The past year brought a significant paradigm shift to the way work happens, especially on the manufacturing floor. Although technological solutions have been around to make it possible for some time, the necessity of keeping workers safe during the pandemic led to the rise of the “connected worker”. In this article, we’ll discuss why the connected worker is so essential to success, and how they contribute to reaching critical safety, quality and operational goals. 

What is a Connected Worker?

The connected worker could be any worker who is using a variety of technological tools to get the job done better, faster and more safely. It’s a partnership between the worker and the technology. According to Deloitte, at least half of all workers they spoke with were eager to adopt new technology to help them in their jobs. Whether it’s tablets, smartphones or wearable tech, the main goal is getting workers the actionable data they need to do their jobs the best way possible. When workers can partner with tech in this way, they are safer, more efficient and more productive. 

What We’ve Learned from Connected Workers 

As we embark on a new year, we look ahead by looking back. Over the past year, companies learned a lot about moving toward digital transformation and connected workers because they had to. There was no more time to talk about it or debate the pros and cons. Here are some of the important findings and revelations that arose from this situation: 

  • Technology has been essential in keeping manufacturing operations on track and moving forward, even in the face of shutdowns and pandemic roadblocks. Companies that had already made strides toward getting workers connected to digital resources before the pandemic were more agile and adapted better to the rapidly changing situation over the past year, and were able to keep more workers safe while remaining in business. 
  • Technology did not replace the value of skilled human workers—it accentuated it. Kearney reported that 72 percent of the value created in manufacturing still came from human workers’ creativity and ingenuity. Technological tools that connected and empowered those workers made their jobs safer and more efficient so they could create even more value. 
  • Globally, 85 percent of industry executives surveyed by Accenture said they were putting their money down on getting their workers connected. Those who had already done so reported improvements in safety and productivity while they also saw decreases in operating costs. 

The path forward for manufacturing businesses is to put connected workers at the forefront. Not only do industry decision makers see the value in putting the tools of digital transformation into their workers’ hands, but the workers themselves, who are already tech savvy in their personal lives, are eager to adopt technology at work because they can see how it can help them accomplish more. The Pew Research Center has discovered that this willingness to adopt new technologies at work crosses generational boundaries too, so decision makers should not be afraid to try new things. In fact, a true people-centered approach that includes clarity and worker involvement can lead to great success. 

The Benefits of Connected Worker Technologies

The ability to see data in real time, analyze it and work with it makes workers more effective in a host of different ways. Here are just some of the key benefits: 

Worker Safety

Whether your workers are on the shop floor, or at a remote work site, smart sensor technology in the form of wearables or other devices can detect and warn workers of potential hazards. Technology can also help supervisors complete job safety assessments that can root out dangers before they hurt people. 

In addition, safety leaders can proactively collect and analyze safety data to observe leading indicators that highlight areas where safety can be improved. The result is a safer workplace where workers are protected. 

Improved Quality

Giving workers critical data in real time can help ensure quality compliance all the time; catching defects and nonconformities before they can leak out into the market and cause problems. When workers can maintain the highest quality and eliminate defects on the spot, they improve productivity and prevent costly delays and problems. 

Boosted Operations 

Decision makers can quickly analyse data to manage processes in multiple locations for overall operations improvements across the board. A higher visibility for multiple processes and faster, improved communication between workers and supervisors ensures that problems don’t languish for days before they can be dealt with. Workers feel empowered, and operations improve. 

Anvl Solutions Bring Connected Workers to Your Floor

Anvl‘s solution can empower your connected workers, eliminate barriers in communication, and lead to significant safety, quality and operational improvements. To discover the possibilities, click here to see our demo and then talk with one of our experts today.