Why connected worker is your biggest asset after the pandemic
Everyone has heard about the “new normal” after COVID-19 swept across the globe leaving many industries, manufacturing included, struggling. However, some companies have adapted to new conditions and obstructions easier than others. Why? The answer is simple.
They decided to shift from the traditional approaches to digital transformation and became a part of what McKinsey calls the “next normal”. This term describes a post-pandemic generation of companies with a digital-first mindset that is more agile and flexible in facing disruptions. But are you ready for the “next normal”?
Build your resilience with connected workers
When the pandemic hit, organizations had to react quickly to the new conditions to stay open. They had to deal with several issues: how to protect the existing workforce, train the new people safely, ensure business continuity, and drive efficiency even at a distance. According to Gartner, another issue to tackle that intensified during the pandemic were the rising expectations to successfully perform tasks on the first try.
Workers in the field are often unable to pay a second visit to the site due to costs or COVID-19 restrictions. Answers to many of these challenges have been found in connected worker technologies.
Building resilience in manufacturing is dependent on how empowered the workforce is. Connected worker technologies keep workers informed in real time, autonomous, but still able to collaborate. They are built to guide them through standardized procedures safely and efficiently, improve communication between operators and workers in the field, and engage them in continuous improvement.
Poor manufacturing outcomes were often falsely blamed on human performance since approximately in factories occur in processes with a human element involved. However, it turns out this does not have to be accurate, as the mistakes can be easily avoided. To do so, organizations need a comprehendible and flexible system designed with workers in mind.
And shaping the operations around worker’s needs might just be how to get ahead of the competition. According to Polaris research, not only do those who have implemented connected worker solutions have more profitable plans, but they also are more likely to improve their operational performance.
What are the advantages of connected worker technologies?
Faster and continuous learning
Workers do not have to carry around physical manuals anymore. A library of SOPs, manuals and step-by-step guides that will lead them through the process can be made available on mobile devices, anywhere they go. Training and onboarding can be quicker and don’t have to happen in person, as workers have all critical information at their fingertips.
It also gives your company visibility into real-time production and an opportunity to identify and close skill gaps in the workplace. As many manufacturers encounter the aging workforce issue, capturing procedures and sharing them through digital tools helps retain essential tribal knowledge.
With easily comprehendible instructions depicting each step with visual clues, there won’t be any chaos on the shop floor or in the field. It is less likely that an accident or an emergency occurs, as this guidance also helps to ensure that health and safety procedures are respected. Leveraging technology also plays a role in keeping workers safe when it comes to social distancing, which has been crucial during the pandemic.
Minimizing work disruptions
Whether it be disruption due to COVID-19, faulty machines, or a decision to shift production to answer a sudden demand – connected worker technologies help ease the transition. They will allow you to respond faster by efficiently re-skilling staff and your workers to collaborate and resolve any issue right from their current location.
Furthermore, it costs much less time (by 85 %, according to Lockheed Martin) and money than the traditional shadowing and classroom training approach that only enhances passive learning.
Efficient processes and high-quality production
Digitalized and standardized operating procedures, especially when it comes to tasks that are done repeatedly, are the basis of lean manufacturing. It defines each step, and the best practices, which means there is no room for errors, no matter how simple or complex the task. And it also ensures that even inexperienced workers will meet the highest standards of production quality.
Enhanced collaboration across teams
Real-time communication among workers positively impacts operations and company culture. On the one hand, workers can get in touch visually and verbally with remote experts when solving issues and share their daily experiences through connected platforms with their colleagues. This way, they have access to the latest information, learn from each other through instant input, and achieve better in-the-moment decision making.
On the other hand, successful two-way communication may also encourage them to share their suggestions for improvements or help to feel more connected when staying at home during a crisis.
More control over resources
With the help of digitalized SOPs and remote assistance, technicians in the field can work autonomously without any delays. Experts support workers and offer advice remotely, so there are no waiting times or the need to travel and spend hundreds of hours and gallons of fuel on the road.
They can use the extra time to solve more complex issues where expertise is necessary. Connected worker technology also enables you to operate with fewer experts on your hands, meaning you gain more control over time and expenses.
Are you ready for the next normal? Try Resco Houston!
Resco Houston is a knowledge management application that will help you keep up with the competition. All tribal knowledge, guides, manuals, and AR video calls are packed in a single app. Empower workers by sharing expertise in real time and improving your operations’ efficiency with the necessary knowledge at your workers’ fingertips.