Ensuring Safety, Empowering the Frontline with Wearable Tech

The manufacturing industry is undergoing a significant transformation—the biggest since the Industrial Revolution, fueled by a convergence of new technologies and a labor shortage unsurpassed in contemporary times.

Following decades of slow and cautious transformation, the pandemic triggered an industry-wide disruption with different degrees of success in recent years. All manufacturers are still figuring out how to operate in this new digital environment; digital transformation will be crucial for those who want to succeed rather than just survive.

In the Philippines, manufacturing is among the top contributors to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), manufacturing accounted for at least 2.1 percent of the country’s GDP growth in the third quarter of this year.

Within the broader manufacturing ecosystem lies the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) sector, a modest but crucial part of the industry. These businesses manufacture commodities that people frequently purchase and utilize daily. Since they have always prioritized manufacturing excellence and conventional lean concepts, CPG manufacturers have traditionally lagged other industries in digitizing and automating their processes.

Although there is still room for growth within certain operational areas, the world is changing swiftly, making it more challenging to achieve success with these strategies. With this reality, CPG businesses are under pressure to adopt new technologies to remain competitive.

Exploring Automation

Since the first automated machines were launched in the 1960s, manufacturing organizations have constantly improved their operations by automating their factories. With the current developments in robotics, machine learning, and wearable technology, manufacturers are embracing technology to boost production and cut costs.

However, manufacturers also realize the importance of ensuring that they have skilled workers and experts that can keep up with the needs of an increasingly digitalized industry. In recent years, manufacturing organizations were also not spared from ‘The Great Resignation,’ a phenomenon observed, particularly during the pandemic when millions of workers left the workforce and took their decades of knowledge and experience with them.

Manufacturing organizations that have not yet embraced automation are scrambling to protect their intellectual property and considering how to train the incoming workforce effectively and adequately in the wake of these mass resignations.

Embracing Assisted Reality, Mobility Solutions

Nowadays, most CPG manufacturers working with legacy systems and existing factory lines realize the need to upgrade for more autonomy and flexibility, which requires a high level of change in management and investment. So, CPG organizations that can manage workforce shortages and adapt to rapid change will come out ahead.

To help ease this process, some CPG manufacturers are turning to assisted reality (AR) technology to improve training, data collecting, knowledge transfers, and predictive maintenance by bridging executives and frontline employees with existing Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure. Over the years, manufacturers have also adopted some digital tools as part of their efforts to embrace digital transformation.

Manufacturers widely accept ruggedized tablets and immersive VR and AR technologies. Although these technologies are hailed as the next big step in increasing worker productivity, they are not necessarily useful tools for production or the front lines. They may not be appropriate or even dangerous for workers in many application circumstances.

A wearable suitable for the manufacturing sector is an aR device with industrial strength, which can connect frontline employees across factories and entire businesses with the information and expertise required to carry out job duties effectively and securely. AR gear users can communicate hands-free using their vision, voice, and head movements. They are perfect since they can be used in potentially dangerous and loud environments up to 100 dB.

For instance, manufacturers utilize augmented reality (AR) technology like head-mounted displays (HMDs), which safely combine the physical and virtual worlds to enable new types of engagement and perception while enabling frontline employees to maintain complete situational awareness. Users of HMDs may view a screen in their immediate field of vision without using their hands and can quickly access information as needed.

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Helping co-create safer facilities, ensuring frontliner’s safety

To help CPG organizations and other manufacturers enable remote collaboration, Fujitsu provides these AR devices as part of its Mobility and Wearable Tech Solutions. These solutions were recently showcased by Fujitsu during the recent PLDT Enterprise Digicon 2022 (Boundless) held at the Marriott Grand Ballroom. This event featured enterprise solutions that can help companies redefine their businesses to a more hybrid and digital world. 

Fujitsu’s latest mobility solution allows collaboration among employees through assisted and industrial-grade solutions. These technologies allow organizations to digitize and automize their processes involving human contact. This latest solution offering of Fujitsu ensures the safety of company frontliners. It also allows the transmission of secured and accurate data among employees in the manufacturing industry. 

At Fujitsu, we understand that in any organization, it’s people that matter the most and remain the most valuable asset. Through these wearable technologies, Fujitsu aims to help develop outcome-based solutions to provide greater visibility of a worker’s well-being across hazardous situations and remote locations.

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