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Digital transformation in manufacturing: three enablers

enabler for the digital transformation
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The digital transformation of the manufacturing industry requires quick adaptation: Manufacturers are faced with the challenge to exceed high customer expectations, reach aggressive production timelines, and operate efficiently to meet market demands. Todays customers ask for smaller batch sizes and individual products. This results in shorter product life cycles, and on-demand manufacturing. To adapt to these changes manufacturing companies radically need to increase flexibility. This enables a production which  reacts to fluctuations in capacity, product variations, and timelines.

Enabler for the digital transformation in manufacturing

To support the complex requirements of manufacturing, Workerbase built an easy-to-use IT system. With our agile manufacturing solution, we help to increase production flexibility to meet the demands of today’s complex manufacturing world. We built our product around three transformational categories: Process, Organization and Infrastructure.

1. Processes

Real-time processes increase speed of operations, thus increase productivity and efficiency and ultimately allow to produce more variants in shorter time.

2. Organization

The empowerment of workers allows better workforce utilization, saves costs and increases resilience.

3. IT infrastructure

Our scalable IoT application platform is the enabler for process and organizational transformation. It allows to move fast and grows with your needs.

Digital transformation requires real-time processes

To succeed in the digital world, companies need to accelerate. Markets are volatile, customers move fast, requirements are changing quickly. To survive in the VUCA world, manufacturers have to speed up and transform their operational processes to meet real-time demands. While lean manufacturing is about removing waste, real-time and digital manufacturing is about adding agility. From our perspective, you need to implement both: lean concepts to eliminate waste and digital tools to be able to move fast and execute in real-time.

Workerbase brings lean manufacturing to the next level. With our agile manufacturing solution, we extend lean with digital tools. By using our solution, you can transform your rather static upfront planning approach into real-time planning procedures that adapt to the given context. Our software solution enables real-time scheduling and process execution. You increase process flexibility and information flow between cross functional teams. You can produce more variants in shorter time, improve the resilience of your supply chain and benefit from increased productivity and workforce utilization. By collecting and analyzing real-time data, you increase process visibility and can implement continuous improvements based on real-time data. As a result, you can manage high production complexity with reduced costs.

Digital transformation requires empowered people

Traditional, top-down hierarchies are a thing of the past. To move fast, organizations need to implement an agile setup that enables employees to solve problems when they occur. It is crucial to share information with all relevant stakeholders and foster employee participation.
WORKERBASE provides a software-platform that empowers front-line workers. The key concepts include:

Employee skills: With WORKERBASE, all value adding activities which include human work are broken down into individual tasks for the human worker. The tasks are automatically assigned to in real-time to employees based on the given context and the skills of the employees. With that, you only assign work to people who actually can perform the tasks and who are available at this point of time. This ensures that work gets done in a proper and timely fashion. In addition, the WORKERBASE software provides on-the-job training routines to upskill people. If the systems encounters process inefficiencies, e.g. because skills are not available or evenly distributed among your workforce, it automatically proposes relevant trainings. All trainings can be taken place in different formats, e.g. coaching sessions, online videos or step-by-step instructions on mobile devices to upskill employees while working. The WORKERBASE system is fully configurable and can adapt to your individual needs.

Accountability: Agile manufacturing processes require accountability. The WORKERBASE system enables employees to take over ownership and drive improvements. All tasks are assigned to individual employees. The system allows to give feedback and submit improvement proposals in an easy-to-use way. This improves the information flow between cross-functional teams and enables rapid iterations to solve issues. For example, machine operators can directly send feedback in case of machine problems to the engineering department.

Transparency: The WORKERBASE system allows to collect process data from all human-driven workflows. This removes process black boxes, increases visibility and process transparency. To meet data privacy regulations, all individual data can be anonymized. The WORKERBASE system is fully GDPR compliant and can be configured to restrict individual performance benchmarks. However, the WORKERBASE system is built in a way that individual workers can access their individual performance data. With their personal WORKER APP, individual employees can get access to their personal data to review work activities, assess training levels and create an individual development plan.

Digital transformation requires a connected workforce

Most manufacturing companies already use different IT systems to organize their production. Usually, ERP and MES systems are used to manage resource, to dispatch and execute production orders. Typically, such systems provide a planning horizon from months to weeks (ERP) or weeks to shifts (MES). What most systems on the market lack is the ability to plan and schedule work in real-time and that allows frontline operators to directly interact with all kind of data.
Workerbase provides a Connected Worker Software platform that can be integrated with any IT system that is already deployed. Workerbase extends existing ERP or MES systems. Workerbase is as large or small as you want, the key concepts include:

Process automation: Workerbase combines human workers, machines and material into one digital platform. With process automation, the platform automatically organizes all work and takes care of the entire workflow management.

Connected Worker apps: Workerbase provides mobile app-based workflows for skill-based real-time processes. All Apps can be configured without software coding in only minutes. The Workerbase systems gradually grows as your demand grows.

Industry 4.0 connectivity: Workerbase is an End2End solution for factory operations that can be combined with any existing software or IoT infrastructure. With the configurable system connectors and serverless computing architecture, the integration capabilities are literally without limits. The flexible user interface building blocks allow to add a mobile HMI layer on top of existing applications. With that, you can connect different systems easily to break silos, bring data to one place and improve collaboration along the value chain.

Data-driven architecture: WORKERBASE provides powerful analytics capabilities for real-time data-driven improvements. With that you can visualize your process data and  create real-time reports to increase transparency and identify process bottlenecks.

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