How to break the failure cycle with mobile data capture

May 26, 2021
Leaders must consider the end user by adopting strategies that frontline workers will actually use.

By Robin Fleming, co-founder and CEO of Anvl

Among the many ways continuous-improvement strategies can fail is this—the improper selection of technologies for frontline workers.

With much of the manufacturing workforce still disengaged from their facilities due to the pandemic, it’s important for manufacturing leaders to consider digital solutions that not only drive business performance, but that both frontline manufacturing workers and supervisors will actually use.

Organizations will only break the failure cycle if they invest in digital tools built with frontline user-engagement in mind, capturing data at the point that matters most. It’s not enough to focus on continuous improvement for the sake of continuous improvement.

The problem

Cumbersome technology is often abandoned by frontline workers, skipping over the most important step in continuous learning and improvement, which is data collection. Without engaging connected-worker platforms, the opportunity for data capture is lost at its most important moment. There is no way to give instant feedback or in-the-moment guidance, resulting in delays in data collection and synthesis.

Unreliable data is another unwanted result of ignored improvement processes and tools. Even worse,  workers go through the motions “pencil whipping” processes and provide only the minimum of data required, if providing any useful data at all. Without the opportunity for immediate validation or situational prompts, a communication breakdown occurs between frontline workers and managers.

This is where the continuous improvement cycle fails: at the point where work occurs.

The solution

To find success in the continuous-improvement cycle and meet safety, quality and operational goals, leaders must consider the end user by adopting strategies and tools that frontline workers will actually use. The right tools lead to increased engagement, ultimately enabling companies to unlock data to find out what’s happening on the factory floor in real-time, find patterns and trends, and act quickly on the information.

Frontline workers benefit from electronic systems that increase awareness and heighten sensitivity through reminders and situational considerations. Engaging mobile connected-worker platforms are critical for capturing key data from the most knowledgeable workers.

The outcome is capturing data at the most important point in the improvement cycle: with the frontline worker at the point where work occurs. With these systems in place, companies will ultimately propel their own digital transformation forward and break the failure cycle by adopting proper connected-worker solutions that engage frontline workers and capture data at the right time. Meaningful continuous improvement will only take place with technology that was built with the frontline worker in mind.