70% of Manufacturing Firms Without In-House App Development

By Oliver Freeman
More than two thirds of manufacturing companies lack the skills or resources to develop employee-facing mobile apps in-house, new research has found...

Research published by mobile data capture specialist WorkMobile found that employee-facing mobile apps play a key role in the majority of manufacturing businesses’ enterprise mobility strategies, with 92 per cent of manufacturing businesses making use of the technology. 

However, while in-house app development offers businesses the necessary flexibility when it comes to tailoring and implementing effective mobile solutions – particularly crucial in industries with a significant field-based workforce – a staggering 70 per cent are unable to do so successfully.

Overstretched and Overwhelmed 

According to the research, 38 per cent of the manufacturing sector’s IT teams are overstretched and don’t have the time or capacity to develop their own apps, and another 38 per cent do not have the coding skills and expertise required to do so.

Given the growing digital skills shortage and the prevalence of apps in both our professional and personal lives, it is unsurprising that 40 per cent of CIOs have found it difficult to recruit employees with the right mobile development expertise.

The research also found that even among those businesses that are capable of developing their own apps, many have struggled to make them a success.

More than two fifths (42 per cent) of CIOs in the manufacturing industry have experienced problems developing apps within a particular timeframe, and as a result, 54 per cent have been forced to abandon the development of an app before completion.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) have had difficulties developing apps within a designated budget, and 29 per cent have struggled to develop apps for a range of operating systems and devices.

Manufacturing Executives Wade In 

According to Colin Yates, Chief Support Officer at WorkMobile, “these statistics are very concerning in the current climate, given the crucial role that mobile solutions play in a successful enterprise mobility strategy.

Even pre-pandemic, enabling remote working was the most common pressure CIOs faced from the rest of the C-suite, according to half of those surveyed. And with social distancing now a priority, that pressure is greater than ever.

The past few months have also shown us that in order for businesses to succeed, agility is absolutely key. In-house mobile app development can be a really cost-effective way for CIOs to respond quickly to ever-changing external factors, and ensure employees always have the right tools to do their jobs.

However, with so many teams facing such significant barriers to in-house app development, they could find themselves struggling more than necessary over the coming months to keep up with rapidly evolving business requirements.”

In light of these difficulties, the research revealed that 67 per cent of CIOs in the manufacturing industry would be interested in using a no-coding mobile app toolkit as an alternative to developing apps in-house themselves. 25 per cent said that they believe no-coding mobile apps would reduce the workload for their team, and a further 25 per cent said that they would make it easier for them to meet the expectations of the senior leadership team.

“It’s clear that effective in-house app development is just not feasible for the vast majority of manufacturing businesses. Fortunately, technology is evolving, and no-coding app development platforms can now offer a fantastic alternative,” Colin added.

“These toolkits make it possible for CIOs and their teams to quickly produce mobile apps that are specifically tailored to the needs of their employees, with no coding expertise required.”


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