Jun 03

Manufacturing in the “New Normal”

During the most disruptive time of many of our careers and lifetimes, it is hard to even consider what the “new normal” will be in 12, or 18, or even 6 months. We can only speculate.  Yet, history suggests that human resilience and initiative will enable us to adapt and learn to prosper again.  Look no further than our manufacturing industry to see the evidence. At plants across the country, change is happening, – production of vacuum cleaners has moved to ventilators, auto parts to face shields, and luxury clothing to masks and gowns. 

As businesses look to the future and we continue to adapt and develop our continuity of operations plans (CoOPs) for future disruptions, we have an opportunity to leverage technology tools and solutions to increase our preparedness. While we don’t know exactly how we will emerge from the current state or what will happen in the future, there are many changes that are likely to occurDemand may change what products are being manufactured. Pressure to make up for lost production time may drive the need for more shifts. Existing shifts may need to follow new social distancing guidelines, reducing the total number of workers allowed onsite at the same time. More skilled workers will be needed while experienced, more vulnerable workers may need to contribute remotely. Travel will almost assuredly be limited. Idled machines and lines may need to be brought back online quickly and operated safely by workers with less experience. With all of these variables, jobs, resources, and expertise will need to be better distributed and shared – in ad-hoc and orchestrated ways. 

Given a constrained workforce challenged with a need to get a company back onlinemanufacturers will require new tools and solutions to make the most of what they have. Leveraging existing expertise and sharing it quickly and efficiently across individuals and teams of frontline workers is one way to meet this challenge, and Taqtile’s Manifest solution can help. Its mixed-reality interface can aggregate real-time sensor data, with instructional, maintenance, diagnostic, and operational guidance and compliment it with real-time communication capabilities. This combination of data, instruction, and realtime communication ultimately makes experienced workers more efficient and productive and new or less experienced workers smarter and more competent.  

As an example, using Manifest, frontline workers can be trained quickly and efficiently on how to adapt to working with new equipment or building new products. By providing dynamic operational procedures based on the state of the equipment or machine, Manifest acts as an on-the-job aid to assist workers while they become familiar with new procedures or processes, giving them the confidence to complete jobs accurately, safely, and with fewer errors. For the more experienced frontline worker, who may be grounded from traveling, unable to operate at the job siterecently retired, or simply sharing a shift or work task with a new worker, Manifest provides the capabilities for her to contribute remotely without being on-site.  Using two-way video via Manifest Connect, real-time guidance and advice can be given from a remote location to less informed workers on-site at a machine when quick action is required immediately. Experts can also author procedures and training material in one location and make it available via Manifest to other workers in other locations immediately. 

Indeed, the “new normal” will likely be change. Flexibility, resourcefulness, and adaptability are how manufacturers prosper in the futureLeveraging and distributing resources and expertise with tools like Manifest will be one way to adapt, increase resilience, and succeed. Aided with real-time data and expert advice, all frontline workers will have the opportunity to become experts. Embrace the new normal and learn how Manifest can help transform your workforce with a demo today.