26 March 2019

Decentralising control on the manufacturing floor

Most businesses need a central point of operations; a hub that acts as a focus for organisational performance.

Yet, when it comes to the manufacturing industry – or indeed any industry that makes use of separate points in a supply chain such as factories and/or warehouses – having just one source of complete operational control can limit and even impede productivity in these secondary sites and place unnecessary pressure on the nerve centre.      

We’ve explored why decentralised control is so important for manufacturing businesses, and how it can be achieved.

What is decentralisation?

In its broadest sense, decentralisation is a process in which the control over actions taken by an organisation are no longer held exclusively by a central source of management, but distributed throughout a wider infrastructure.

When it comes to the manufacturing industry, decentralisation helps redistribute control and visibility of manufacturing operations from a fixed location to the factory or warehouse floor.

What is decentralised control?

The type of control shared out by decentralised business structures tends to relate to decision-making and planning, allowing those away from headquarters (HQ) greater autonomy. This way, those working in factories or warehouses have direct control over the progress of tasks at hand, rather than relying on intermittent input and instruction from HQ to keep operations moving.

Crucially, systems of decentralised control still rely on constant connectivity between HQ and a manufacturing business’s separate facilities, recording data from each decentralised action for complete operational visibility.

What are the benefits of decentralisation?

Decentralised control enables those at the forefront of the manufacturing process not only to carry out their roles independently, but to solve problems, monitor progress and map workflows, all without intervention from HQ. Factory and warehouse teams gain the experience and confidence that comes from tracking progress on their own tasks, negotiating issues and finding solutions, while those at base can get on with overseeing customer or client service provision. 

Successfully decentralised manufacturing companies also benefit from a two-way stream of business-critical operational information to and from each factory and/or warehouse, which combines to provide an organisation-wide view of performance. Rather than real-time business data staying solely within a central hub, it’s available for factory and warehouse teams to work from, ensuring they remain up to speed with the latest operational updates.

It’s technology that makes decentralised control possible; rugged handheld devices and rugged tablets designed to arm factory and warehouse teams with all the live information they need in the palm of their hands.

How do rugged devices assist decentralisation?

No matter whereabouts in a business a team member is located, they need access to certain operational data before they can make a decision about what to do next. For example, if a shipment of raw materials is late into a factory, the person responsible for keeping things on track needs to have the latest information about the extent of the delay, exactly what it’s going to impact, and how – regardless of whether they’re at business HQ or on the factory floor.

That’s exactly what rugged handheld devices enable; a view of how things stand, even away from the central hub. Tough enough for even the most demanding working environments and featuring wireless connectivity, rugged mobile computers allow workers to log their actions without paperwork, communicate with each other and pull up essential troubleshooting info, all the while effortlessly keeping HQ in the loop with a constant feed of live data.

Achieve decentralised control in your manufacturing business

Introducing rugged handheld devices to your factories and warehouses can give the power of decentralised control where it’s needed most. To find out more about our rugged mobile solutions and how they can benefit your organisation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.



Peter joined TouchStar (formally Belgravium) in a sales manager role in 2001.  Prior to joining the company, Peter held Partner and National Sales Manager roles within the parcel and logistics industries.  

In 2011 Peter was promoted to Sales Director and is now actively involved in promoting the value of TouchStar’s Rugged Mobile Computing solutions to the warehouse, logistics, manufacturing and field service industries. When not involved in the business, Peter is a keen and enthusiastic football and cricket fan.

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