How to simplify shift handovers unsing smart wearables

  • Zita Rüdiger
  • Machine operation

Many industrial companies produce their goods in shifts. Production often takes place around the clock – divided into early shift, late shift and night shift. Ideally, the machines are still working to capacity during shift handovers and do not stand still. Unfortunately, such a smooth shift handover is not that common in many companies.

Problems during shift handovers

In production facilities with shift operations, several machine operators work alternately on the same machine. The working times of the machine operators overlap only minimally, so that face-to-face communication is hardly possible, if at all very brief and only a little relevant information about the previous shift can be passed on to the next shift.

At the end of a shift, all employees must enter information and incidents such as defects, machine maintenance or the job status from their shift, into a computer or even on paper. Often only a few computers are available for this process. This leads to long queues in front of the respective computers and greatly delays the handover process. Until the shift handover is completed and the following shift is brought up to date, a lot of time passes during which the machines are not fully utilized or even stand still. These types of shift handovers are an unnecessary stress factor for employees and lead to avoidable inefficiency in the production process.

Often it is not possible to inform the shift’s successor in sufficient detail about all relevant events of the previous shift. As a result, machine downtimes are usually more frequent at the beginning of a shift and the available capacity cannot be fully utilized. The machines are not being used to their full capacity, but are repeatedly stopped for short periods. In the long term, this leads to high costs that could easily be saved by optimizing shift changes. So how can you improve shift handovers?

Optimizing shift handovers – with smart wearables

By using smart wearables, such as industrial smart watches, the shift handover process is digitalized and thus simplified and accelerated. Such a shift handover could look as follows:

A machine operator comes into the changing room shortly before the start of his shift. He changes and gets his freshly charged Smartwatch out of his locker. With the Smartwatch on his wrist, he goes to his machine and relieves his colleague. The digital documentation enables him to see all the information, such as machine problems or maintenance that his foreman had, directly on his Smartwatch. He knows exactly what happened in the previous shift and what he has to pay attention to – without having to communicate with his foreman.

This is done for example with the help of the integrated video and photo function, which can document machine malfunctions directly and easily. The message function enables employees to send each other voice and text messages and, if necessary, inform the machine’s successor about a particular event. In addition, digital and direct data acquisition saves all information about machine maintenance, machine updates, defects, order status and availability of parts. This means that a few clicks on the clock are enough for the subsequent machine operator to keep up to date with the latest status of his machine – without long queues in front of computers or the need to flip through various paper documents.

The optimized, digital shift handover also minimizes personal contact between employees, which is an important factor for companies to ensure continuous production, especially in these times of corona pandemic.

Conclusion

By simplifying the shift transfer with the help of smart wearables, all important events and information from the previous shift are documented in an unalterable way and transferred in detail to the next shift. The machines do not have to stop due to a flying employee change, as the new shift can start work immediately. No personal contact is necessary for this. Simply putting on an Industrie Smartwatch at the beginning of the shift is enough to have all important data directly and digitally available on the wrist.

If you are interested in an improvement and simplification of the shift change, please contact us!

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