Smart glasses and work instructions: a perfect enterprise match
The following video is a recorded presentation of Rick Reuter, Continuous Improvement Manager at AGCO at the AWE Europe Conference (Munich). He basically answers the question many of our clients ask us: should we use smart glasses in our enterprise? A question we’ve tried to answer in one of our previous blog posts. When people first hear about this new ‘tool’, they look for ways to implement it in their company. Reuter clearly explains why this is not the correct approach.
Smart glasses as part of the solution
In the lean manufacturing journey of AGCO the philosophy is: if you have problem… find a solution (not a tool). The problem of the AGCO Minnesota plant was that employees took longer than expected to complete a task and employees who completed the work in time experienced a higher defect rate. The reason was very simple. Employees were losing a lot of time walking around the work cell to seek information necessary for the job. So AGCO needed to make its information more accessible.
The team listed a number of potential solutions: TV displays, tablets, mobile computers carts, printed instructions, wearable devices. After some testing, smart glasses emerged as the best option as they solved a bunch of problems: you don’t drop them, you don’t lose them, it doesn’t break, and you don’t have to install it or drag it with you. All seemed well, but there was no app available to guide the employees through their work instructions. Only after partnering with Glass and Proceedix, AGCO was able to solve the problem completely: technicians were guided step-by-step through the assembly process on a wearable device.
AGCO’s lesson is very simple. Good enterprise solutions consist of a software and a hardware component. Without software AGCO would still be unable to show work instructions on Glass. Without the right hardware its employees would still be running to fixed monitors or drop their tablets on the ground. Your company probably faces different problems. If you start with a clear definition of the problem, you can look for the right solution and see what combination of hardware and software fits you best.