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Prior to Augmentir, our founding team was involved in founding Wonderware Software in 1987, Lighthammer in 1997, and ThingWorx in 2008. In 2017, we recognized that the technology and market forces were aligned yet again, for a fourth industrial software revolution. A revolution that focused on increasing the productivity and quality of processes involving front-line workers.

Times have changed since 1985 when relying on tribal knowledge was the only option for frontline workers, and today we are lucky enough to have new technologies and resources that enable frontline workers to do their best work in a complex world.

Although taking the steps towards digital transformation can seem scary or overwhelming, the longer you wait and “do nothing”, the more difficult it becomes to modernize. Not having the proper resources or being unsure about the digital transformation process are common hesitations for most organizations. Beginning your digital transformation is like beginning your journey to the gym after a long day. You can come up with a million excuses for not wanting to get your workout and usually, the hardest part is actually taking the first step to get there. But once you’ve started, you never regret it! The truth is that most manufacturing companies have at least begun their digital transformation journey, and for those that have not, the hardest part is just taking the first step.

Here’s what doing nothing is costing you today.

“Doing nothing” is costing you $234,900 every year with 1 changeover

If you could reduce variability in the execution of one changeover you could save 15,660 hours each year.

If the variability in completing a changeover between 2 operators is 1 hour and a changeover is performed 1/day, you are losing 261 hours each year for 1 operator.

Now, let’s look at shifts – if the average variability between A-shift, and B-Shift is +1 hour and C-Shift is +2 hours – with a total of 20 employees on each shift and each operator performing 1 changeover /day the variability in hours relative to A-Shift is equal to 60 hours every day and 15,660 hours each year.

Multiply that time at the national average of $15/technician, over the course of 1 year, “doing nothing” for just 1 task is costing you $234,900 in employee time alone.

Quantify increased throughput, proficiency, productivity, and quality, and there is even more impact!

“Doing Nothing” for manual data entry is costing you $97,875 per year

If you could save 15 minutes per day for an operator by eliminating data entry, after 1 year you would save your employee 3,915 minutes!

Multiply that time across 100 employees at the national average of $15/technician, “doing nothing” is costing you $97,875 per year.

“Doing Nothing” for apprenticeship programs is costing you $5,742,00

The average time for a new unskilled hire in an apprenticeship program is 2 years. If you could reduce the time that the new hire spends in the apprenticeship by 25%, you would save 1,044 hours for each new worker you hire. Reducing apprenticeship time by 50% would save 2,088 hours for each new hire. Reducing apprenticeship by 50% for 50 unskilled new hires would save you 208,800 hours.

Multiplying that time at the national average of $15/hour across 50 new hires, “doing nothing” to reduce a 2 year apprenticeship program by 50% is costing you $1,566,000.

Quantifying the impact on the skilled workers giving their time to the apprenticeship program, at $40/hour across 50 new hires amounts to an additional $4,176,000.

Why not start today?

If increasing proficiency could start to pave the way towards digital transformation and save you the cost of doing nothing, why wouldn’t you start today?

If reducing variability could start to pave the way towards digital transformation and save you the cost of doing nothing, why wouldn’t you start today?

If one simple digital procedure could start to pave the way towards digital transformation and save you the cost of doing nothing, why wouldn’t you start today?

The business impacts of doing something are clear:

  • Accurate Data Entry
  • Job Visibility
  • Execution variability insight
  • Downstream impact
  • Decrease downtime
  • Increase throughput
  • Reduce/ Eliminate training
  • Easily accessible documentation

With the proper AI-powered Connected Worker tools, your workers become more integrated and you gain access to a new rich source of activity, execution, and tribal data that lead to valuable insights into areas where the largest improvement opportunities exist. AI lays a data-driven foundation for continuous improvement in the areas of performance support, training, and workforce development, setting the stage to address the needs of today’s constantly changing workforce.

