The new concept of communication on the shopfloor

  • Zita Rüdiger
  • Communication

Not only intact machines are essential for optimal production – good communication between the individual store floor employees also plays a major role.

Shopfloor employees must communicate and interact with colleagues and machines. Without a coordinated system, chaos or confusion can easily arise and it is difficult to keep an overview of the entire situation.

The technology in production is constantly evolving, but the types of communication and interaction by and between employees usually remain unchanged. A wide variety of systems ensure that production machines run smoothly – but if an error or even a standstill should occur (and sooner or later this will be the case), there is no need for any system but for an employee to address the problem and get the machine running again.

But how does the employee become aware of the machine error or standstill as quickly as possible and without delay? How is it guaranteed that it is not by chance that the machine operator notices the error and when? And how can he coordinate with other colleagues as quickly and efficiently as possible?

Communication as a key function

One thing is certain: personal communication is usually the most effective! Agreements, important decisions and procedures are often clarified faster and easier through personal conversations than it would be possible with e-mails or on the phone. However, if a personal meeting is required for every single agreement or update, no one would be able to come to a reasonable way of working.

In order to record or transfer data or information, the old-fashioned variant of paper/printout is still frequently used. In most cases, this leads to outdated data and usually to a total loss of overview due to too many printouts or paper stacks – chaos is therefore pre-programmed.

How to solve this problem?

The solution to this problem is the use of smart wearables on the shopfloor. By using smart wearables and the aucobo system, the exchange between employees can be accelerated and optimized.

With the help of these, employees can change their shifts very easily and quickly. Past activities and problematic situations can be stored on the Smartwatch and a small note can be added. The machine’s successor is thus well informed about various situations from the previous shift. The Smartwatch also gives him access to the activities of older shifts, so he knows exactly which machine operator did what in which shift.

If problems occur with a machine, a specialist can be called up at the push of a button without the need for an employee to walk to find one. This saves a lot of time and related costs. In addition, machine operators are usually not informed about which specialists are currently in the area, whether they are qualified to solve the problem in question and whether they are available. Through the Smartwatch and the aucobo system, the required repair order is sent without delay to a qualified and available employee, who can either accept or reject the order. If rejected, the order is sent directly to another employee – until an employee accepts the work order and communicates when he will be at the affected machine.

How often does the production material of a machine run out, the machine operator either has to make a lot of phone calls or goes to the warehouse by himself to procure the required material? This process often ends with a longer standstill of the machine until the required material is available. With the help of a Smartwatch, just a few button presses are sufficient. The machine operator can send a short notification to the inventory department and specify which material is needed on his machine and to what amount. He will then receive a confirmation of receipt of the notification and the material will be delivered immediately, if available.

The distribution of tasks can be semi-automated by using the aucobo system. The shift supervisor can send different tasks to qualified and present employees without having to check long shift schedules and specific qualifications in advance. The system stores when which employee is present and for which tasks he is qualified. For a particular task, the system therefore only lists the employees who are qualified for that task. In addition, the tasks can be prioritized so that the most important tasks are processed first.

Should a machine operator take a short coffee break or have a short meeting, the data can be redirected to his colleague’s Smartwatch at the push of a button. This guarantees constant monitoring of all machines, even if a machine operator is not available for a short time.

These are some of the functions that simplify the communication between employees. In addition, the aucobo system is also designed to optimize the communication between man and machine.

In many shopfloors today, it is still left to chance whether a machine operator notices that a machine has a problem or even stops without delay. With the help of Smart Wearables and the corresponding aucobo system, the employee receives a direct notification with a short explanation on his, for example, Smartwatch in the case of a machine problem or standstill. He is thus directly informed about an incident and no time is lost until the machine operator passes the affected machine by chance and detects the problem. The system automatically prioritizes if several errors occur simultaneously – a bottleneck machine is preferred, for example. The operator can therefore take care of the repair without delay and, if necessary, request other employees to help via the Smartwatch. He does not need to know exactly which employee is currently in the area and has the qualifications to solve the problem. A push of the button on the Smartwatch is sufficient to request help.

These are some examples of how you can optimize the communication between your employees in production and between man and machine. Read here how you can make the shopfloor in your company even more productive.

To get an aucobo solution tailored to your company, please contact us!