In support of their global digital transformation efforts, Colgate-Palmolive’s Global Supply Chain group had been exploring tools to digitize equipment changeover and maintenance operations plus integrate into Colgate’s SAP ERP and MES Wonderware Systems and have selected Augmentir’s Connected Worker Platform.

Augmentir’s “AI-based” Connected Worker Platform offers connected worker technology with augmented work instructions. Equipped with digital devices that could include tablets, mobile phones, or even AR-enabled industrial smart glasses, frontline workers are able to receive fully augmented, guided instructions on any device to improve productivity, quality and allow workers to perform their jobs more independently. These help guide workers with visual aids, AR/MR experiences, and contextual information.

Significant Results in 6 Short Months

Since the selection of Augmentir in November 2020, Colgate has already seen tremendous progress towards its goals, and deployment has helped enable people at each of our global plants to build, maintain, and share their own localized content, plus boost adoption and productivity.

According to Colgate-Palmolive: “Augmentir platform’s ease of use and broad applicability to different scenarios helped to enable people at each of our global plants to build, maintain, and share their own localized content, and has boosted adoption”. Their results include:

  • 1060+ Digital WorkFlows created across 10 Plants (maintenance procedure, workflow, changeover, shift change
  • More than 16,500 Workflow executions and 500+ Procedures optimized
  • 10-30 minutes saved per shift
  • As much as 120 minutes reduced between Maintenance Notification and Maintenance Order Closure (Maintenance Execution Time)
  • Advanced statistics available for integration with other CP datasets for future integrations and improvements
  • Actual Maintenance Work Order times automatically captured and recorded in SAP PM, increasing the accuracy of maintenance planning and scheduling for sites utilizing SAP integration

Read the full article below.

 

Colgate-Palmolive Accelerates Digitization in Manufacturing Operations

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As a leader in the connected worker software market, we have experienced the highs and the lows that the pandemic has brought to the industrial frontline worker market. One area that stands out in particular is the equipment field service space. Equipment OEMs typically support the installation, startup, maintenance, and repair of their products through some combination of a direct service force, a dealer service network, or their customers. For sophisticated equipment, much of this work has required visits to the customer site, which was made virtually impossible when the COVID pandemic spread.   

This created a real problem, since the “instructions” available to support these services were designed for technicians that already knew how to perform the work.  OEMs had to quickly find a way to project some type of virtual presence, to mimic being on-site as closely as possible. 

This led to a rush to implement either industrial “remote expert” tools, enterprise collaboration products like Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams, or consumer products like FaceTime.

While these solutions have been good at providing a short term band-aid to relieve the symptom, they don’t really address the underlying problem – the lack of rich, interactive workflows that are able to guide technicians with a wide range of skills to perform these tasks safely, correctly, and at an acceptable level of productivity. It’s a similar scenario to taking aspirin to treat a fever from an infection – aspirin may provide short-term relief, but ultimately it masks the presence and reduces the urgency to treat the underlying cause. Without looking forward and taking the next step in the connected worker journey, OEM’s will forever be required to provide 100%, synchronous, live support to make sure these tasks are done correctly and that customers are satisfied.

Achieving Digital Maturity to Reduce Support Costs and Improve Customer Satisfaction 

At Augmentir, we see “Digitally Mature” organizations as those that are continually moving forward on the digital continuum and have the ability to drive continuous improvement through the adoption of tools that help digitally connect their workforce. 

For equipment OEMs, we see digital maturity happening over four stages of the connected worker journey: 

Connected Worker Journey in Field Service

Step 1 – Remote Assistance

Industrial AR-based remote assistance solutions that provide worker guidance and support are a simple first step in the connected worker journey. Designed to be used by field service technicians or customers, these industrial solutions allow companies to provide rich interactive (chat, voice, video) support to field techs or customers to solve an immediate need.

Step 2 – Augmented, Guided Instructions 

With a connected workforce, equipment OEMs can drive greater efficiency by digitizing paper-based work instructions and maintenance/repair procedures. Digital work instructions help intelligently guide technicians (or customers) of all skill levels to complete these tasks independently and correctly. 

In this scenario, remote assist plays a supporting role (as it should) to ensure customer satisfaction. Customers have higher satisfaction rates because the work is done on their time schedule and OEMs see a reduction in their direct support costs.  

Step 3 – AI Support Bots

OEMs can drive further service optimization through AI support bots that provide autonomous, digital assistance.

