Remote Expertise Network (REN) software and related performance-support content narrows the gap between today’s worker skills and job performance requirements.
Closing this gap requires continuous upskilling and reinforcement.
Four factors contribute to worker skill / performance gap and the need for continuous upskilling:
Growing complexity of front-line job requirements, often the result of robotization, automation and quality improvements.
Cost-reduction pressures arising from stiffer competition, lower prices, industry consolidations, and customer demands.
Great shift change with older workers retiring or not returning from Covid quarantines and many tens of thousands of younger workers entering the labor force.
Talent shortage of trained technicians who will relocate to “less attractive” locations.
Each of these factors contribute to growing gaps between worker skill and requirements for job performance.
In all but a handful of cases, someone in a complex, farflung industrial operation already knows what to do.
The problem is connecting the right person who’s also available to assist, right now.
If you’d summarize the negative impact of poor access to knowledge, you might say lost productivity of workers and equipment as well as lower customer satisfaction, missed revenues and loss of accounts to competitors.
Access to tribal know-how
Most of the operational, get-the-job-done knowledge lives in the minds and reflexes of trained workers and subject matter experts … somewhere in your organization or supplier networks.
This is where Remote Expertise Network can play a pivotal role in boosting productivity, safety and traceability of industrial workers:
1) Give them instant access to the right person who has the right answers
2) Provide relevant job- and safety-rated information and performance support tools
3) Capture implicit job-cycle info and explicit worker-generated content for immediate uploading or later access to stored-and-forwarded information and content.
The diagram depicts the nature of tribal know-how.
For the most part, it’s personal, unstructured and on occasion shared through conversations.
Remote Expertise Network workspaces and services can provide immediate and secure access to the personal and unstructured know-how of experts, using hands-free communication and multimedia collaboration technologies.
Deeper dive into key factors that contribute to lost worker and equipment productivity
Most industrial organizations are installing new connected IoT equipment, retrofitting existing equipment and production lines with sensors, and upgrading software and firmware at incredible rates.
In many cases, industrial customers are using their equipment in ways never imagined possible by their OEMs.
With more and more digital software in the mix, industrial customers and their service providers are customizing equipment and processes in ways that make it difficult to document.
Again, that’s where Remote Expertise Networks can assist.
First, Remote Expertise Networks workspaces can put more smart eyeballs on a situation or problem and understand what course of action will produce the safest results with the least amount of delay, re-works and unproductive use of personnel.
Second, REN workspace users can cut mean-time-to-repair cycles by 30- to 70 percent.
Third, Remote Expertise Networks enable an operations manager to spread or multiplex scarce resources across two or more job cycles, enabling remote experts to monitor two or more jobs at the same time and to provide assistance when needed.
Fourth, REN workspace users can document the as-operated states before, during, and after a maintenance or repair job, producing time-stamped user activity and job-cycle data as well as multimedia content for better reporting, traceability and compliance.
Fifth, REN enables an organization to make dozens of rapid small-scale improvements that support larger digitization and transformation initiatives.
Finally, Remote Expertise Networks pays dividends in the form of faster root cause analysis of future failures or quality problems, where technicians have a more complete understanding of what has been done, why, and how.