The world has been in lockdown now for a few weeks or months (depending on where you live). For some companies, it was easy to adapt to home-office. In contrast, others had to quickly scramble to find remote collaboration tools, VPNs, and other technical solutions to stay in touch with colleagues and keep the show running.
For the industrial sector, the change was a tough one to handle. Since the majority of the work is hands-on, it is not something that you can switch to home-office as other industries do. Because of this, many of these companies are now turning up the velocity to find solutions to allow them to keep manufacturing operational remotely. But why did they wait for crisis to change their ways?
Remote Collaboration is the key to keeping operations running
With the current situation, the trick is to limit the number of workers on the production floor to the bare bones while maintaining quality. Or in other words, find a way to control and check operations remotely.
Environments with high hygiene standards, such as medical and food production, have been hard hit by the pandemic.
Remote video solutions are perfect for this as they allow the essential worker to keep services running onsite, while the controller can see and hear precisely what the operator sees remotely. And if anything needs to be checked, Augmented Reality annotations can be used to point and guide the operator through the process.
The visual nature of the remote call is essential here, as the AR annotations clearly show the worker what they need to do - avoiding any language barriers or when in noisy environments. And, just in the same way, if something is not working or breaks down, the controller can just as easily guide the operator through the fix remotely.
A worker uses an AR remote solution to collaborate with remote support.
The old way was expensive
Before the pandemic, experienced industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights were often centralized in low-cost hubs and sent out to locations when issues occur, or maintenance is required. Overall, this was an excellent way for industrial companies to save costs throughout the year as it ensures that highly skilled workers are always where they need to be - but there is one major drawback... dependance on travel.
Yes, centralizing your maintenance workers and distributing them to issues around the world is a great way to save costs throughout the year when everything is running smoothly, BUT when something does go wrong, it needs to be fixed quickly. And with times like today, this is simply impossible.
A single minute of downtime can cost automotive manufacturers $22,000 or $1.3 million per hour.
The automotive industry is a classic example of how much downtime can cost. It is estimated that a single minute of downtime costs automotive manufacturers $22,000 per minute or $1.3 million per hour. Some estimates are even as high as $50,000 per minute. As a smaller manufacturer, you may not be losing those staggering sums, but you do face the same problem.
The big learning for the industrial workforce
But why let the current situation be the stimulus for your manufacturing lines to update to new technology when it makes you more efficient? Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most industrial companies were utterly reliant on sending out experienced mechanics to onsite locations to fix and maintain machinery. While this has caused huge issues today, even before the pandemic, this travel time could sometimes result in considerable downtimes while the expert was in transit. If anything, this pandemic proves that there are much more effective and efficient ways to work that can dramatically improve operational efficiency after lockdown ends.
So why wait for the lockdown to end and return to inefficient ways to work? Why not improve your operational efficiency today in a way that not only keeps your services running through a time of travel restrictions and social distancing but also enhances your operations during times of stability. And to top it off, you can always rest assured that your company is prepared no matter what crisis the future may bring.