Learn how digital and mobile operator rounds make manufacturing inspections safer and enhance overall operational excellence.

Mobile and digital operator rounds significantly enhance manufacturing activities by providing real-time data collection, analysis, and decision-making capabilities. Applying mobile technology and digitizing operator rounds connects and empowers manufacturing workers and organizations with improved operational efficiency, equipment uptime, and drives continuous improvement initiatives, ultimately leading to greater operational excellence.

mobile operator rounds in digital manufacturing

Operator rounds in manufacturing refer to a systematic process where operators or technicians conduct routine inspections and checks on various equipment, machinery, and systems within a manufacturing facility. During operator rounds, operators inspect equipment, check for leaks, listen for unusual sounds, monitor gauges and indicators, and perform basic tests or measurements to ensure that equipment is operating as intended, identify potential problems or maintenance needs early on, and prevent unexpected downtime or failures that could disrupt production.

Operator rounds are an essential part of a preventative maintenance strategy, helping to improve equipment reliability, extend asset lifespan, and optimize overall manufacturing operations. They also provide operators with the opportunity to become more familiar with the equipment they are responsible for and to detect and address any safety concerns.

Read below to learn more about digital and mobile operator rounds, the benefits they offer versus traditional paper-based operator rounds, key aspects to include in an operator round checklist, and how AI-driven insights and connected frontline worker technology transforms the operator round process for enhanced results.

Paper-based Operator Rounds vs. Mobile and Digital Operator Rounds

According to Forbes, the average manufacturer encounters 800 hours of equipment downtime per year — more than 15 hours per week, with an estimated total cost of $50 billion per year. Further studies found that human procedural error contributed to 405 fatalities, 2,163 injuries, and over $150 billion in losses for manufacturers.


So why do many plant operators still use paper-based checklists and forms when conducting critical inspections?


In many cases, it is simply a matter of tradition, and when given the opportunity to make the process easier and more efficient with digital solutions, operators and manufacturers alike are eager to embrace the change.

Comparing paper-based operator rounds with mobile and digital operator rounds in manufacturing highlights several key differences in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and overall impact on operational excellence.

Paper-based operator rounds in manufacturing can be boiled down to 4 main steps:

  1. Managers or supervisors create an operator round checklist/form
  2. The operator executes the round and writes the observations on a paper sheet
  3. In the instance of any uncertainties or issues workers need to stop the round and ask for assistance or guidance
  4. The worker then delivers the completed checklist to their manager, who incorporates it into an ERP system or other management tool

Compliance is difficult when using paper spreadsheets and word processor documents. Routes or routines that still use paper checklists must be manually entered into a spreadsheet or database. This not only creates double work, but issues such as:

  • Decreased visibility into facility-wide inspection activities
  • Inconsistent records
  • Lower anomaly detection and slower response
  • Remedial and follow-up procedures are not automatic
  • No access to immediate guidance or key information
  • Lack of operational context in potentially hazardous environments

mobile operator rounds maintenance

Mobile operator rounds and digital operator rounds, however, enable manufacturers and technicians to accelerate inspections, improve accuracy and compliance, and enhance operational excellence and efficiency through:

  • Real-time data collection
  • Immediate access to expert guidance or critical information
  • Automated alerts or notifications
  • Optimized processes and inspections
  • Remote collaboration
  • Enhanced compliance and digitized documentation

Connected devices enable operators to capture data, such as equipment readings, inspection results, and maintenance activities, directly at the point of operation. This eliminates the need for manual paperwork, reduces the risk of errors, and ensures that data is captured promptly and accurately. Additionally, digital operator rounds allow operators to access equipment manuals, schematics, and historical data instantly via mobile devices. This enables them to troubleshoot issues more effectively, follow proper procedures, and make informed decisions without delay.

Digital operator rounds systems can even streamline task assignment, tracking, and completion. Supervisors can assign tasks to operators, monitor progress in real-time, and prioritize work based on criticality and resource availability. This ensures that maintenance activities are performed efficiently and promptly. Overall, mobile and digital operator rounds empower manufacturing organizations to improve operational efficiency, maximize equipment uptime, and drive continuous improvement initiatives, ultimately leading to greater operational excellence.

