The Era of Mobile Dominance: Smartphones are Overtaking Machinery Lubrication Management

Bennett Fitch, Noria Corporation

The Era of Mobile Dominance: Smartphones are Overtaking Machinery Lubrication Management

In today's digital age, mobile phones have become an indispensable tool for professionals across various industries. This is particularly true in the industrial sector, where mobile phones have revolutionized how professionals manage their tasks. Mobile phones have taken precedence over traditional computers, from communication and data analysis to condition monitoring and maintenance. In the realm of lubrication management, mobile phones have emerged as a vital component, offering unprecedented convenience and efficiency. In this article, we will explore how most professionals, especially those in the industrial sector, rely on their mobile phones rather than their computers for managing machines that require lubrication and daily lubrication tasks.¬
According to Zippia, "60% of all website traffic worldwide comes from mobile devices." That is the last data point in a steady increase over the previous ten years since 2012, which reported only 8.53%. The most significant increases were in the first few years, with it crossing the 50% mark in 2016. Nevertheless, mobile hardware technology continues to evolve rapidly, and the applications developed are evolving even faster. In the United States, this is still hovering around the 50% mark comparing mobile device use versus standard personal computers (PCs). This primarily refers to mobile phones and tablets that have created most of this use. Still, other wearable technologies, like smartwatches, are also becoming a factor.
If the web traffic on mobile devices versus PCs specifically represented usage types, such as personal or professional use, there would be a difference. Personal use is around 60-80% on mobile devices, and professional use is 40-60% on mobile devices. And depending on the specific profession, we could also analyze the professional use even more granular into categories such as general communication (email, texts), content creation (writings and graphics), asset management (physical assets, financial assets, people management), project management, and more.
If this were taken down to the lubrication management aspects, including lubrication work execution, even a smaller percentage use a mobile device. But the point is not how low the rate might be right now but where that trend is headed ... UP. Generally speaking, lubrication technology has always been a laggard compared to technology developed for larger markets. But that presents an opportunity to see the larger market technology as a predictor of what to expect for lubrication management in the future. And the reality is already setting in; lubrication management is quickly becoming overtaken by the growing dominance of mobile devices as the standard tool. So for those who have not considered lubrication solutions like this themselves. A warning.

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Source: https://www.zippia.com/advice/mobile-vs-desktop-usage-statistics/
Description of the image
Source: https://www.zippia.com/advice/mobile-vs-desktop-usage-statistics/

Lubrication Management and Mobile Devices

Maintenance and reliability professionals face the challenge of effectively monitoring and maintaining the lubrication needs of machines daily. They know how critical lubrication is to the machine's reliability; smooth operations and prolonged equipment life depend on careful lubrication and contamination control practices. Mobile phones have emerged as an indispensable technological tool for professionals in this field.
It all starts with convenience providing accessibility through this pocket tool. Mobile phones are becoming the preferred device for your machinery lubrication management needs. As a lubrication consultant working with lube techs and reliability professionals on the plant floor, I often see mobile devices used to pull up necessary data, even when the data source wasn't intended for mobile accessibility. Yet, while convenience is the #1 benefit, mobile devices also provide levels of efficiency and enhanced capabilities that have driven their use as a clear winner to meet business objectives. The second half of this article reviews some of these benefits.

  1. Mobility and Accessibility: Mobile phones provide unparalleled mobility and accessibility, making them ideal for professionals in diverse industrial environments. Unlike computers that are typically fixed to a specific location, mobile phones can be carried effortlessly, enabling professionals to access lubrication data and perform tasks more accurately and comprehensively on the plant floor. Whether inspecting machinery, monitoring lubrication levels, or accessing lubrication schedules, mobile phones allow professionals to access critical information anytime, anywhere. This mobility ensures that lubrication tasks can be addressed promptly, minimizing costly communication hurdles and ultimately risking equipment downtime and lost productivity.
  2. Real-time Monitoring and Alerts: Mobile phones empower professionals with real-time monitoring capabilities, revolutionizing machinery lubrication management. With dedicated mobile applications and connected devices, professionals can wirelessly connect to machinery and receive instant updates on lubrication status. These apps provide real-time insights into lubrication conditions through sensor data and Internet of Things (IoT) technology, ensuring that professionals can promptly address any deviations or issues. Mobile phones can also generate alerts, notifying professionals of critical lubrication parameters, allowing them to take immediate action and prevent potential equipment failures or damage.
  3. Digital Documentation and Data Analysis: Gone are the days of manual paperwork and documentation associated with lubrication management. Mobile phones facilitate efficient digital documentation, enabling professionals to seamlessly record and track lubrication tasks. With dedicated applications, professionals can digitally capture essential information, such as lubricant type, quantity and application details. This digital documentation simplifies record-keeping, eliminates paperwork errors, and enables easy synchronization with cloud-based platforms. Moreover, mobile phones facilitate data analysis, empowering professionals to gain insights into lubrication patterns, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to optimize lubrication practices.
  4. Task Management and Scheduling: Mobile phones excel in task management and scheduling, ensuring that lubrication activities are well-organized and executed efficiently. With specialized applications, professionals can access lubrication schedules, set reminders, and track completed tasks, all from their mobile devices. These features give professionals a comprehensive overview of lubrication activities, preventing tasks from being overlooked or delayed. Mobile phones facilitate effective communication and collaboration among team members, enhancing teamwork and coordination for seamless lubrication management across multiple machines or facilities.
  5. Resource Accessibility and Training: Mobile phones are a gateway to extensive resources and training materials for machinery lubrication professionals. With a wide range of educational apps, online tutorials, and technical documentation readily available, professionals can access critical information and training materials instantly. Mobile phones enable professionals to stay updated with the latest lubrication best practices, equipment specifications, and troubleshooting techniques, ensuring they are well-equipped to handle any lubrication-related challenges. This accessibility promotes continuous learning and skill development and empowers professionals to excel in their lubrication management roles.


Adopting a New Tool Takes Time

For the last ten years, I have heard countless debates about the use and benefits of mobile devices in lubrication management. The polarity on this topic sometimes has a personal preference aspect, especially with those seasoned with years of working a certain way. Lubrication work activities are particularly affected by this. But this goes hand in hand with the general trends with mobile phone use across different generation age groups. Younger generations taking more roles in these types of jobs will only strengthen the use of these technologies. In some industries, there is also a corporate-driven suppression of the technology used. Sometimes there is legitimacy to this with safety risks with electrical devices or the simple distraction it sometimes can cause. But over time, these concerns will be overcome with more developed solutions and awareness.
Regardless of the hurdles, mobile phones are transforming the machinery lubrication management landscape by providing professionals with a versatile, portable and efficient tool. LubePM is one example of how this has taken shape with a comprehensive approach to managing lubrication, blending strengths with PC and mobile-based features to streamline and optimize the lubrication work activities. These technologies provide solutions beyond mobility, including real-time monitoring capabilities, digital documentation, task management features, and access to valuable resources. We are only taking what we all know about mobile phones, their unmatched convenience and enhanced capabilities, and extending that to the daily activities of maintenance and reliability professionals. As the industrial landscape continues to evolve, embracing mobile phones as the primary tool for machinery lubrication management ensures streamlined operations, optimized maintenance practices, and improved equipment performance, leading to increased productivity and cost savings.
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About the Author

Bennett Fitch is the President of Noria Corporation. Previously serving as Chief Strategy Officer, his many years of experience at Noria also include serving as the Director of Development for L...