If you don’t start now, there’s always going to be something that happens in the next 6 months that will also prevent you. This was a trend that was occurring before the pandemic, but the pandemic has accelerated it greatly. There is pressure to keep up with the new normal and the faster you start the better equipped you will be. You could continue to fight this fire with a firehose and keep it at bay, but the fire isn’t going away until you solve the root problem.

You have an opportunity, right now! Older workers are aging out, and you’re working hard to hire new, young, bright, excited workers. These younger workers expect tech. They’ll embrace change. If not now, when?

These virtual events were a great way to connect with manufacturing professionals and discuss some of the industry’s top challenges and topics – workforce transformation, learning and development, lean manufacturing, and autonomous maintenance.

Last week, Augmentir participated as a sponsor in the 2021 American Food Manufacturing Summit. This 3-day virtual event was designed to bring food and beverage manufacturers together to discuss current trends, strategic insights, and best practices in an ever-evolving environment. The event focused on addressing today’s top challenges and future of food processing and manufacturing, specifically around embracing digital transformation and technology for manufacturing excellence. Attendees were able to connect with top industry influencers and learn about different strategies to improve automation, operational excellence, quality, and safety in the food manufacturing industry through open roundtables and 1:1 meetings.

Augmentir’s Enablement Director, Shannon Bennett, hosted an open roundtable discussion on the role digital transformation plays in food and beverage manufacturing, and how technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and connected worker platforms are helping companies kick-start their digital transformation efforts. During the discussion, Shannon opened the floor to the attendees to discuss the day-to-day challenges they face at their manufacturing organizations and the tools they’re looking into to solve those challenges. 

Solving Manufacturing’s Biggest Challenges with AI and Connected Worker Technology

The roundtable consisted of executives and manufacturing leaders from some of the world’s largest food and beverage companies to smaller family-owned and operated specialty food and beverage manufacturers. Throughout the roundtable, we heard the same challenges and frustrations related to standardization, moving from paper to digital processes, data collection, lack of traceability, and an overall need for digital transformation.

The overarching roundtable discussion was around digital transformation. Food and beverage manufacturers are accelerating the pace of digitization to address their top challenges – the labor crisis, increasing skills gap, and increased pressure for improved production efficiency, changes in consumer demands, and increased regulatory compliance related to food safety.

Moving from Paper to Digital

During our roundtable discussion, most of the manufacturing leaders were in the discovery phase of their modernizing process, where they were beginning to look into digital solutions to solve their challenges around manual processes and efforts to reduce paper. Some of the discussion around paper included issues with quality on the shop floor and wanting to go paperless, easier access to training for employees, lack of traceability (for example, maintenance schedules need more visibility of completion, where issues arise, and more transparency all around), and digitizing information from a quality standpoint.

Digital work instructions reduce the need for paper and deliver information to frontline workers when and where they need it. This provides frontline workers with a standardized way of performing technical work.

Lack of Data-Driven Insights into the Work Being Done

Another key challenge was the lack of insight into how workers were performing their jobs – whether it be in quality, equipment operation, or maintenance. One participant discussed labor challenges in their organization and that when they collect data it often gets lost and when they come back to it, they don’t know or remember why they’ve collected it in the first place.

Connecting workers with digital tools is merely a first step in the process of truly understanding and getting clarity on the work being done. Connected Worker data is inherently noisy, generating misleading signals that traditional business intelligence (BI) tools aren’t designed to handle. This leads to murky or contradictory conclusions that prevent organizations from taking anything but a “one size fits all” approach to work process and workforce investments. Or, even worse, false conclusions are generated about the state of work process and workforce opportunities, leading to targeted investments into the wrong areas.

The discussion shifted to AI as a solution not only bringing clarity to the work being done, but also more generally democratization of the workplace, and giving employees the tools to use data effectively to improve manufacturing operations. AI is designed for purpose to recognize patterns in the noisy data sets generated by a factory workforce, letting your continuous improvement and operations teams focus on what’s really going on.