Service technicians that require additional support can benefit from AI bots that autonomously deliver answers to questions, digital content such as drawings, pictures and videos, and rich sets of digital work instructions, to help workers resolve issues and complete the work independently. This allows a portion of customer remote assist requests to be handled autonomously, further increasing customer satisfaction and reducing direct support costs.

Augmentir Remote Assist for Field Service Technicians

Step 4 – AI-based Opportunity Insights

As workers become more connected, companies have access to a new rich source of activity, execution, and tribal data, and with proper AI tools, can gain insights into areas where the largest improvement opportunities exist for their service delivery. Artificial Intelligence lays a data-driven foundation for continuous improvement in the areas of productivity, quality, and workforce development, setting the stage to address the needs of a constantly changing workforce.

For example, after Augmentir is deployed for a number of months, our AI engine will start identifying patterns in the data that will allow you to focus your efforts on the areas that have the biggest customer satisfaction, productivity, and field service workforce development opportunities. This will allow you to answer questions such as:

  • Where should I invest to get the biggest improvement in customer satisfaction?
  • What service tasks have the largest productivity or quality opportunity?
  • Where would targeted training give me the biggest return?

Augmentir’s True Opportunity™ engine continuously updates its insights to enable companies to focus on their largest areas of opportunity, enabling you to deliver year over year improvements in key customer service metrics.

What is Your Digital Maturity?

Imagine, as you move forward on your connected worker journey, increasing customer satisfaction while reducing support costs, all while making your service delivery more productive – across your direct staff, dealers, or end customers.

Contact us today to take our digital maturity assessment and start your journey towards a digitally connected enterprise.

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NOVEMBER 20, 2020

Four Ways Digital Technology is Helping Frontline Workers Operate in Today’s New Normal

The global pandemic has certainly changed the way we work – and for many manufacturers, the change will be permanent.

The impact of COVID-19, and subsequent changes in how factories are located, staffed, managed and digitized, and how customers are supported, are placing pressure on manufacturing operations leaders. Manufacturing companies of every size are now turning to digital and connected worker technology as a way to maintain business operations and business continuity. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) based remote collaboration are now central to the corporate innovation portfolio of any business leader and crucial to boosting productivity at a time when enterprises most need it.

Here are four ways that connected worker technology is shaping the future industrial workforce and helping frontline workers operate at peak levels of safety, quality, and productivity during these times.

1. Provide Remote Assistance

Travel limitations and restrictions have forced companies to re-think how they support their staff and customers. As a result of COVID-19, manufacturers have initiated policies that encourage remote working, eliminate non-essential travel and instruct employees who are sick or under quarantine to stay home. This directly impacts the progression of operations that typically take place when multiple workers collaborate onsite.

AR-based virtual collaboration tools are providing business continuity for companies that can no longer rely on face-to-face interactions.

With on-demand remote expert functionality, onsite workers can quickly pull in an offsite colleague when their expertise is required. Many manufacturers are also extending this out to support virtual collaboration with 3rd party dealers and suppliers, customers, and even field service teams for those companies that provide equipment service and support. Digital work procedures, videos, realtime data and more are readily available and allow remote subject matter experts to intelligently guide and help workers on the job.

2. Reimagine Training

One of the challenges that has emerged during this pandemic has been workforce variability. Flexible staffing is becoming more the norm, and training/re-skilling is more important now than ever.

Traditional methods of classroom training have now become impractical if not impossible, and many companies are looking towards connected worker technology to help shorten training times and accelerate onboarding for new technicians. Use augmented reality (AR), visual aids, and contextual information to guide workers through complex tasks and deliver AR-based training experiences.

For example, Bio-Chem Fluidics, a mid-sized manufacturing company, was able to reduce new employee training time by over 80% – from three months down to two weeks. The use of visual aids and short training videos within digitized work procedures allowed their operation to onboard technicians at a faster rate and reduce downtime during learning periods, resulting in improved productivity.

3. Improve Quality and Productivity through Augmented Work Instructions

Another area where connected worker technology helps is through augmented work instructions. Equipped with digital devices that could include tablets, mobile phones, or even AR-enabled industrial smart glasses, frontline workers are able to receive fully augmented, guided instructions on any device to improve productivity, quality and allow workers to perform their jobs more independently. These help guide workers with visual aids, AR/MR experiences, and contextual information.

Digital work instructions enable manufacturing workers, customers, dealers, and field service technicians to complete assembly, installation, maintenance, or repair procedures at 100% quality without requiring face-to-face support. Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) can be used to amplify the value that digital work instructions bring to the connected worker. AI is used to personalize the instructions to each worker’s proficiency level, which helps intelligently close the skills gap and enable workers to perform at their best.

