With employees suddenly having no option but to work from home, and not having their usual physical surroundings to carry out their work, tasks must go virtual.
Thankfully, a number of tools can assist with tasks such as increasing throughput, and quality and compliance checks. There are many fantastic technologies that can help you to adjust seamlessly and effectively to the changes...
Control your factory remotely
Your factory may not need to close completely. Whilst perhaps its physical doors may have to be locked, its processes and procedures can be automated. This means that many tasks can be effectively carried out with minimal human intervention required.
Instead of having multiple team members in the same room, or the physical data right in front of you, data visualisation tools can help. They allow you to use graphics to represent data, empowering easy analysis and informing business decisions.
Wherever your team members are in the world, there does not need to be a delay in reaching a resolution or determining next steps.
Store data in the cloud
If you’ve previously been storing data on local storage devices, thankfully cloud computing has been around for quite some time now and so is incredibly effective. Services and resources can be uploaded to, and retrieved from, the internet.
Additionally, documents can be held on cloud-based storage systems.
Integrate the physical with the virtual
Cyber-physical systems (CPS) can integrate the dynamics of the physical process together with those of
software and communication. The result is that you’ll have access to abstractions and modelling, design
and analysis techniques.
Carry out human tasks through robots
On a similar note, artificial intelligence and machine learning systems have been purposely created to
work and react just as humans do. Remember, however, that this is not ‘replacing’ a human worker –
people should be placed before technology.
Simulate experiences through virtual reality (VR)
These can either be alike or entirely distinct to those in the real world. There’s the option for collaboration if users wear VR headsets at the same time, allowing them to experience the exact same virtual environment. Providing training through VR can be very beneficial, and often something people opt for regardless of where their staff are working. VR ensures the current workforce don’t have to be disrupted, and the entire team’s development doesn’t have to be put on hold either.
Augmented reality (AR)
Through AR, you’ll be able to take your existing manufacturing environment and add on digital
information. This results in an ‘augmented environment’. It’s particularly useful for identifying the
machinery that’s working, as well as if it’s up to the required conditions.
Collaboration and remote-working software
Whilst perhaps not as ‘groundbreaking’ as other technologies, free software that helps us work remotely, and together, is essential. Here are some of the most valuable tools:
- File storage and sharing: Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Box
- Video conferencing: Zoom, Whereby, Skype and Google Hangouts
- Online whiteboard: Miro and Stormboard
- Task management: Trello, Wunderlist and Asana
- Note-taking: Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, Google Docs and Notion
- Meeting planning: SessionLab and Google Sheets
- Engagement tools: Stormz, Axis, Mentimeter and Slido