Survey: Manufacturers Use Mobile Apps for Inspections, Work Orders

The Canvas survey points to an increasingly mobile manufacturing workforce looking to extend more day-to-day business processes to mobile devices, and that structured and unstructured data collection and collaboration apps are rising to the top of wish lists.

Reston, Va. β€” Among manufacturing firms that have deployed mobile apps to their workforces, 48% are using mobile apps for inspections, followed by 36% for work orders and 23% for surveys, according to a new survey of more than 1,100 business and IT decision makers conducted by Canvas, the global leader in mobile apps for businesses. Additionally, 63 percent of all businesses surveyed see value in integrating core business applications – such as Dropbox, Square, Salesforce, Evernote and Quickbooks – with mobile devices and tools.

The Canvas 2014 survey was completed by more than 1,100 decision makers from a broad range of company sizes and industries that have historically relied heavily on paper forms and manual processes, most prominently construction and contracting, manufacturing, retail and distribution, healthcare, transportation & logistics, and government.

The survey points to an increasingly mobile manufacturing workforce that is looking to extend more day-to-day business processes to their mobile devices, and the fact that structured and unstructured data collection and collaboration apps are rising to the top of the business decision maker wish list. When it comes to specific tasks manufacturing businesses are using mobile apps for, respondents cited:

  • Inspections (48%)
  • Work Orders (36%)
  • Surveys (23%)
  • Invoices (21%)
  • Checklists (18%)
  • Inventories (6%)
  • Other (23%)

Additional key survey findings:

  • File storage: More than half (52%) of manufacturing businesses are using file storage applications, and of those businesses using file storage applications Dropbox (51%) is the dominant choice.
  • Note taking software: 23% of manufacturing businesses surveyed use note taking software or applications for their business. Of businesses using this type of software/application, Evernote is most heavily used at 52 percent
  • Credit card processing: Only 6% are using mobile credit card processing applications in their manufacturing businesses.
  • CRM: 33% use a CRM system in their manufacturing business, and of respondents using CRM tools, Salesforce (41%) commands the most users.
  • Accounting: 47% of businesses surveyed use an accounting application, with Quickbooks (41%) the most heavily used.

β€œThat businesses in the manufacturing industry are going mobile is not a surprise; what this survey demonstrates is that organizations of all shapes and sizes are looking to a broadening array of mobile services to improve their business processes,” said James Quigley, co-founder and CEO, Canvas. β€œThe results affirm that manufacturing companies are shifting core business processes to mobile; drawn to the ability of mobile apps to solve challenges associated with inefficient paper-based processes.”

The survey of Canvas customers, conducted February 2014, included companies from a broad range of industries and sizes. Of the respondents, 29% were from businesses with 500+ employees; 21% were from businesses with 101-500 employees; 17% worked at organizations with 26-100 employees; and 33% hailed from small businesses with 25 employees or less.

About Canvas

Canvas is an easy, fast and economical way for businesses to find, customize and create mobile forms to replace paper forms. Canvas is a cloud-based software service that enables users to collect information using mobile devices, share that information and integrate with existing backend systems. Canvas also offers the first mobile business application store of its kind, allowing businesses from diverse industries to find mobile forms specific to their needs. To learn more, visit


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