The manufacturing industry is experiencing a well-documented skills shortage, as the number of retiring workers shows no sign of slowing down. With product complexity and customer demand on the rise, organizations around the world are facing intense pressure to stay competitive by getting more productivity out of their frontline workers. Heavier workloads are not a viable option; product quality and worker safety would be compromised while the burden on senior experts could drive even more into retirement.
As a result, many organizations are turning to emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR) to increase the effectiveness of their current workers. There are three applications of AR that can help companies find meaningful gains in frontline worker productivity.
Augmented work instructions
High workforce turnover means a larger number of inexperienced or seasonal workers. New employees often require more training and guidance, especially those performing more complicated tasks and procedures. With the ability to overlay pre-authored step-by-step work instructions onto a real-world work environment, AR can help new hires become effective on the job almost immediately.
Using AR authoring solutions, subject matter experts with backgrounds in process engineering, documentation, training, product development, or IT can use their deep institutional knowledge along with existing CAD and IoT data to create and refine detailed, product-specific content.
Real-time remote assistance
AR-enhanced documentation and guidance can be extremely effective at maximizing worker productivity, but what do frontline workers do when there isn’t an existing set of AR-based instructions showing them the answers?
Collaborative AR solutions like Vuforia Chalk allow frontline workers to get real-time assistance from a remote expert, through a shared-view experience that provides annotated work instructions and over-the-shoulder support. This makes it easier to maintain and scale the institutional expertise that today’s organizations value more than ever, so frontline workers can get things right the first time.
Expert procedural guidance
Lastly, many companies can benefit from AR experiences that don’t require additional CAD data, pre-existing assets, or development efforts. Oftentimes, frontline workers just need to be able to retrace certain steps to complete a task, but they don’t have enough knowledge or experience to do so.
With new AR solutions like Vuforia Expert Capture, experienced workers can record hands-free work instructions using voice commands, gestures, and location-based steps, to show inexperienced workers what to do and exactly how to do it. This can help companies improve quality, safety, and overall workforce productivity, at speeds faster than ever before.
Manufacturing and service companies are facing a looming skills crisis—download this eBook to discover how industrial AR can help.