Everyone has heard about the “new normal” after COVID-19 swept across the globe, leaving many industries 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.
Digital workplace transformation
As physical offices closed, creating a digital workplace was crucial to keep employees connected. Organizations started to increase their digital workplace strategy.
Employees could access a cloud-based platform with all relevant business applications and documents from their homes using mobile devices. Where phone calls and e-mails couldn’t cut it, they were replaced by virtual meetings and instant messaging. The future of work has changed. Digital workplace solutions providing easy collaboration and communication became a necessary part of business processes.
But what would be the best digital communication tools for industries where employees don’t spend most of their time behind the desk?
Building resilient workforce
Supply chain industries, manufacturers included, had to deal with several issues: how to protect the existing workforce, train the new people safely, ensure business continuity, and drive efficiency. All this at a distance.
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 often cannot pay a second visit to the site due to costs or COVID-19 restrictions.
Answers to many of these challenges have been found in the intelligent workplace and connected worker technology.
Combining hardware, network, and software tools enable communication between frontline workers, operators, and other employees working in different locations. Furthermore, real-time access to information and expertise act both as a guide for day-to-day tasks and a safety net for workers in trouble. This combination makes a connected workforce autonomous, collaborative, and resilient against disruptions.
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 leading them through the tasks can be 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. According to Lockheed Martin, if your strategy includes augmented reality tools, the training time can be cut by a striking 85 %.
A connected workplace 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.
Safer work environment
There is no chaos on the shop floor or in the field with straightforward work instructions depicting each step with visual clues. The guidance ensures that health and safety procedures are respected, making it less likely for an accident or an emergency to occur.
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
COVID-19 restrictions, faulty machines, or a production shift to answer a sudden demand. Connected worker technology will help you ease the transition. Respond faster by efficiently re-skilling staff. Increase success rates with remote assistance that helps workers resolve any issue right from their current location.
Efficient processes and high-quality production
Poor manufacturing outcomes were often falsely blamed on human performance. 60-80% of errors in organizations occur in processes with a human element involved.
However, mistakes can be easily avoided with an intelligent digital workplace designed with workers in mind. According to Polaris research, those who have implemented connected worker solutions have more profitable plans and are more likely to improve their operational performance.
Digitalized standard operating procedures are the basis of lean manufacturing, especially when it comes to tasks that are done repeatedly. SOPs capture the best practices step-by-step. There is no room for errors, no matter how simple or complex the task. They also ensure that even inexperienced workers will meet the highest product quality standards and continuously improve.
Enhanced collaboration across teams
Real-time communication among workers positively impacts operations and company culture by boosting employee engagement.
Remote teams can contact experts when solving issues or share their daily experiences on digital workplace 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.
Successful two-way communication may encourage connected employees to share feedback and ideas. It may also help them feel more included when staying at home during a crisis.
More control over resources
With the help of digital SOPs and remote assistance, technicians in the field can work autonomously without any delays. Experts support and advise workers remotely. 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 new normal? Try resco.Guides
Resco provides a knowledge management solution that will help you keep up with the competition. All tribal knowledge, guides, and manuals 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.