat industries

As manufacturing and hard hat industries approach the next industrial revolution, mobile technologies are poised to drive the transformation. Learn how having Jamf and Apple help this industry transition to the digital age.

June 13 2024 by

Jesus Vigo

Two workers in a manufacturing facility

The (4th Industrial) Revolution will not be televised

Whether you refer to it as Industry 4.0, or 4IR for short – we are currently at the cusp of the beginning of the fourth Industrial Revolution. One that sees the industry upgrade equipment, processes and workflows, tapping the power of modern technology to drive manufacturing, construction, logistics and warehousing businesses globally.

Though it may seem as though technology has permeated every facet of our lives, hard hat and manufacturing is one of the last few industries to make the leap at scale. Since 2019, there’s been an “80% jump in Industry 4.0 adoption,” according to findings from Industry Week.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise though. As manufacturing continues to feel the pressure from supply-chain shortages and workforce issues, coupled with aging infrastructures, innovation is driving the need to evolve the industry. Technology leads the charge in boosting productivity and efficiency as well as in recruiting new talent and retraining employees. Some examples of these technologies are:

  • 3D printing
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Modern software
    • Cloud-based
    • Mobile apps
  • Mobile hardware
    • Smartphones
    • Tablets
    • Digital wearables (Smartwatch, AR)
  • Network communications
    • Cellular
    • Wi-Fi
    • Bluetooth
    • RFID

Each of these examples represents digital tools. Much like the wrench and screwdriver are tools employees working a production line have used for centuries, modernizing manufacturing through technology makes the iPhone, iPad and mobile applications just as much a part of the worker's toolbox. Regardless of whether you work the production line, run QA testing, manage projects to keep them on track or oversee the facility so that production hums along smoothly – the paradigm shift toward technology isn’t a question of if, but rather when.

Digital tools for a new industrial era

Though an iPad may be used to watch videos on YouTube or play the latest game, make no mistake. These are in fact tools and not toys. Much like how a hammer can be used to hang up a family picture on a wall, it can also be used as a means to apply enough force to embed nails deeply into the wood making up the frame of a new home being constructed.

Don’t let the consumer-like functionality we see or experience daily with our iPhone, for example, lead you to believe this isn’t anything but a sophisticated, modern tool that helps workers:

  • Stay connected with team members
  • Generate data for documents and reports
  • Perform hands-on tasks related to their job roles
  • Simplify functions through efficiency and precision controls

In short, modern technologies – whether provided by the company or personally owned by the employee – help to bridge the gap between employee and job-related tasks effortlessly and efficiently.

How does the manufacturing industry bridge the gap between digital tools and business needs?

In the same way it bridges gaps between the raw materials needed to produce their products: through trusted partnerships. In the case of digital tooling, Jamf is the industry leader in Apple device management and security.

Looking beyond that, Jamf + Apple are powerful allies that empower companies by helping organizations:

  • Measure work-related tasks
  • Understand how work is being done
  • Ensure work is completed on time

Dawn of the augmented employee

Not unlike how the Jedi from Star Wars relied on the lightsaber to keep the peace, the iPad is the digital tool of the modern manufacturing worker. It's not as clumsy or random as a hammer; it's an elegant tool for a more digital age.

Regardless of the tool: lightsaber, hammer or iPad, employee safety plays a critical role in productivity. Luckily, managing the latter is made easy by Jamf. With various solutions spanning device management, identity and access — as well as endpoint security for both devices and network communications — Apple devices, employees and data remain safe and secure, protected from all manner of threats impacting security.

By integrating Jamf tools as one comprehensive solution, devices managed by our MDM software establish a foundation on which to streamline and build tasks, processes and workflows for production that is modern and secure.

Effective production is achieved at the cross-section of rock-solid performance and efficiency. This belief also applies to managing the digital tools in your infrastructure. By maximizing how tools are managed, configured, inventoried, updated, supported and secured, organizations can minimize the number of conditions that impact efficacy. For example:

  • Employee distractions: limiting access to tools necessary for work makes productivity the focus while preventing incidents that could lead to safety issues.
  • Trust concerns: privacy and security go hand-in-hand – this is especially true on personally-owned devices – which is why Apple products are made with both in mind and Jamf upholds security without compromising privacy.
  • Language barriers: employee backgrounds are as varied as the manufacturing industry. Jamf and Apple support multiple languages and allow customization of digital tools on the fly so employees can do their very best by reducing obstacles to learning, understanding and productivity.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): The cloud-based nature of Jamf solutions means that management and security extend holistically across your infrastructure; regardless of whether that means one hundred or one thousand locations globally, your digital tools will always be ready to work with easy deployment and management features.

The future of compliance evolved

Like many industries, the word “compliance” varies from company to company and meanings may change depending on the context it’s used in or the parameters relating to the requirements. One example of such a variable is certification. Depending on whether it’s governed by industry regulation, a mandate of a specific trade/union or part of an internal company policy, the process of certifying or recertifying employee skills regularly is critical to operational safety and production continuity.

Historically, certification/recertification – whether as part of a standardized process governed by a particular agency or a less formal process that runs down a checklist of tasks to make sure are tuned correctly before work can begin – has been largely a manual, time-consuming process. And one that is also paper-based.

The shift to mobile digital tools refines this process by: firstly, cutting down on the heavy reliance on paper by making it simple for employees to study for, take and pass certification exams from anywhere. Secondly, inputting the data gathered from manual recertifications reduces the number of steps that must be performed by allowing employees to enter that information just one time. Once captured, the data generated may be easily worked with, including exported to other apps for processing and shared with managers or other team members.

The digital workflow ensures that workers remain efficient as they seek out and certify their skills. The resources saved, like time, are crucial to efficiency: allowing them to focus on obtaining and keeping the skills they need to stay productive. This also cuts down on the level of overhead required when manually performing tasks or the administrative overhead required of gathering, sorting, filing, researching, procuring, disseminating and securely disposing of sensitive, paper-based records and record keeping.

Learn more about how Jamf can streamline your digital transformation

From deployment to management to security across your organization