Four out of five Americans today live in an urban center, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Few of these urban residents raise or process their own food. They depend on the nation’s food and beverage industry for what they eat and drink, be it in at home or increasingly, in a restaurant.
Food and beverage processing plants and facilities are now more important than ever. As shown by the COVID-19 crisis, any disruption in supply can have a devastating rippling effect at each point down the line. This negatively impacts farmers, growers, ranchers, dairies, processors and vendors. For this reason, expect the CDC, OSHA, FDA and state and local agencies to rewrite their environmental, health and safety regulations to better protect front-line food and beverage workers as well as the public.
Old challenges, such as line equipment maintenance and warehouse management, will still remain after the crisis passes. Problems here can halt production, leading to drops in revenue and greater profit margin pressures. They can also result in higher expenditures, including greater inventory carrying costs, taxes and insurance premiums.
COVID-19 has opened a lot of eyes throughout the industry. Executives are realizing the need for strategic changes to overcome a similar situation in the future. Now may be the best time for a digital transformation of their plant’s asset management, maintenance, warehouse and regulatory compliance programs. As a result, a Connected Worker Strategy is gaining traction not only in the food and beverage industry, but across manufacturing in general.
What does a Connected Worker Strategy do? For starters, it enables front-line workers to get more done faster, better, cheaper and safer. Best-in-class connected worker strategies eliminate the cumbersome and error-prone paper-based data collection and sharing process. Paper slows productivity, hampers accuracy, and prevents quick decision making and action whenever a problem occurs or a crisis arises.
Instead, front-line workers use mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, scanners, wearables (smart glasses or watches), drones, etc. These tools allow them to digitally perform work orders, operator rounds, cycle counts, asset tracking, EHS inspections, and more.
Data is shared with decision makers in real time via desktop dashboards and automatically uploaded into the back-office system of record, such as SAP or IBM Maximo. This concept is called the “last mile.” Digitizing the last mile does away with inefficient manual data recording and uploading. It increases front-line worker productivity, boosts accuracy and delivers timely, relevant high-value data. Leaders can use this data to make knowledgeable, fact-based decisions on operations, revenues and other key matters.
When you evaluate Connected Worker strategies, look for platforms that tightly integrate ERP data with step-by-step, visual and guided work instructions. Best-in-class connected worker platforms offer a suite of fully functional and reconfigurable connected worker apps that are easily modified, allowing quick and nimble response to ever-changing business and regulatory needs. Operate and collaborate - anywhere, anytime. Reimagine your plant’s operations to better suit post-COVID-19 realities in asset management, maintenance, warehouse/inventory and regulatory compliance.
RACETM Dynamic Forms (RDF) is a key element in Innovapptive’s Connected Worker Strategy. It’s the major differentiator for Innovapptive. RDF’s low-code/no-code technology lets administrators create and modify digital forms in less than 30 minutes. They’re then deployed for immediate use by front-line workers enterprise-wide.
Innovapptive has just added more than 150 industry-specific and reconfigurable work instructions, SOPs and a digital forms library to RDF and its Connected Worker Strategy. The library provides more flexibility to protect workers, assets, and revenues during COVID-19 and long after. It also greatly expands customers’ data capture, worker safety and environmental compliance capabilities.
The forms are divided into groups such as Occupational Health and Safety, Activity Reports, Checklists, Inspections, and more. Better comply with changing regulations. Accurately assess risks and threats. Rapidly respond to issues and take action before they become problems. Embrace public health regulation guidelines, practice “social distancing” and reduce the spread of COVID-19 across your workforce. Here are some examples:
- COVID-19 Work Order Execution and Job Safety Instructions – Derived from the CDC’s COVID-19 Preparedness Assessment Test, this checklist mandates technicians complete the coronavirus testing protocol before beginning any work order. This ensures workers don’t take unnecessary risks and remain compliant with health and safety procedures. View a video here.
- COVID-19 Site and Environment Risk Assessment – Conduct regular and thorough risk assessment exercises to determine your organization’s vulnerability to COVID-19. Rank risks by severity and likeliness of occurring, enabling decision makers to take prompt and appropriate action. View a video here.
- COVID-19 Safety Inspection Checklist – Develop and implement a response plan to promote personal protection and social distancing. Ensure your company has taken all needed preventative measures to safeguard workers and stop the spread of COVID-19. View a video here.
- COVID-19 Site Preparedness – Identify specific tasks you can perform today to prepare for, respond to and remain vigilant in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, or any other public health threat. View a video here.
To learn more about Innovapptive’s RACE Dynamic Forms and the Connected Worker Strategy, read our recent food and beverage industry white paper. Then click here to schedule a free demo, or call us at 844-464-6668.