The Components of a Connected Worker Platform, Explained
7 minutes, 24 seconds read
There’s no industry that modern technology hasn’t touched.
The world around us is changing rapidly. Every industry needs to adapt.
Take a “hands-on” industry, like manufacturing, for example. When people think of manufacturing, they think of factories and blue-collar workers. When in reality, the manufacturing industry of today requires a sophisticated, connected worker.
This is great news. The manufacturing industry is leveraging technology to produce goods faster and better. Manufacturing facilities around the globe can focus on optimizing for operational excellence.
Innovations in software and communications platforms are allowing workers throughout large manufacturing facilities to stay on the same page.
Today, we’re going to discuss connected worker platforms. We’ll dive into the necessary components. We’ll also cover how software is changing the game. Companies are using software for communicating and getting the job done.
So, read along with us. You may walk away with a few ideas to take your facility’s team to the next level.
What Is Connected Worker Technology?
Connected worker technology is becoming more popular in a wide variety of industry. Supervisors who need to communicate with workers can enjoy the connected worker framework.
The idea of the connected worker architecture is to keep workers in constant communication with supervisors. The goal is for this communication to prevent mistakes that were previously “unavoidable” and help large teams achieve operational excellence.
This is possible through many technological advancements. The connected worker setup marries state-of-the-art hardware and wearables with the latest in software applications. Workers and supervisors can both view important project dashboards and “see what their colleagues see” from a remote location.
The result is a new level of frontline excellence. Facilities can also trim their bottom line. They can get the same amount of work done while practicing the principles of lean manufacturing.
The Components of the Connected Worker Platform
The connected worker platform is helping facilities reach even greater heights. Connected frontline workers, executives, and engineers are finding it easier to work together now more than ever before. This allows manufacturing facilities to thrive.
Executives in the space can enjoy new levels of visibility. They’re able to see things from their employee’s perspective. This can happen from a remote location. Companies can make quick decisions on optimizing resources and where to spend revenue.
The right components need to be in place to make this platform work properly. There are five main elements of an effective connected worker system. Each element plays a necessary role. They connect workers out in the field to support back at headquarters.
Let’s take an in-depth look at each element below.
The Internet of Things
The internet of things is a relatively new concept in the world of technology. It’s the idea that devices and software systems have their own “internet”. These platforms work together thanks to the evolution of WiFi and cloud technology.
These advances in technology have given way to a movement known as Industry 4.0. It’s also referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things.
In terms of industry the Internet of Things refers to sensors, systems, and other instruments that sync together through computers. These systems allow companies in manufacturing, energy management, and industrial industries to do things they never thought possible before.
Having these systems working together allows manufacturing facilities to keep their finger on the pulse of everything happening on campus. All this is accessible from one clear, simple dashboard on a tablet or mobile device.
Leveraging the Internet of Things also allows manufacturers new levels of insight into how their facility is performing. Management executives can manage their supply chain and keep track of inventory. Facilities staff can also keep track of equipment more easily.
Systems within manufacturing facilities can work together to schedule and coordinate preventive maintenance tasks. The result is improvements in productivity and efficiency. Manufacturing facilities will even see an improvement in their bottom line.
The connected worker platform also relies on robotics technology. Workplace tasks performed by humans are possible with machines.
One example is managing inventory on a shop or warehouse floor. There once was a time when this task was for a licensed forklift operator. That’s not the case anymore.
Many facilities around the globe are leveraging robotics to physically handle their inventory. AMRs are becoming more and more popular in warehouses and other facilities.
These robots can “think” for themselves. They can choose the fastest route between two points in your warehouse. They’re also capable of lifting heavy loads. Many of these robots can lift up to 2,000 pounds of payload.
But, to do their job, autonomous robots need software. These software platforms can help you direct your robots around the shop floor. They can also keep track of what inventory is being moved.
These software platforms are essential to keep robotics running smoothly.
Factory workers can leverage technology to automate a lot of their daily processes. Standard Operating Procedures can be digitized thanks to the connected worker platform.
The connected worker platform can also help to automate the employee training process. Necessary guides and manuals can be online in an easy-to-understand format. New hires can also leverage software platforms to learn at their own pace.
All company resources can also be digitized for future use. The result is that employees always have a guide to refer to. Even much later on in their career.
Routine tasks on the factory floor can also be automated. Anything that is done repeatedly can be handled by autonomous software or robots.
One result of this is less human error. Data and processes become more accurate because you can rely on machines to do them the same way every time.
The Fear of Robots
Some people aren’t happy about automation software coming into the manufacturing space. They believe that “robots” are going to take their jobs. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Robotic process automation is a useful tool. Management staff and other employees can leverage RPA to save themselves time. Facilities can also save themselves money by eliminating redundancies through automation.
The human element of your workforce is still very necessary. Someone needs to watch and reprogram these machines. It’s necessary for them to keep up with changes in the industry.
Robots won’t take your employees’ jobs. They will just free up your employees to focus on the highest and best use of their time.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
AI and Machine Learning (ML) are important components of the connected worker platform. These two can also pair with RPA to really take facilities to the next level.
AI and ML are used in manufacturing to help cut unnecessary processes. They also help reduce waste. These software applications can also be used to understand your specific industry’s market and adapt to emerging trends. They can also help to remove bottlenecks from your facility’s process workflow.
Another area where AI and ML come into play is workplace safety. Manufacturing facilities can use these technologies to adhere to industry standards. They can also leverage AI and ML software to reduce their environmental impact.
Also, the benefits of AI and ML serve product quality and supply chain visibility. Many companies in the manufacturing and distribution space use sensors on their packaging and shipping equipment. This allows management to ensure quality products and track their inventory during transit.
One of the newest advances in manufacturing is the use of blockchain technology. That’s right. The same technology used in powering Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry.
Blockchain implementations within the manufacturing industry are already helping to streamline operations. They also allow these facilities to track their company assets with greater accuracy.
This technology can also help to revolutionize manufacturing from an engineering standpoint. The blockchain can be used for the long-term design of products with a high level of complexity. They can also ensure compliance with engineering and other industry regulations.
Manufacturing facilities can also leverage the blockchain. This Technology can help with their quality assurance and identity management software.
Smart Workers Are Connected Workers
The connected worker platform provides a lot of growth opportunities. This helps the manufacturing industry tremendously.
Leveraging technology, robotics, automation, and the blockchain allows more to get done. Managers can also take comfort in knowing that their job is getting done more accurately.
If you have any more questions about the connected worker platform, contact us today. We’re more than happy to help in any way that we can.
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