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Hands-Free Work Instructions and Over-the-Shoulder Remote Coaching of New Front-Line Workers

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Hands-Free Work Instructions and Over-the-Shoulder Remote Coaching of New Front-Line Workers

The average age of the global front-line industrial worker has reached an all-time high of 44.1, up nearly three and a half years since 2000. Then it stood at 40.5, according to the Manufacturing Institute. These numbers reflect a troubling trend in industry. Workers are getting older and that could spell trouble in the years to come as these experienced team members retire and a younger generation replaces them.

Why would that be troublesome? Older workers have accumulated a lot of plant and process knowledge during their tenures. When there’s a problem, they draw upon this deep well of knowledge and experience to help them solve issues. They understand what to do in a crisis, and just as important, what not to do to come to a successful resolution. Unfortunately, not all of this knowledge is written down in training materials, job manuals or work orders. Instead, it’s locked inside the heads of these older workers. That means when they go, that tribal knowledge leaves with them. 

Industrial plant managers and supervisors are looking for an effective way to keep that valuable and irreplaceable tribal knowledge. A Connected Worker strategy offers a convenient and efficient answer to not only preserving that knowledge, but to pass it along as well. 

Let’s examine what’s becoming a common occurrence at plants with a mix of older front-line workers and a large incoming class of younger employees. A young technician fresh on the job has been assigned to assess and repair a faulty piece of machinery. Should this equipment fail, it will cause an unscheduled production shutdown, costing the plant revenues, squeezing margins and potentially endangering an important customer relationship.

But rather than worry or fret, the plant maintenance manager is resting easy. True, there’s a newbie out in the field performing his first major work order – and it’s a critical one. However, the maintenance manager also has a special assistant he lacked only a few years ago. 

Using the plant’s Connected Worker platform and its guided work instructions functionality, a veteran front-line worker who has repaired dozens of similar malfunctioning production machines over the years, is in a live two-way video conference call with the junior tech at this moment. The seasoned pro is monitoring the situation via the younger worker’s smart glasses, seeing exactly what the newbie tech is seeing in real time via a desktop app. The vet can walk his young colleague through all the steps to make a quick and efficient repair job, even though the two are miles away from each other. The younger tech can work hands-free, unencumbered by a phone, walkie talkie or clumsy binder. This helps promote greater focus on the job as well as safety. 

Thanks to this agile, innovative technology, the faulty equipment is now running perfectly, production continues, revenues keep flowing and the customer is happy. Not only that, the younger tech has learned some valuable lessons he can apply to future work orders due to some time-saving tips the senior tech passed along during the call.

A Connected Worker platform not only delivers remote video conferencing as a way to preserve and pass along critical tribal knowledge, it can provide a number of other ways to help transition skills and best practices to younger workers. For example, a best-in-class Connected Worker platform will offer a library of prepackaged and reconfigurable work instructions and inspection forms, a authoring tool to draft new work instructions, compliance and safety documents, and health and safety checklists that can compensate for and overcome knowledge and talent gaps. This library can bring younger front-line workers up to speed quicker. It can also be a valuable tool in talent recruitment, training and retention efforts versus the competition. 

What to learn more? Give us a call

Unlike other Connected Worker platforms, Innovapptive is the only connected worker platform that both digitizes your SAP Operational Data and integrates step-by-step work instructions with SAP Operational Data. Front-line workers get what they need, when they need it to get the job done faster, better, cheaper and safer. 

The solution runs on mobile devices and on smart glasses to allow the front-line worker to work hands-free, while collaborating with a remote expert to guide the front-line worker with step-by-step guided work instructions on a video call. 

In addition, Innovapptive offers a robust library of more than 150 prepackaged work instructions, inspection forms, compliance and safety documents, and health and safety checklists – all available with a simple click. Passing tribal knowledge and guiding less experienced workers has never been so easy. Watch a short, two-minute introduction video here. Schedule a free demo today by calling 844-464-6668 or by clicking here.

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