Training

Employee onboarding and training was also a hot topic of discussion. Many participants spoke about manual processes and how traditional training methods are proving to be ineffective.  Traditionally, there was a clear separation between training and work execution. However, many participants shared that they are starting to re-think how they are training and onboarding their workers, and shifting more towards delivering training at the moment of need. The roundtable participants discussed at length approaches and strategies for re-thinking how training is delivered for today’s workforce.

Build a Modern, Connected Workforce with AI

To address these challenges, the roundtable participants overwhelmingly agreed that the starting point should be digital transformation initiatives that focus on streamlining data collection and digitizing valuable data. Using an AI-powered connected worker platform to accelerate this effort not only furthers a company’s digital transformation efforts, but also provides a whole new set of data that can provide really interesting insights and optimization opportunities. AI doesn’t remove the human worker from the equation, but rather, takes the human worker and embeds them into the digital operation.

 

To learn more about how AI is being used to digitize and modernize manufacturing operations, check out our latest eBook – Build a Modern, Connected Workforce with AI.

 

Prior to Augmentir, our founding team was involved in founding Wonderware Software in 1987, Lighthammer in 1997, and ThingWorx in 2008. In 2017, we recognized that the technology and market forces were aligned yet again, for a fourth industrial software revolution. A revolution that focused on increasing the productivity and quality of processes involving front-line workers.

National Roots Day is celebrated on December 23rd as a chance to celebrate one’s history, heritage, and ancestry. It’s often said that a combination of each person on one’s family tree helps to shape them into the person they are today.

At Augmentir, we agree that the past is important, and it has definitely shaped Augmentir into the company it is today. This year, we’re using National Roots Day to reflect on our history and how Augmentir came to be the modern Connected Worker platform that you use and trust today. The Augmentir founding team, Russ Fadel, Phil Huber, and Lawrence Fan, has been at the forefront of the most important software technology revolutions. Prior to Augmentir, our founding team was involved in founding Wonderware Software in 1987, Lighthammer in 1997, and ThingWorx in 2008. 

In 2017, the founders of Augmenir recognized that the technology and market forces were aligned yet again, for a fourth industrial software revolution. A revolution that focused on increasing the productivity and quality of processes involving front-line workers. 

Transforming How Machines Run

In 1987, Wonderware transformed how machines run, with the introduction and mass commercialization of Human-Machine Interface software. Wonderware enabled the first software-based industrial revolution and is still in evidence today by Wonderware’s continued leadership position.

Revolutionizing the Factory Floor

In 1997, Lighthammer transformed manufacturing yet again with the introduction of the first Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence platform. Lighthammer revolutionized the factory floor by bringing both real-time intelligence and live synchronization with the ERP software layer. This enabled the second software-based industrial revolution and is still evidenced today by the ubiquity of this software (currently under the SAP MII brand).

Catalyzing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

In 2008, ThingWorx catalyzed the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) with the introduction of the first application platform for IIoT. ThingWorx transformed both manufacturing and service, becoming synonymous with Industrie 4.0/Brilliant factory, and Connected Service. This enabled the 3rd software-based industrial revolution and is still evidenced today by the ubiquity of IIoT software and the market leadership of PTC’s ThingWorx brand.

 

Today, at Augmentir, we are continuing this trend of bringing innovative software into the manufacturing sector by focusing on the people that make up such an integral part of the digital transformation equation.

These virtual events were a great way to connect with manufacturing professionals and discuss some of the industry’s top challenges and topics – workforce transformation, learning and development, lean manufacturing, and autonomous maintenance.

October was an exciting month in the virtual manufacturing world! Augmentir had the pleasure of participating in several virtual events including the American Manufacturing Summit, Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo, and the Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit (EWTS). Each of these virtual events were a wonderful way to connect with manufacturing professionals and discuss some of the industry’s top challenges and topics – workforce transformation, learning and development, lean manufacturing, and autonomous maintenance. 

