Learn about autonomous and preventive maintenance, and how they can maximize machine efficiency and worker productivity on the shop floor.

Autonomous and preventive maintenance are two manufacturing strategies for maintaining machinery on the shop floor. The main difference between the two is that autonomous maintenance (AM) places greater responsibility for equipment upkeep on operators, while preventive maintenance (PM) is carried out by maintenance workers. Both autonomous and preventative maintenance strategies benefit from smart, connected worker technologies, although in different ways.

autonomous vs preventive maintenance

AM, for example, focuses on training machine operators to be the point of reference for cleaning, inspecting, and making minor repairs on the spot. This approach aims to empower operators to take the initiative in monitoring their equipment and identifying issues early on. By introducing smart, connected worker technology, like Augmentir’s suite of connected worker tools and closed-loop autonomous maintenance solution, manufacturing leaders can give operators more control over inspections and help intelligently guide and support operators, resulting in minimized machine downtime.

PM, on the other hand, consists of scheduling regular maintenance activities like part replacement, lubrication, and calibration. Workers tasked with PM ensure equipment remains in tip-top condition, which helps to prevent future breakdowns. The goals of this strategy are to avoid machine downtime and reduce the need for unplanned repairs. Smart, connected worker solutions improve the quality, transparency, and efficiency of both autonomous and preventive maintenance and repair procedures by standardizing and optimizing maintenance procedures.

You can learn more about autonomous and preventive maintenance by exploring the following sections:

What’s autonomous maintenance and its advantages?

Autonomous maintenance involves machine operators tackling basic equipment upkeep tasks to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the production floor.

When implemented, AM can yield a number of benefits:

  • Reduced equipment downtime: Conducting routine upkeep activities can prevent breakdowns and limit the need for unplanned maintenance.
  • Greater machine reliability: Operators who are trained to maintain their own equipment are more likely to pinpoint problems before they lead to machine failure.
  • Prolonged lifespan of machinery: Equipment that is maintained will last longer and require fewer repairs or replacements.
  • More operator involvement: Operators who take an active role in preserving their machinery feel empowered.
  • Increased safety: It’s easier to troubleshoot potential hazards before they turn into accidents when operators frequently inspect and maintain their equipment.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Reducing unplanned maintenance can save manufacturers significant money over time.

When coupled with smart, connected worker technology and AI-driven analytics, AM’s benefits are further enhanced. Digitizing autonomous maintenance processes increases standard work adherence, clears defects faster, and improves auditability. Connected worker technology enables operators to share knowledge and gives them access to the resources they need right when they need them.

autonomous maintenance


What’s preventive maintenance and its benefits?

Preventive maintenance focuses on performing routine equipment upkeep tasks at scheduled intervals. The goal is to avert equipment failure and limit unplanned downtime or repairs.

The benefits of having dedicated workers perform preventive maintenance are:

  • Enhanced machine reliability: Regular maintenance increases the odds of identifying and fixing problems before they turn into mechanical failures.
  • Decreased downtime: Conducting routine upkeep at scheduled times can decrease unplanned maintenance and increase production efficiency.
  • Greater compliance: PM can help manufacturers better comply with regulatory requirements to prevent unnecessary penalties for non-compliance.
  • Better planning protocols: Recruiting specialized maintenance personnel with extensive training on machine upkeep and repair can lead to better planning and allocation of resources.
  • Increased safety: Training workers on basic maintenance techniques ensures that deficiencies are addressed in a timely manner to avoid any injury.

PM’s impact is improved when used alongside smart, connected worker solutions that allow for digital work instructions and remote collaboration to effectively and efficiently guide technicians. Additionally, by digitizing and automating maintenance notifications, organizations can improve communications, speed up maintenance procedures, and minimize machine downtime.

How to implement AM

Applying autonomous maintenance to everyday maintenance tasks can mitigate potential machine disasters. Organizations can take this even further by creating “smart” autonomous maintenance processes and implementing advanced connected worker solutions with AI-driven insights. This gives operators improved control over maintenence process and expert guidence through a searchable asset hierarchy, maintenance history, and troubleshooting database.