4. Uncover Continuous Improvement Opportunities

It’s critical for manufacturers to monitor processes and track progress during this time so that they can make quick adjustments to ensure overall optimization. Our view at Augmentir is that the purpose of a connected worker platform isn’t simply to deliver instructions and remote support to a frontline worker, but rather to optimize the performance of the connected worker ecosystem.

Incorporating AI into a connected worker strategy enables true organizational optimization using the rich stream of activity data to recommend improvement actions to frontline workers, continuous improvement specialists, trainers, manufacturing engineers, and operation and service managers.

  • AI-based connected worker platforms can use granular data to identify the largest opportunities across the frontline workforce
  • For example, Augmentir’s AI-powered connected worker platform looks through all job data and uses AI to cleanse the data set and recognize the largest improvement opportunities for your company in productivity, training, quality, and delivers them to your team automatically through insights in the system
  • In doing that, the system learns a lot about each worker, and can dynamically match the instructions to each worker’s proficiency and capability, intelligently closing the skills gap
  • Finally, AI bots allow you to accumulate tribal knowledge (that your subject matter experts know) and convert it into a scalable, digital corporate asset

With an ecosystem of content authors, frontline workers, subject matter experts, operations managers, continuous improvement engineers, and quality specialists, there are dozens of opportunities to improve performance.


Now is the time to consider these and start digitizing and connecting your frontline workforce. These technologies are proving to be practical and effective ways to close skill gaps and transform training efforts – allowing your frontline workers to work safely and efficiently in today’s new normal. Book a personalized demo to learn more.

 

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Jobs for the Future (JFF) has selected Augmentir as one of 15 ‘innovators to watch’, as part of their research report Learning as an Experience.

According to JFF, these “Innovators to Watch” are a select group of visionary enterprises that are at the leading edge of market trends and they distinguish themselves from other forward-looking companies by their potential to create significant, business-aligned social impact. These companies offer a potentially transformative innovation and are led by inspiring founders and teams that we believe in.

In the report, JFFLabs takes closer look at the evolving alternative education and training market, with a focus on solutions that have a “measurable impact on workers’ wage and employment prospects.” The program providers and platforms selected help employers develop, train, and retain workers and make up “an ecosystem of opportunity that workers can turn to throughout their careers as they navigate new pathways in an ever-evolving economy.”

According to the report, “Augmentir stands out because it develops solutions with frontline workers and industrial settings in mind. At a time of heightened concern about automation eliminating industrial jobs, Augmentir presents employers with an opportunity to use technology to help workers develop the skills they need to adapt to changes.

The company frames its work around the key idea of skills variability rather than skills gaps, using artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technology to holistically understand every worker’s competencies and offering employers tools that help workers acquire new or more advanced skills.

Augmentir’s products give every worker direct access to knowledge and information in user-friendly digital formats. The company’s tools embed training into workers’ day-to-day routines, and employers can use the platform to continually update training content to support workers’ evolving learning needs. And Augmentir’s approach of collectively sourcing knowledge from individuals in the workforce makes learning a social experience and increases learner engagement by giving workers agency to shape training content.”

Read the full report at JFF.org.

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Earlier this month, Augmentir CEO Russ Fadel and Bio-Chem Operations Manager Conor Puckett sat down to discuss how technology, specifically Artificial Intelligence and Connected Worker technology, are transforming lean manufacturing, driving continuous improvement and optimizing overall worker effectiveness in the manufacturing sector. 

For quite some time, Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) has been used in lean manufacturing to evaluate the effectiveness of factory equipment, yet still, many manufacturers ignore the human aspect of a lean strategy. Unfortunately, this leaves manufacturers with a missed opportunity. Although measuring worker productivity and labor efficiency is not a new concept, the rise of digital technology is making it easier and more practical for the manufacturing workforce to connect with the support tools, real-time data and insights needed to propel them to do their best work.

In this webinar, Conor shares how Bio-Chem is driving their lean initiatives forward using technology and data to gain insight into how their workforce is performing, why that is important to them as a business and how they are using that information to drive continuous improvement efforts across their operations.

Russ provides his insights into how AI is really becoming transformational in terms of understanding the manufacturing workforce, optimizing their performance, and being used to gain insight into improving performance, quality, and productivity.