EWTS

The Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit (EWTS) is the longest-running and most comprehensive event dedicated to the business and industrial applications of wearables, including AR/VR/MR glasses and headsets, body-worn sensors, and exoskeletons. This year’s event took place in four bite-sized conference days (every Wednesday from October 6-27, 2021), with community, networking and additional content drops throughout the rest of the month. This unique format allowed for great networking as well as some very valuable sessions. In one of the polls, 32% said that Remote onboarding and training was the top use case for immersive/wearable technology at their company.  

American Manufacturing Summit

The American Manufacturing Summit is a leadership focused meeting designed to bring global manufacturing, operations, engineering, quality and supply chain leaders together to discuss current trends, strategic insights, and best practices in an ever-evolving manufacturing environment. Dave Landreth, Augmentir’s Head of Customer Strategy, had the opportunity to lead a fire-side chat in discussing how Artificial Intelligence and Connected Worker technologies are key pillars of the Industrial Workforce Transformation. We also enjoyed the 1:1 meetings that took place as part of the American Manufacturing Summit. 

Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo

The Gartner supply chain conference offers attendees a one-stop-shop to access research-backed sessions, get expert advice and problem-solve with colleagues. The main focus of this event is to address the strategic needs of CSCOs and supply chain executives and showcase new technologies that adapt to the ever-changing environment in which they’re operating.

Sessions from the event dealt with purpose-driven supply chains and learnings from the pandemic for the healthcare supply chain, risk assessment and global trade, top trends for smart manufacturing, the future of quality management and supply chain planning, and resolving the dichotomy of logistics outsourcing. 

Key announcements from the event:

Continuous improvement, connected worker technology, AI, and data-driven technology were among the top trends from these events. Manufacturing organizations are looking for Connected worker software, like Augmentir, to integrate frontline workers and improve productivity, training, and quality. In addition, as we continue to work remotely and see more supply chain disruptions, AI-based, data-driven technology will be essential to building flexible factories that address these challenges and allow for continuous improvement.

August 13, 2021

 

Augmentir was recently recognized by Gartner in four separate Hype Cycle reports that cover technology innovation in manufacturing. These four reports include:

  • Hype Cycle for Manufacturing Digital Transformation and Innovation, 2021
  • Hype Cycle for Manufacturing Operations Strategy, 2021
  • Hype Cycle for Manufacturing Digital Optimization and Modernization, 2021
  • Hype Cycle for Frontline Worker Technologies, 2021

In these reports, Gartner highlights Augmentir as a key software vendor in the Connected Factory Worker and Immersive Experiences in Manufacturing Operations categories.

  • 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, remotely connecting and collaborating with employees that are not able to be on-site, or wearables for safety management.

These hype cycles and innovation profiles are provided by Gartner to help organizations decide which new innovations and technology to adopt, as well as what value they can provide to their manufacturing operations.

Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

According to Gartner, the manufacturing industry is being transformed by new business models and strategic, innovative technologies that fit within Industrie 4.0. Manufacturers can capitalize on advancements made in artificial intelligence (AI), visualization, collaboration, and greater connectivity across enterprises.

This was the focus in Gartner’s recently published reports, which revealed opportunities for manufacturing leaders to gain business advantages through concepts and technologies that improve productivity and decision making. Besides adding value to manufacturing businesses, they increase windows of competitive advantage.

The Connected Worker – A first step for Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

Manufacturers are beginning to recognize just how integral frontline workers are to their company’s digital fabric and that overlooking these workers has caused their digital transformation efforts to fall short of their objectives.

These same industry leaders are now investing in an integrated approach – empowering their frontline teams with connected worker solutions that utilize technology such as mobile and wearable devices, augmented and mixed reality (AR/MR), remote collaboration tools, and artificial intelligence (AI). Connected worker solutions that bring together these technologies are helping to connect a new class of workers and are allowing organizations to proactively and continually deliver the right level of training, support, guidance, and improvement.

