During COVID-19, one big question plant managers are struggling with is, “How can I keep essential workers safe while allowing them to perform their duties and maintain quality standards?”
Technology in the form of a connected worker platform may have some answers. A connected worker platform joins digital technologies such as cloud, mobile, smart glasses, AI/ML and drones to empower front-line workers to become a highly intelligent, efficient and context-aware workforce.
To learn how, let’s look at a current connected worker use case to see a platform in action in the current COVID-19 crisis. Andy, a new front-line worker, starts his day at home where he completes a digital health self-assessment. His employer’s connected worker platform automatically determines Andy’s risk level. If it finds Andy to be safe, the system generates a health barcode and permits him to go to the job site.
At the plant, Andy scans his barcode with his mobile phone, which transmits a log of his health information to the enterprise’s environmental, health and safety teams. He then dons a head-mounted terminal (smart glasses) to be welcomed into the plant. Andy is now operating hands-free. He’s receiving voice commands with step-by-step visual and guided instructions via indoor maps that provide him the locations of other co-workers. The indoor maps application designs a route for him to his first assignment to best embrace social distancing protocols.
As Andy walks to the malfunctioning equipment or asset to start his initial work order of the day, he also gets information on spare parts he needs to pick up from the storeroom. Before starting the repair, he’s given important safety instructions. Since Andy is new and lacks significant plant experience, he has a live, two-way video call with his supervisor to get valuable over-the-shoulder, hands-free coaching. Andy also receives step-by-step visual and guided work instructions that help him successfully finish the job.
A connected worker platform is a mobile, dynamic process that can deliver speed and greater accuracy to front-line worker safety. Using mobile devices, maintenance and operations, staff members can perform personal health checks and carry out work orders. Decision makers can view project information in real time to document incidents, formulate action plans, issue additional work orders to remedy problems, and track progress to ensure maximum performance and safety. The end result has potential to improve front-line worker health, enhance productivity, speed up accurate compliance reporting, reduce risk of incidents or infections, and bring a greater sense of security.
Sundeep Ravande is the CEO and co-founder of Innovapptive and a business transformation leader in the space of SAP enterprise mobility, cloud computing, and big data. Prior to Innovapptive, he worked with several Big 5 consulting firms, including IBM & Accenture, and served several Fortune 500 clients to transform their business processes through process and technology reengineering.