Key Aspects of an Operator Round Checklist

An operator round checklist in manufacturing serves as a structured guide for operators to systematically inspect equipment, monitor performance, and identify potential issues during routine rounds. Here are key aspects to include in an operator round checklist:

  • Inspection Identification: Clearly list the equipment, machinery, or systems that need to be inspected during the rounds.
  • Visual Inspection: Include visual inspection items such as looking for leaks, cracks, signs of wear or damage, loose connections, abnormal vibrations, or any other visible abnormalities.
  • Safety Features: Verify the functionality of safety features and emergency shutdown systems to ensure compliance with safety regulations and protocols.
  • Functional Checks: Include functional checks to ensure that equipment is operating as intended. This may involve verifying that motors, pumps, valves, sensors, and other components are functioning properly.
  • Process Measurements and Readings: Include items that require measurements or readings, such as temperature, pressure, flow rates, voltage, current, or any other relevant parameters.
  • Quality Assurance: Ensure that quality checks are performed at each stage of the process and that products meet the quality parameters for each section.
  • Training and Qualifications: Ensure that operators conducting the rounds are adequately trained and qualified to perform the inspections and understand the importance of their role in equipment maintenance and reliability.
  • Special Instructions or Procedures: Include any special instructions, procedures, or precautions to be followed during the inspection, such as lockout/tagout procedures, safety protocols, or specific operating instructions.
  • Comments, Feedback, and Continuous Improvement: Encourage operators to provide feedback on the checklist and suggest improvements based on their observations and experiences during the rounds. Regularly review and update the checklist to incorporate lessons learned and optimize inspection processes.

Additionally, consider breaking down the inspection into specific points or components to be checked on each piece of equipment. This may include mechanical components, electrical systems, fluid levels, safety features, etc. Other potential aspects that can be considered or included are documentation requirements, reporting and communication specifications, and inspection schedule and frequency. By including these key aspects in an operator round checklist, manufacturing organizations can ensure thorough and consistent inspections, identify issues early, prevent unplanned downtime, and maintain equipment reliability and operational excellence.

Transforming Operator Rounds with AI-powered Connected Worker Technology

AI and smart connected worker technology are revolutionizing a wide range of manufacturing operational processes, including operator rounds. By introducing advanced capabilities for data analysis, frontline worker augmentation, and better connectivity, these emerging technologies are transforming traditional operator rounds allowing for enhanced predictive maintenance, remote guidance and support through Generative AI assistants, workflow optimization, and improved safety compliance.

With AI and smart connected worker technology, manufacturing organizations can optimize operator rounds, maximize equipment uptime, minimize maintenance costs, and achieve operational excellence in an increasingly digital and data-driven environment. Augmentir’s connected worker solution, for example, offers tailored solutions for improving a wide range of operational processes, including operator rounds.

Using Augmentir’s No-Code workflow builder, companies can quickly convert paper-based instructions and checklists to a digital format and tailor those digital instructions to meet the needs of individual operators with inline training, built-in collaboration, and troubleshooting support. Additionally, Augmentir has internal PaaS services to run connectors that we build and support for popular enterprise applications like SAP, Salesforce, ETQ, Oracle, IBM Maximo, and more. Allowing our system to easily, bi-directionally, and securely integrate the enterprise systems of record to create closed-loop processes involving the frontline workforce.

Schedule a demo to learn more about our AI-powered connected worker solutions and how they dramatically improve manufacturing operational processes like operator rounds through digital and mobile technology, enable personalized skills management and training, and optimize manufacturing activities.

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Digitally enable frontline workers through UKG and Augmentir’s innovative partnership, leveraging AI and smart connected worker technologies.

Augmentir and UKG complement each other by providing an integrated mobile solution that digitally empowers frontline workers and drives operational excellence in manufacturing.

ukg frontline workforce connected with augmentir

UKG is a leading global provider of cloud-based human capital management and workforce management solutions for organizations to drive better business outcomes, improve HR effectiveness, streamline payroll processes, and enhance employee experience. Together with Augmentir – the leading AI-powered connected worker platform designed to digitize and optimize processes for frontline industrial workers, UGK digitally enables frontline workers to improve real-time communication, digital task management and standard work, training and knowledge sharing, and more.

