7 Ways to Use Parsable to Keep on Top of Digital SOPs

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Even prior to COVID-19, Industry 4.0 was gaining momentum among manufacturers. With a global pandemic looming in the background, the role of Industry 4.0 has become even more critical. 

The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of human workers on the shop floor. Because, regardless of robotics and automation being incorporated into manufacturing processes, there will always be a need for humans. They aren’t going away, but their jobs are changing. 

On top of that, COVID-19 has increasingly identified the importance of adopting digital technology to improve productivity, quality and safety. The global pandemic has exacerbated the disparities between the digital "haves" and "have nots," which has varying implications across the global supply chain. It has widened the digital divide, and technology solutions are no longer a nice-to-have, but a critical component for day-to-day operations. 

Adapting to the New Norm 

According to recent study by TEKsystems, for the remainder of 2020, eight out of 10 organizations expect 50% or more of their workforce to be remote. Whether the workforce is transitioning back to the workplace or operating remotely, organizations must consider how they deploy, secure and support the digital tools that will enable fluid communication and collaboration. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they are implementing digital tools to make information more accessible across the organization, while 51% said they are modifying standard operating procedures to include new digital technologies. As such, technologies including instant messaging (94%), video conferencing (74%) and file-sharing (56%) have seen an increase in usage.

Adapting to the new norm comes with its own set of hurdles during these unpredictable times. Specifically, training and development of workers is a challenge for 61% of organizations. Thirty-nine percent find onboarding new employees to be a challenge. Hiring may have slowed down during COVID-19 and onboarding new employees may be a challenge in environments that have not adopted any digital technology. However, with the holiday season coming up and as COVID cases potentially rise, it is likely that many manufacturers will consider hiring new and/or temporary employees. How can you deploy technology across remote and onsite factory employees to enable consistent training and onboarding, while further enabling communication and collaboration among team members?

Stay on Top of New Guidance and Stay Compliant

The pandemic has changed the way that many businesses operate. And companies have shifted their operations to accommodate for a new way of doing work. There is plenty of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – but how do you put that guidance into practice at your plants? Furthermore, with so much uncertainty around COVID-19 and as new information comes to light, it is likely that additional guidance will surface. 

How can you stay on top of new guidance and stay compliant?

  1. Dynamic digital standard operating procedures (SOPs) – Work instructions need to be more dynamic post COVID-19. Connected Worker™ technology allows you to update and publish work instructions. This is where digital work instructions and procedures can be updated in real-time, with in-the-moment training, and hygiene and social-distancing checks integrated into the procedures themselves, can help.  
  2. Temporary process changes – With the introduction of measures to minimize the possibility of COVID-19 transmission, your company may find it necessary to make changes to your manufacturing operations. Connected Worker technology can support safety and compliance at scale. You can add safety measures directly into SOPs, like reminders to wash hands or wear a mask. It can ensure that shift handoffs on the factory floor are done with social distancing in mind. By tracking the real-time activity and progress level of tasks and procedures performed by workers, it can decrease and even eliminate the need for shift leaders and teams to talk face to face. In addition, work instructions will need to be updated as new safety rules and guidance are released. 
  3. Quickly train new workers – Plan ahead with the holiday season right around the corner. As you hire new and/or seasonal workers, you’ll need to ensure they’re properly trained, and that they adhere to SOPs and enhanced COVID-related safety procedures. Our Connected Worker Platform provides employees with photos, audio, links, GIFs and videos that can all be embedded within SOPs, to help workers learn on the fly. Video instructions placed within SOPs are extremely useful, because they’re instructional and easy to follow along.
  4. Upskill workers – With a reduced number of staff coming into manufacturing facilities due to safety concerns, it means that people need to do multiple tasks. You may normally be a maintenance engineer or a person that oversees quality, but actually today, you need to know how to do an alternative role because you need to be more like a Swiss Army knife.
  5. Enable collaboration and communication across teams – Collaboration and transparency among team members is critical, given that not all team members are physically present on the factory floor. And, remote collaboration across teams has become the new norm. If there is an issue with a machine, a worker can notify their manager and communicate directly with a remote maintenance engineer to help put out a fire. 
  6. Accurately capture digital work instructions – A critical part of your operations is being able to digitize and transfer knowledge related to executing daily tasks. Our digital work instructions can be used to document tacit knowledge and eliminate the knowledge gap between your veterans and the incoming, younger generation of frontline employees.  
  7. Use our COVID-19 job templates – We're offering a series of COVID-19-specific EHS standard operating procedures (SOPs) and analytics dashboards, allowing for fast and compliant rollout once implemented.

Since the onset of COVID-19, everyone has been talking about the “new normal.” However, many manufacturers have yet to evolve and incorporate digital technology into their frontline work operations. 

It is clear that the pandemic has presented a number of challenges for manufacturers that require a new type of collaboration and change management. Teams need to be digitally connected to people, information, systems and machines – to get the job done right, every time. It is these digital tools that will allow your team members to stay on top of guidance and procedural changes, update digital SOPs and keep all employees accountable for safety compliance.

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