While many production processes have been digitized over the course of the last years, the underlying organization of labour often remained unchanged. Although lean production principles have been introduced to remove waste, most manufacturing companies still have no visibility about what their people are working on right now and how long certain jobs take. The root cause lies in how work is organized. Paper based processes and static job types with fixed responsibilities do not offer full visibility about the production status in real-time. In addition, the ability to collaborate across functional areas and to flexibly organize work is limited.
Operators in manufacturing systems usually use the easiest possible method to exchange and communicate with each other. In conventional manufacturing systems this is most likely word of mouth communication, mail, phone or pen and paper. All these methods have one thing in common. They are unable to capture the complexity of modern production systems while often lacking efficiency and speed. A technology push is needed to replace the traditional way of communication and work organization. Instead of in person communication and paper processes, e.g. just to reorder material or assign tasks, mobile devices can be used to assign work, increase reaction speed and productivity.
Software systems which put operators in the centre and focus on the flexible organization of human work are called Connected Worker Systems. In the Hype Cycle for Frontline Worker Technologies, Gartner summarizes the benefits for a Connected Worker Platform: “Integrating workers with their surroundings will boost production flexibility with faster and more proactive responses to the surrounding environment. It will also drive retention and a knowledge foundation for the enterprise.” Based on experience from our customer projects, we at WORKERBASE have learned that implementing a Connected Worker System can generate tremendous value, e.g. 5% improvement of Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) or 20% productivity increases for manual activities in batch production.
But what are the signs of whether new technologies are needed within production? The following 20 indicators enable management to detect if technological support with a modern system could be of help to operators.
These signs cause inefficiencies on the shop floor that can be prevented through the use of modern technology. By deploying a Connected Worker system such as WORKERBASE you can transform the way how work is scheduled, executed and measured. The system easily integrates operators into the digital information flow by equipping them with mobile devices to:
Through these measures conventional manufacturing systems are transformed into an agile manufacturing system with increased factory output through higher utilization of operators and equipment as well as several other benefits of agile production systems.
The WORKERBASE Connected Worker system can be implemented in only a few weeks. It easily integrates with your existing IT systems and does not require huge upfront investments. Even if you are currently undertaking a year-long ERP or MES migration project, a system such as WORKERBASE can be implemented to realize short-term improvements and to digitally enable human workflows. Please contact us if you are interested in how to overcome your production challenges in a short period of time.