Setting standards for efficiency, quality and product integrity is crucial to protecting your brand’s reputation. Customers have an expectation that what they get you from will feel like your brand and be of uniform, high quality. Standardization of processes is the big, boring sounding key to the success of many of the biggest, most exciting brands in the world. According to Science Direct organizations can experience “a decrease of about 50% in the error rate as a result of adhering to standardization.” In this article we are going to look at digital tools you need to set, raise and enforce your standards and how Atheer can help your business succeed in today’s complicated marketplace through digital standardization.
But why is digital standardization important? A Big Mac might not be your favorite burger but the reason you cue up is because you know it will be the same burger wherever you get it. When customers become loyal to your brand, they know you have a standard. Your standard is your brand. This is what your supporters are connecting to. They’ll also know when you don’t reach your standard. Customers won’t stand for products that aren’t as advertised. The details matter. To make uniform products you need highly standardized processes.
Standardization has become even more important as manufacturing environments have become more complex and an increasing deficit of skilled workers has made companies rely on a less experienced labor force. As a result it has become critical to use digital standardization to error proof processes as the new workforce is more likely to make costly mistakes.
Digital Standardization can:
- Improve quality and reduce variability in products or services
- Reduce human error through error proofing of processes
- Make it easier to onboard new staff
- Create a safer working environment
- Build a foundation for continuous improvement
Digital Standardization With Front Line Worker Platforms
The key is finding a way to enforce these standards so that you can trust that processes will be done right the first time, every time. Digital standardization is one of the things that Atheer’s Front Line Worker Platform does best.
Atheer gives manufacturers the traceability and verification you need to trust your standardized processes are being done and done correctly and that your workers are given the support they need every step of the way. We make it extremely difficult to make a mistake by increasing verification and providing highly contextual, visual instructions. Atheer provides standardized digital workflows that:
- Offer step specific standardized, visual work instructions that are easy to understand for workers no matter their experience level.
- Each time a step is completed it gets time stamped and evidence is provided to prove completion.
- You can only complete jobs when all steps have been completed.
- The data becomes available to management in real time.
- You can track how long it takes for an employee or a production line to complete a task and provide support when they’re lagging behind your established standard for operational excellence.
- Deviations are minimized through standardization and as a result so are defects.
- Standardized quality audits using Atheer’s workflows capture defects before they reach the market. This can be extended across your entire supply chain.
Making It Easy To Do Excellent Work Every Time
Atheer’s standard processes make it easy for even inexperienced employees to reach your standard. All they have to do is follow each step of the digital workflow and provide photographic or video evidence to prove completion of the step.
Each step gives you step specific visual training materials to help them in their task. These training materials are practical, machine specific and visual so they are easy to understand so that workers can be trusted to work unsupervised.
Atheer’s workflows are detail oriented because workers aren’t naturally detail oriented. Digital workflows ensure front line workers don’t skip steps and create deviations which will cause problems down the line. And if they do skip those steps you can trace where the deviations occurred and easily remedy the problem.
2. Capturing Tribal Knowledge and Making Onboarding Easy
The Great Crew Challenge has created a skilled workers gap in many industries and makes manufacturers rely on new employees who don’t have the experience yet to do the job properly. It can also be crippling when skilled workers leave a business and deprive the company of their expertise.
Manufacturers need excellent visually rich training tools to get new workers up to speed quickly and capture the best practices of your skilled labor force before they walk out the door.
With Atheer you can enshrine these best practices in low code/no code digital workflows for your front line teams. Depending on the experience level of your employees you can even make it necessary for supervisors to check their work before they’re allowed to close the job. When problems are unforeseen and need immediate resolution they can be connected to subject matter experts for remote assistance.
3. Providing Data Driven Mentorship To Enforce the Standard
When new employees are taking too long to accomplish their tasks, supervisors will be able to see their work speed and offer practical mentorship to help them improve and reach the company standard. You can then track their improvement with data. This could be mistaken for surveillance when in fact you are offering support. With mentorship you can improve self esteem, get the job done faster and give them new confidence in their abilities.
With paper based processes you can’t accurately track how well your employees are performing to standard and you can’t discover deviations because they can’t be properly tracked. The data is either unavailable in real time or put into siloed computer systems. This means you can’t offer the support your employees need because you don’t know what they need help with!
