Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 21

BRIAN BALLARD | COLUMN BY

The skills gap is a huge challenge for
industry, but it's also an opportunity.
Manufacturers can apply advances in
mobile, wearable technology alongside other investments in data and
smart equipment to build more value
into their human capital - the people
who make their business run - while
connecting hands-on workers to the
people, processes and information
they need to do their best work.
Many companies are doing amazing things today, using technology
that fits the needs of industry, builds
on their existing systems and maximizes the potential of their workforce. We can't wait to see what
they'll do tomorrow. mt

Brian Ballard is the CEO and co-founder of APX Labs where he

is working on the next industrial revolution - using smart glasses to
create powerful ways for the workforce to interact with the digital
and physical world. He is a frequent speaker, author, and recognized
expert in the field of wearable computing. Visit apx-labs.com

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 manufacturing-today.com

21

O P E R AT I O N S

L EADERSHIP

Upskilling Your Business

T H E B AT T E RY S H OW

P RO F I TA B I L I T Y

L AST PAGE

C OVER STORY

M ANAGEMENT

Using smart glasses on the shop floor
can also help companies equip their
workforce with critical information
to help them do more with less, while
also improving Overall Effectiveness
Efficiency (OEE). Take Jabil, a global
electronic product solutions company, as example.
For every minute a production
line is down can mean significant
setbacks to customer orders and
costs. With customized workflows
on smart glasses integrated with its
existing system architecture, Jabil's

S U P P LY C H A I N

Improving Workflow
Efficiency and Collaboration

L EADERSHIP

manufacturers
can apply advances
in wearable technology alongside
other investments
to build value into
their human capital.

line managers and machine technicians are able to access real-time
data and charts on important information such as machine states, state
of shift and yield for each line. This
enables their workers to track up to
three lines effectively in a given shift,
as opposed to one or two production
lines, previously.
Moreover, if the line workers encounter issues they don't understand, smart glasses let them call for
help immediately. As they stream
their view of the situation, they receive instructions directly from experts across the plant or hundreds
of miles away, thereby reducing
downtime. With smart glasses, Jabil
has been able to drive significant improvement in production line availability and recouped the deployment
costs within 2 months.

D IALOGUE

C ONTENTS

T ECHNOLOGY

N EWS

P RO F I TA B I L I T Y

AH
S R EXPO 2016

M A N U FA C T U R I N G

U.S. manufacturing suffered losses of
$45 million in 2012 and 2013 due to unfulfilled positions. Vocational training programs, apprenticeships and recruitment are simply not keeping up
with today's demand, much less the
demands for advanced skills that will
grow as retirements increase.
This is another area where smart
glasses can revolutionize industry.
Research shows that combining video, audio and kinetic/muscle-memory learning accelerates the ability of
many people to gain and retain new
skills faster, more easily and with
greater precision.
One of our customers applied this
principle on the production floor of
its facility dedicated to the steriliza-

tion of medical devices. Here, there is
no room for even the smallest of error
- people's lives depend on the correct
handling of these devices.
The company is using smart glasses
to build documented workflows for
different procedures and job tasks,
and for performing job hazard analysis. When a new associate comes in
and puts on the smart glasses, they
can see the different gear that they
are required to wear, the process that
they need to follow and the steps that
they need to take - without skipping
a beat. Smart glasses make all this information available to them within
their field of vision and completely
eliminate the need to refer to a manual. The results? A more proficient
workforce, better quality control and
vastly improved workplace safety.

C ANADA MANUFACTURING

L E A N

Skills for the
Evolving Workforce

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

SERVICE

SPACE TECH EXPO

nies capture this "tribal knowledge"
and pass it on to new workers?
Smart glasses offer the ideal solution. The manufacturing team at
the packaging facility is deploying
wearables to its senior technicians,
managers and other seasoned handson workers, which lets them record
tasks while performing them as usual.
When the skilled workers encounter
errors or other issues in the operation, they simply use voice commands
to record what they are seeing and
then talk through the procedure for
troubleshooting.
The company is then digitizing
and cataloging these recordings so
they can be accessed by other workers wearing smart glasses during onthe-job training. When these workers
have questions or are unsure of how
to proceed while performing a certain
task, they can use voice to request
their devices to play the recorded videos, all while keeping both hands free
to do their jobs.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016

Table Of Contents
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 1
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - Table Of Contents
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 3
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Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - Cover3
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