How I lost 10 pounds with Peloton and why this is important for your manufacturing operations

What if you would be able to adapt the very same principles Peloton is using for their cycling experience and apply those to the manufacturing processes in your factory?

What if your operators would be able to use a service 

  • that is easy to use
  • that connects people with their peers, 
  • allows them to review their performance and “work out” on their production skills at any given time, ie. perform training on the job or remotely.

I am a huge fan of Peloton. In fact, I started to use the Peloton service only a few months ago and I already lost 10 pounds in weight. For those who don’t know the service: Peloton is a fitness company that started with a combination of a custom Peloton bike with an online class streaming service. In the last years, Peloton has extended its offering from indoor cycling classes to a huge variety of online fitness courses including cardio, yoga, running, strength, stretching and other options. Besides the impact on my health and wellbeing, I love the Peloton service for several reasons: 

1. Fun and simplicity of use

The Peloton bike has a huge wifi-enabled tablet attached to its handlebars. It gives access to more than 20 fitness instructors and a huge variety of classes. You don’t need to buy the Peloton bike to use the service, a slightly modified version is available via generic tablet/smartphone apps that also run and integrate with other spinning bikes via bluetooth. Such a setup currently works fine for me: I am using the app on my iPad, connected to a larger TV screen in front of my existing spinning bike. This forms a highly-appreciated add-on to my “legacy equipment” as I now can take classes from top instructors in the privacy of my own rooms, whenever I want: Peloton provides live classes and pre-recorded on-demand streaming. So I can conveniently workout at any time and the entire experience is really motivating and fun. Plus: I don’t need to drive to a gym where I have to share equipment and rooms with other people. Which is a huge plus in pandemic times. 

Peloton indoor cycling
Peloton bike

2. Build around a community

Peloton managed to create a 3.6 million member community and the compnay really built the entire experience around the community. When taking a live ride, you compete with other riders on a virtual leaderboard. Many riders organize themselves in “tribes” and (virtually) ride with each other. And then there is the music. You can join classes with your favourite style of music, inspect the playlists before joining a class and later on Spotify. There are cycling classes with Live-DJs and live percussion along club tunes. Peloton even has started a collaboration with artists such as Beyonce that include themed rides. According to the company, Beyoncé is the most-requested artist by its customers. So here we have a company that listens to its customers and evolves the service according to the needs of the community. Peloton figured out to build up an almost obsessive, cult-like community of users, boasting an impressive 96% retention rate and an average NPS score of 91

Peloton Tablet view live percussion while cycling
Peloton iPad interface - Indoor cycling with live percussion

3. Data-driven

The Peloton bike collects a variety of usage data such as cadence, resistance, distance, calories burned, heart rate etc.. The entire data set is available in real-time via the touchscreen and can of course be analyzed later on. This is highly motivating and users love these features: “The most motivating thing for me, personally, is the ability to race with myself. Peloton records my personal records and my best performance shows up as a ghost rider that I try to chase down at my next ride.”  Peloton integrates with other healthcare apps such as apple health. It’s a perfect way to hold yourself accountable and track your training progress. In addition, gamification features such as labels and medals further drive motivation and pull the user into the service. 

Peloton data analytics
Peloton performance dashboard

Peloton is a forerunner and has transformed the way people workout in pandemic times. There are a couple of other fitness apps and companies who try to monetize the quest for a healthy lifestyle. In fact, Apple has just launched their Apple Fitness+ service. Similar to Peloton, it allows to stream studio-style workouts on all kinds of Apple smart devices, and of course it incorporates workout data from Apple Watch for a personalized experience. Similar to Peloton, the service is built around simplicity of use, community and data. So we currently see a huge transformation happening in the fitness industry allowing a more streamlined and optimized fitness experience that really motivates people to workout more and better. What if you would be able to adapt the success principles of online fitness services and apply those to the manufacturing processes in your factory? What if your operators would be able to use a service that is easy to use, a service that connects them with their peers, allows them to review their performance and “work out on their production skills” at any given time, ie. perform training on the job or remotely. You don’t have to wait any longer as the WORKERBASE service exactly provides such an experience. 

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Digital tools to improve the performance of manufacturing operators

Ease of use: Operators on the shop-floor can use their personal smart device to receive all relevant information in real-time. Operators are notified instantly whenever a task needs to be completed. In addition, they get step-by-step instructions on mobile devices to reduce non-conformities. With that, standard work operation procedures become highly dynamic and personalized. Operators only get the relevant information when they need it and have the ability to feed back data with the push of a virtual button. Good-bye paper-based processes! There is actually no need why work processes in factories have to look like in the year 2000. Modern lightweight devices and digital processes streamline manual work and allow flexible production processes.

smart workflows for manufacturing operations
WORKERBASE Industrial Smartwatch

Digital workflows to build up a community on your shop-floor

Community: By using a modern digital system such as WORKERBASE, manufacturers connect their workforce with each other and provide real-time access to information from all kinds of systems. Employees communicate via mobile devices and engage with each other. The result: increased collaboration and less silo thinking. Digital workflows ease the submission of continuous improvement proposals and allow peer-review with configurable feedback loops. Digital apps such as the WORKERBASE Digital Andon or Incident reporting foster rapid problem solving by identifying relevant experts with a finger tap. This speeds up communication between peers and usually is highly requested by operators on the shop-floor. 

performance app or manufacturing
WORKERBASE Manufacturing app

Digital workflows for data-driven manufacturing

Data-driven: With the WORKERBASE MyWork app, operators get a personalized view on their individual performance data and can review their past activities, what tasks they were performing, how long it took and how their individual progress looks like. The performance data forms the basis for an individual training and upskilling function: based on the individual performance, the system automatically proposes short training lessons that an employee can pull on demand. With that, operators attend on-the-job training sessions and “work out” on their skillset. Of course the training data can be stored in existing HR systems to streamline all competency management processes.

personal performance app for manufacturing
WORKERBASE MyWork app - Individual performance app for manufacturing

We already have the MyWork app up and running at production sites. Operators are deeply interested in their individual performance and we currently extend the app with additional community and gamification features. The entire system is built around enterprise security and data privacy principles: for example, the performance data of employees can not be analyzed by superiors to monitor the performance but is only visible to the respective employee. All management data dashboards only display anonymized data to restrict individual performance control. With this approach, the collected data can be used to identify process bottlenecks on an aggregated level. The effect is transformative and we already see a tremendous improvement in process transparency at companies that use the WORKERBASE system. 

Let me give you an example how the system works: in the case of machine interruptions, the company dashboard displays the number of machine interruptions and how long it takes on average to resolve issues. The overall goal is to reduce machine downtimes and to increase KPIs such as the OEE. The personal performance of individual employees is not displayed on the dashboard. On the other hand, each operator can review his individual response times to machine interruptions with his personal MyWork app. And of course the data visualization is not limited to real-time data but includes a variety of data:

  • analyze historical data
  • compare performance with colleagues (in an anonymized way)
  • review performance progress over time
  • see personal records, e.g. fastest reaction time

We strongly believe that a data-driven approach for personal growth is not only suitable for fitness apps but can also be utilized in professional environments such as manufacturing operations. Self motivation and peer-feedback are core principles of employee empowerment and we suggest to support employee engagement with digital tools. Please contact me in case you would like to get more information about the MyWork app!

Author: Thorsten Krüger, Co-Founder WORKERBASE

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