With Atheer you have the data you need to get better performance from your front line. Some people say knowledge is power. Well in this case knowledge powers your worker’s improved performance and upgrade work experience of your front line operators. Book a demo to learn more.
4. Simplifying A Complicated Work Environment Where Multiple Products Are Being Created
Atheer excels in complicated work environments where processes have become too complex for even the most experienced employees to keep it all in their heads or in paper based workflows kept in a three ring binder. No one can keep track of standardized processes for ten separate products off of memory alone!
Atheer makes it easy to do these processes because you don’t have to keep all the steps in your head. All relevant instructions can be consolidated in one workflow. Atheer’s work instructions are available through the devices your front line teams naturally use in the flow of work (phones, laptops, tablets and Smart Glasses.) When workers are assigned the job they get the relevant training materials and intuitive workflows to make sure that they can replicate each product’s standardized processes.
Atheer lowers the barrier of entry for skilled work. It makes it possible to meet high standards without years of experience. For experienced workers it lowers the barrier to upskilling. You can easily improve productivity and reduce the stress on your front line workers with Atheer’s digitally supported work experience. We’ve even made it possible to connect workers to our digital work experience through Augmented Reality. Check out our AirAnchors experience!
5. Standardized Work Across Your Extended Enterprise
One of the key ways that Atheer stands out from its competitors is through its unmatched ability to play well with extended enterprise systems. You can extend Atheer’s digital standardized quality workflows outside of your organization to track your product from the factory into the market place and discover where defects occur all across your supply chain. You can provide installers with digitized work instructions to make sure your customer receives the best service experience possible. You can arm every step of your supply chain with Atheer’s work experience to add traceability and verification throughout the entire process.
6. Setting and Raising The Standard
So we talked about meeting a standard but how do set a new standard and continuously improve through digital standardization? Great question! When everyone in your company is executing a work process through standardized workflows you can properly compare and contrast different lines, plants, even countries where your company resides to discern new best practices. The data can help you decide what to do next. It can give you an average amount of time it takes to execute a task. You can spot high performing outliers and interview them to get handy tips that can be passed down to the rest of your workers.
Your most skilled individual performers can share their best practices and transform individual excellence into elevated team performance. These new, improved processes can then become the new company wide standard. But doesn’t process improvement take forever? Nope!
Digital workflows with these best practices can be quickly rolled out along with accompanying training videos with the press of a few buttons and a few hours with your training team. While paper based processes aren’t designed to be iterative, digital workflows are wired for continuous improvement. Atheer can help you continue to improve your efficiency year over year. We are proud to improve metrics like OEE, key to key time, productivity and much more!
7. Quality And Sustainability
Everyone wants to make their company more sustainable. When processes are done correctly there are less defects and less need for rework and this means less environmental waste. Standardization reduces human error by as much as 50%. Mistakes cost materials, labor and environmental damage. Learn more about how Atheer can improve quality of your product by improving quality of inspection.
Human error also leads to accidents and related safety risks. Improved digitized quality processes make work not only more efficient but also more environmentally friendly. With Atheer your front line teams can do things right the first time, reducing environmental waste, increasing productivity and keeping factories safe.
8. Meeting Customer Demand
Atheer gives manufacturers holistic visibility into your processes and this can make your production processes become more predictable through advanced standardization. If you know how long processes take you understand how long it takes to make a product. You can then escape overstock situations and wire your production for just in time delivery. Standardization makes sure the product your workers are making is what your customers have to come to expect from your brand. With increased standardization you have the data to know what your front line is truly capable of.
Atheer’s low code/no code platform makes digitizing workflows easy. Our platform easily integrates with your legacy ERP, MES and BI systems with little need for customization. But what if your company needs something special? Our team of experts will be with you every step of the way. But you know what is difficult?
What’s difficult is trying to track employee performance without available data! It’s difficult dealing with a skills gap when your employees are young and inexperienced and you don’t have enough supervisors to keep an eye on their work. It’s difficult to prevent quality defects, rework and machine breakdown with inefficient paper based work processes that don’t hold your front line teams accountable. We want to make it easy for you to get the job done right, every time.
Atheer looks forward to helping your teams meet then raise your company’s standard for efficiency, productivity and product excellence. Click below to sign up with us for a demo!