Watch the full webinar recording to:

  • Learn how to extend the principles of OEE to the manufacturing workforce
  • Discover proven approaches that leverage AI and connected worker technology to digitize manufacturing processes and uncover continuous improvement opportunities for improved worker efficiency and effectiveness
  • Uncover best practices for optimizing worker performance and enhancing workforce development program
  • Hear how Bio-Chem Fluidics uses AI and digital worker tools to improve quality and productivity within their manufacturing operations
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The impact of COVID-19 has changed the manufacturing landscape permanently, and clear changes are necessary for manufacturing leaders in order to stay competitive and succeed in this new normal. This was the focus in Gartner’s recently published annual Hype Cycle for Manufacturing Operations Strategy, which focused on a portfolio of enabling capabilities and technologies, and their potential business impacts. The goal of this Hype Cycle report was to provide a holistic view of key concepts that can guide manufacturers when defining both short-term and long-term strategies for growth.

Augmentir was recognized as an important player for Connected Factory Worker technology and Immersive Experiences in Manufacturing.

Emerging Technologies in Manufacturing

According to Gartner, “a dynamic and volatile market environment is changing the face of manufacturing operations. This Hype Cycle will help manufacturing operations leaders shape future strategies, create roadmaps, align investments and educate peers.”

It is not business as usual in 2020. The impact of COVID-19, and changes in how factories are located, staffed, managed and digitized are placing pressure on manufacturing operations leaders. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) based remote collaboration are central now to the corporate innovation portfolio of any business leader and crucial to boosting productivity at a time when enterprises most need it. This hype cycle highlights these, as well as other key mature and emerging technologies, including the following:

  • Connected Factory Worker: Connected factory workers use various digital tools to improve the safety, quality, and productivity of the jobs they perform. This technology helps connect workers to the “digital fabric” of the business, providing insight into the tasks they perform so that they can be optimized and continually improved on.
  • Immersive Experiences in Manufacturing Operations: According to Gartner, immersive experiences refer to enabling the perception of being physically present in a nonphysical world or enriching people’s presence in the physical world with content from the virtual world. Gartner sees using immersive experiences for quality and maintenance tasks, connecting with employees that are not able to be on-site, or wearables for safety management.

Augmentir is recognized in the context of Connected Factory Workers and Immersive Experiences in Manufacturing Operations as a software and solution provider.

Augmentir’s Approach to Connected Factory Workers and Immersive Experiences in Manufacturing

Augmentir sits at the intersection of these innovation profiles, using artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to amplify the value that digital technologies bring to the connected worker.

 

Digitized workflows and augmented work instructions help guide connected workers with visual aids and contextual information. AI is used to personalize the instructions to each worker’s proficiency level, which helps intelligently close the skills gap and enable workers to perform at their best.

Remote Expert guidance helps workers resolve issues faster by leveraging collaboration with remote subject matter experts. Integrated chat allows one expert to support multiple workers. Multi-level escalation helps connected workers solve problems faster.

Augmentir’s AI-based “True Opportunity” system uses granular data to identify the largest opportunities in improving the skills of the frontline workforce and helps to drive continuous improvement throughout the organization.

At Augmentir, our AI identifies patterns and generates insights based on analyzing data from connected workers. These insights improve worker performance as well as provide positive impact on training, operational workflows, and quality. According to Gartner, “The possibility of predicting performance is extremely attractive for manufacturers. This is driving the strong interest in ML. ML is an essential enabler of artificial intelligence (AI), smart factories and intelligent automation”.

Our view at Augmentir is that the purpose of a connected worker platform isn’t simply to deliver instructions and remote support to a frontline worker, but rather to optimize the performance of the connected worker ecosystem. Artificial intelligence is uniquely able to address the fundamental macrotrends of growing skills gaps and the loss of tribal knowledge. With an ecosystem of content authors, frontline workers, subject matter experts, operations managers, continuous improvement engineers, and quality specialists, there are were dozens of opportunities to improve performance.

If you’d like to see how our AI is able to uncover and rank “True Opportunities” across your workforce and improve overall worker performance or drive continuous improvement, schedule a demo today.

 

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For equipment manufacturers, the traditional approach to installing, maintaining, and servicing their equipment has become increasingly challenging due to the current travel limitations and changing nature of work caused by COVID-19. Industrial OEMs are turning to AI-powered Connected Worker technology to transform how they service and support their customers and ensure field service continuity during this unprecedented time.

Connected Worker technology combines augmented reality (AR) with artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), allowing equipment manufacturers to improve the safety, quality, and productivity of their workforce both during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. 

Our vision at Augmentir is to transform connected worker technology with artificial intelligence and our software is the first of its kind to do so. Whether you have your own service force or work through a dealer network, equipment manufacturers can use Augmentir’s Connected Worker software platform to:

  • Enable your customers and 3rd party service companies to install, maintain, and repair equipment using easy to understand Augmented Guided Instructions
  • Provide remote and virtual support through integrated Remote Assist collaboration tools
  • Use AI-driven “True Opportunities” to shed light on inefficiencies and service, repair, maintenance process improvement opportunities within your direct service force, dealer networks, and customers

Connected worker software helps manufacturing and service teams improve safety, quality, and productivity across a range of use cases.