The seven steps of effective AM implementation:

  • Boost operator expertise: It’s important to train operators on the machines themselves and how to perform maintenance tasks. This type of training can be made more effective through AI-based insights that integrate skills management into the flow of work and identify workforce development opportunities for upskilling and reskilling.
  • Conduct initial cleaning, inspection, and repairs: Operators should execute regular maintenance activities to avoid unplanned downtime. Furthermore, with connected worker solutions, operators can use mobile devices to digitally track and manage issues and activities as well as automate maintenance notifications further reducing overall downtime and avoiding unplanned downtime.
  • Eliminate causes of contamination: Routine cleaning and inspection minimize sources of contamination such as improper calibration and defective equipment. This alone can help prevent unexpected machine breakdowns. By building smart workflows into the autonomous maintenance process, manufacturers can schedule and assign standard work procedures (such as routine cleaning and calibration) digitally that have built-in work reporting for better visualization and auditing.
  • Define standards for cleaning, lubricating, and inspecting: Nailing down how to clean, lubricate, tighten and inspect, and how often to perform these upkeep duties, can help keep equipment in pristine condition. Smart digitization can standardize these practices across all manufacturing operations, giving organizations a global best practices standard to measure standard work adherence, clear defects more quickly, and improve auditability.
  • Perform inspection and monitoring: Operators who are trained on maintenance processes can carry out maintenance tasks independently and without error. With smart skills management and AI-enhanced workforce development, organizations can reduce training time and provide individualized guidance and support to workers when and where needed.
  • Standardize visual maintenance: Incorporate visual aids that help operators better understand equipment and labeling. For example, written procedures could contain a diagram showing how fluids should flow in a particular machine. Continuous learning and personalized insights via connected worker solutions are able to take this one step further and integrate things like instructional videos, interactive diagrams, and even remote experts into the flow of work to improve operational excellence and productivity.
  • Work towards continuous improvement: It’s imperative to strive for continuous improvement in maintaining machinery. Operators who are constantly learning and evolving are more productive and empowered with better decision-making capabilities through actionable, AI-driven insights.

Learn more on how to implement autonomous maintenance and the seven steps involved, or get in touch with us for a personalized demo to see Augmentir’s Autonomous Maintenance solution in action.

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How to implement PM

According to Forbes, when implemented correctly, preventive maintenance ensures that upkeep is performed at a set time to prevent unexpected machine deficiencies. Smart, connected frontline worker solutions are able to improve preventative maintenance procedures through smart communication, scheduled notifications and improved collaboration.

Eight steps for implementing preventive maintenance:

  • Establish project scope: Gauge which machinery will be inspected and which maintenance tasks are needed to be done at specific intervals.
  • Pinpoint upkeep requirements: Set requirements for which tasks are crucial for each piece of equipment. Tasks could vary from lubrication and calibration to inspections and part replacements.
  • Create maintenance schedule: Create a set schedule for carrying out PM tasks that’s based on equipment requirements, production schedules, and planned downtime.
  • Allocate worker responsibilities: Assign which tasks each maintenance worker is expected to fulfill.
  • Provide necessary resources: Give staff the proper tools, equipment, and supplies to execute PM tasks (e.g., lubricants, replacement parts, testing equipment, etc.).
  • Define metrics: Establish metrics for gauging the efficiency of PM (e.g., downtime, equipment reliability, maintenance costs, etc.).
  • Create training programs: Hands-on training and how-to instructions can help maintenance workers better understand how to perform upkeep tasks.
  • Monitor performance and adjust: Measure how well your PM efforts are doing and revise if necessary. This may mean updating procedures, adjusting maintenance schedules, or creating more training opportunities.

All of these steps are able to be standardized and optimized through connected worker solutions. Augmentir’s suite of connected worker tools delivers in-line training and support at the point of work, provides a searchable database to allow workers access to knowledge when and where needed, gives workers individualized guidance and support, connects teams for better collaboration, and more. This approach helps standardize and optimize maintenance processes and notifications as well as training, offering a better, more efficient adoption process for both frontline workers and management from start to finish, and giving everyone the proper tools for successful manufacturing operations.


If you are interested in learning for yourself why companies are choosing Augmentir to help digitize and optimize their autonomous and preventive maintenance programs – reach out to book a demo.


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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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