Continue reading below to learn more about the benefits Augmentir and UKG bring to frontline workers and how together we are ushering in a new era of human capital management and an augmented connected frontline workforce.

Benefits of Connected Human Capital Management

Integrating Augmentir’s connected worker platform with UKG’s workforce management solutions offers several key benefits for empowering and enabling frontline workers:

  • Workforce Management Integration: Augmentir’s AI-powered connected worker platform integrates with UKG’s workforce management solutions allowing frontline workers to access scheduling, time tracking, and other UKG features directly within Augmentir’s platform. Workers can view schedules and manage workforce processes seamlessly through Augmentir’s user interface.
  • Real-time Communication and Collaboration: Augmentir and UKG offer tools for real-time communication and collaboration among frontline teams. Providing knowledge-sharing capabilities for frontline teams, and enabling seamless real-time communication, collaboration, and access to workforce information improves frontline adaptability and decision-making allowing for faster response and issue resolution.
  • Training and Skills Development: Augmentir and UKG facilitate training and upskilling of frontline workers. Augmentir’s platform delivers personalized digital work instructions and training content, while UKG provides learning and knowledge-sharing platforms. Together, they create a comprehensive training ecosystem for frontline staff.
  • Operational Insights and Continuous Improvement: Augmentir’s AI-based operational insights help identify opportunities for improving worker skills and driving continuous improvement. When coupled with UKG’s workforce analytics capabilities, organizations gain deeper visibility into their frontline operations to optimize productivity and processes.

Together, Augmentir and UKG create a powerful technology ecosystem that connects, empowers, and drives operational excellence for frontline workers across various industries by unifying their complementary digital workplace offerings.

Collaborating for the Augmented Connected Workforce of the Future

With UGK’s robust human capital management solutions integrated with Augmentir’s AI-powered connected worker platform, organizations enable an augmented connected workforce that is future-ready and equipped with the right tools for success.

UKG offers comprehensive workforce management solutions like UKG PRO, which includes features for scheduling, time tracking, payroll, and HR management. Augmentir allows companies to easily digitize complex frontline workflows and deliver personalized digital work instructions matched to each worker’s proficiency level. This ensures workers receive tailored guidance in the flow of work. Together, they give organizations a unified approach that augments and supports frontline workers by leveraging AI, real-time communication, comprehensive training solutions, and data-driven insights to ultimately drive improvements in productivity, efficiency, and better business outcomes overall.

Leading manufacturers that have deployed our augmented connected worker solution have seen impressive results such as:

  • 75% reduction in new hire training/onboarding time
  • 27% reduction in machine downtime using Autonomous Maintenance
  • 32% improvement in worker productivity

Furthermore, over 5,500 manufacturers globally leverage UKG solutions to create great employee work experiences, improve productivity, enhance compliance, increase operational performance, and more. By integrating UKG’s robust workforce management solutions with Augmentir’s AI-powered connected worker platform, organizations can create an Augmented Connected Workforce that is more efficient, productive, and engaged.

AI-Driven Connected Workforce Management Solution

AI-driven connected workforce management solutions like those offered by UKG and Augmentir provide several benefits for manufacturing operations including Intelligent Staffing and Talent Acquisition, Predictive Workforce Planning, Strategic Scheduling and Resource Optimization, Personalized Employee Development, and Increased Productivity and Cost Savings.

AI empowers manufacturers to forecast workforce needs accurately by analyzing frontline workforce data alongside historical data, market trends, and business objectives. AI-driven scheduling algorithms optimize Lean Daily Management by considering employee availability, skills, preferences, and other capabilities. This minimizes scheduling conflicts, reduces overtime costs, and ensures fair workload distribution while enabling real-time adjustments.

Additionally, with AI and connected technology manufacturing learning and development professionals can personalize employee training programs based on individual performance data and identify skills gaps for targeted upskilling or reskilling efforts. By leveraging AI, machine learning, digital workflows, and data-driven insights, modern workforce management solutions empower organizations to build a more efficient, agile, and connected frontline workforce capable of adapting to changing demands.

Interested in learning more?

If you’d like to learn more about how Augmentir and UKG work together to create a powerful digital ecosystem that streamlines operations, improves communication, and empowers frontline workers with the tools and information they need, schedule a demo with one of our product experts.


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