Manufacturing

  • Guided Instructions for Assembly, QA, MRO (maintenance, repair and operation): Personalized work instructions deliver the right level of guidance, based on worker proficiency, along with 80% reduction in training and authoring times.
  • Remote Assist for Engineering Support: Integrated remote assistance tools provide industrial- level collaboration and support remote problem solving, QA checks, remote factory acceptance tests, while greatly enhancing efficiency.
  • AI-driven Continuous Improvement: Granular data collection on every job drives insights into Scrap, First Pass Yield, Production Bottlenecks and AI- based True Opportunities.

Service

  • Guided Instructions for Repair, Warranty & Recall: Improves quality and efficiency by moving from paper- based to digital work instructions while providing enhanced insights into compliance and operations.
  • Remote Assist Supports a Multi-tier Service Network: Integrated remote assistance provides a level of remote and virtual support to customers and dealers that they have never had before.
  • AI-driven Continuous Improvement: Day after day, year after year, AI-driven True Opportunities find ways to improve your processes, procedures, and worker skills.

It’s critical that we recognize this time as a major turning point in the way frontline workers interact and perform daily operations. Manufacturers will continue to face challenges in a post-COVID world and connected worker technology will allow them to keep their workers safe and businesses operating.


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Augmentir Offers Free Use of its Remote Assistance Tool for Frontline Workers to Help Companies Address the travel and social distancing issues related to COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread across North America, the CDC has suggested that businesses implement remote work policies and travel restrictions to help slow the spread of the virus. The situation has become more troublesome over the past few weeks, and many companies are looking for ways to help limit business disruptions while keeping the health of employees a top priority.

At Augmentir, the health and safety of our employees, as well as the employees of our customers and partners is our top priority. Therefore, in a response to COVID-19, Augmentir will be offering free use it’s Remote Assist Tool for the remainder of 2020 in an effort to help the many businesses affected by the sudden increase in work-from-home policies and travel restrictions resulting from the global outbreak of the virus.

During this challenging time, video-conferencing, chat, and remote support and collaboration will be more important than ever in maintaining the wellbeing of employees while also enabling people to continue to work and businesses to operate. Augmentir’s Remote Assist tool helps to minimize the negative impact that COVID-19 is having on businesses by providing a remote collaboration and support solution that can be adopted in less than 60 minutes, so that workers, technicians, and customers can get the support they need to do their jobs without compromising health, safety, or productivity.

Augmentir’s Remote Assist Tool – remotely connect your workforce and support customers without travel

Augmentir’s Remote Assist Tool, a component of the company’s Connected Worker platform, is an augmented reality (AR) solution designed to guide frontline workers with augmented, step-by-step-instructions, whenever and wherever they need support.

The solution is available on both mobile devices and AR-enabled smart glasses, and allows users to remotely collaborate through a live video stream and directly communicate through audio. Both the user and the remote expert will be able to add annotations to the video stream so they can quickly diagnose the issue and determine a solution to move forward.

  • Connect your workforce with your internal subject matter experts: For equipment makers that have support teams in the field, Augmentir’s Remote Assist Tool allows them to remotely connect and collaborate with your subject matter experts to help troubleshoot and diagnose field service problems. For manufacturers, help keep your employees safe and avoid travel by allowing technicians on the shop floor to remotely connect with subject matter experts.
  • Connect your customers to your tech support teams: Keep your internal tech support teams safe by remotely connecting with customers to help quickly diagnose and troubleshoot issues.
https://youtu.be/02jJDkouZqw

Deliver a remote support solution in days

As company work procedures and daily routines are changing quickly due to COVID-19, we are happy to provide a solution that can be implemented quickly and easily. Companies that sign up will have free use of the tool for the remainder of 2020, and have access to the following features: 

  • Stream live video and audio to remote experts to improve issue resolution and remote knowledge sharing
  • Guide your field technicians and customers with live annotations for enhanced collaboration
  • Support remote users on their existing devices as well as AR-enabled smart glasses

Global efforts continue to focus on lessening the spread and impact of the COVID-19 virus. The federal government is working closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners, to respond to this public health threat. As companies must rethink their processes and approach during this time, we hope that offering our Remote Assist Tool for free will give businesses and workers the technology and support they need.

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