Connected Worker: Staying Connected Minimizes Downtime, Costs, Paper Processes

(This is the fifth blog in a series on business outcome-based conversations.) 

Mobility afforded to us by our smart devices isn’t just about convenience. In the process industry, that mobility can be a huge component of a business strategy. Frontline workers who remain connected to the back office – even when in the deepest recesses of the plant – can make faster, better decisions, with increased productivity of almost 10 percent.

Those who remain disconnected can feel like they are stranded on a deserted island, with no resources available to empower them.

While management might be hesitant to implement mobile technology because they don’t wish to change what they believe is working OK, it’s costing them. Big.

Industry experts say that wrench time accounts for only 25 to 35 percent of a technician’s shift; the bulk of their time is spent planning or looking for documentation. That’s an unsatisfactory reality for both the company and the staff. 

By strategically employing smart devices such as tablets, phones and wearable sensors and adopting simplified work processes to match, industrial facilities can transform the way they do business.

In doing so, they can boost productivity without compromising the clear No. 1 priority: Safety.

Historic constraints that have kept the process industry from adopting use of technology in the field are diminishing. The advancement of cellular connectivity (4G networks) and the adoption of WiFi have helped propel mobile usage. Interoperable platforms and modern cloud computing techniques make it possible for front-line workers to have access to the real-time data they need. 

The cost of purchasing intrinsically safe mobile devices has drastically reduced in the past few years. Last but certainly not least, organizations are realizing that the incoming workforce is expecting modern technology, like mobile apps, to make their lives easier.

The transition might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. A well-conceived Connected Worker Strategy can guide a gradual implementation that neither fatigues the graying, less tech-savvy employee nor frustrates the tech-adept millennial. Aim to achieve swift victories that grow confidence that can scale into a spiral of ideas. 

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Read more in this series, "From Product-centered Push to Outcome-based Conversation":

* Changing the Conversation

* Maintain the Digital Chain (Digital Fabricator)

* Employing the Human Sector (Shift Excellence) 

* Tackling Complexity, Delivering Returns (Enterprise Project Performance)