Optimizing Worker Performance with AI

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. 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.

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 continually optimize the performance of the connected worker ecosystem. Artificial intelligence is uniquely able to address the fundamental macrotrends of skills variability and the loss of tribal knowledge in the workforce, and creates a foundation for data-driven improvements to operational performance and continuous improvement.

“AI will play a critical role in the long-term success of connected factory workers. As more information is curated and made available, algorithms must be continually trained in alignment with continuous improvement initiatives, creating the potential for enhanced root cause analysis.”

Gartner

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 using AI. 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 workforce development opportunities. This will allow you to answer questions such as:

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

Augmentir’s AI 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 operational metrics.

Interested in learning more?

If you’d like to learn more about Augmentir and see how our AI-Powered connected worker platform improves safety, quality, and productivity across your workforce, schedule a demo with one of our product experts.

 

August 16, 2021

Augmentir was once again recognized by Gartner as a key vendor for Connected Factory Worker technology. In Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle for Consumer Goods, Augmentir was highlighted as an important software vendor for Connected Factory Workers and Immersive Experience in Manufacturing. This marks the seventh time in 2021 that Augmentir has been recognized by Gartner for leadership in emerging technologies for manufacturing.

Digital Technology – A Key Priority for Consumer Goods CEOs

This Gartner report identifies technology as a key priority for consumer goods CEOs, and states that “79% of Consumer Goods CEOs plan to increase their investment in digital capabilities.”

According to the hype cycle report, “Investments in long-delayed digital initiatives came to the forefront due to the pandemic.” Digital transformation initiatives were put into focus and brought to the forefront due to the impact of the pandemic, increased remote working, and supply chain disruptions, and many leading consumer goods manufacturers were “jolted to invest in long-delayed digital plans.”

Gartner highlighted Connected Factory Workers and Immersive Experience in Manufacturing as offering transformational benefits for consumer goods manufacturers, and mentions Augmentir as a key software vendor in each category.

  • Connected Factory Worker: Connected factory workers use various digital tools to improve the safety, quality, and productivity of the jobs they perform. In consumer goods manufacturing, this may include enabling digitization of maintenance procedures, changeover procedures, EHS lockout/tagout procedures, quality checklists, and plant walkabouts via digitized step by step instructions or guided workflows. 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 Experience 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 as important for “accelerating problem solving and broadening continuous improvement dialogue through virtual or remote access.” This approach is being use for quality and maintenance tasks, remotely connecting with employees that are not able to be on-site, or wearables for safety management.

These hype cycles and innovation profiles are provided by Gartner to help organizations decide which new innovations and technology to adopt and when, as well as what value they can provide to their manufacturing operations.

Accelerating Your Digital Journey with Augmentir

Many leading consumer goods manufacturers, including Colgate-Palmolive, have adopted Augmentir to connect their frontline workforce and accelerate their digitization efforts. 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.

For example, since the selection of Augmentir in November 2020, Colgate has already seen tremendous progress towards their digital transformation goals and has digitized over 1000 workflows across 10 global plants, resulting in significant value and productivity improvements in maintenance tasks, line changeovers, and shift changes.

Optimizing Worker Performance with AI

Gartner further recommends that consumer goods manufacturers: “Make your focus the creation of a “data-driven” culture in manufacturing operations.” This includes not only integrating factory workforces with their virtual and physical surroundings, but also driving a culture change towards data-driven performance optimization and workforce development.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a key foundation for data-driven transformation within the manufacturing workforce.

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. 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.

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 continually optimize the performance of the connected worker ecosystem. AI is uniquely able to address the fundamental macrotrends of skills variability and the loss of tribal knowledge in the workforce. 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.

Interested in learning more?

If you’d like to learn more about Augmentir and see how our AI-Powered connected worker platform improves safety, quality, and productivity across your workforce, schedule a demo with one of our product experts.