“It’s HRs problem”, “There’s nothing I can do about it”, “They’ll never leave to go find a new job” …sound familiar? The truth is, labor challenges facing the protein industry impact your entire workforce and you and your customers’ bottom line – but there is something you can do about it. From pandemic disruptions to looming retirements, companies need to get creative and extend their workforce.
Protein is a fast-expanding sector. In fact, according to Statista it is projected to grow to more than $70 billion by 2025. This growth will require even more out of your workforce – which in many cases is already feeling pressures of intense demand and changing consumer preferences. So, it is time to turn to technology to augment your workforce. And the good news is, there are many ways to do so.
The more information the betterI’m sure we can all remember a time when we were given performance feedback after it was too late to make a change. If we had the right information in advance, we would have made an informed decision that could have a more positive outcome. This frustration is not uncommon, and is why it is so important that we are empowering workers with the data they need, when they need it. Data collection is the crucial first step to this process.
“I don’t need another ‘you failed yesterday’ report”, said one customer.
Making sure you are capturing data from equipment in real-time enables custom dashboards and reports that are pertinent to your workers in the context of their job. Integrating a solution from the frontline to the loading dock will increase visibility and lead to better informed decisions, breakdown communication barriers and help prevent potential inefficiencies. Additional areas that can be improved by connecting your enterprise with the right data include:
- Troubleshooting plant disruptions
- Identifying operational improvement opportunities
- Calculating ROI
- Planning maintenance activities
Support operations with Extended Reality (XR)XR, which encompasses virtual, mixed and augmented reality, is a powerful tool in training and retaining employees. Introducing XR should not require a complete overhaul or be thought of as a cost prohibitive step for your operations. Instead, think of it like adding a tool to your toolbox. Wearable technologies and mobile digital solutions can assist in knowledge transfer to your entire workforce. These technologies can be further enhanced with dynamic digital twin software to fully visualize your operations, apply solutions and find efficiencies quicker.
Let’s imagine one of your weighers goes down. A timely fix is needed to resume operations so that you are not losing or shortchanging product. Wouldn’t it be nice if your maintenance team had a way to visualize the steps to repair the machine? With digital work instructions they can. Or how about over the shoulder support to complete the fix? With wearable technology and access to remote support you can. In the end, small enhancements like this can save time, money and help alleviate on-site staffing challenges you’re faced with every day.
Attract the next generationTechnology is all around us. From the smartphones in our pocket to our connected homes, you no longer have to go into work to interact with technology. And that is a good thing because it means that those entering the workforce are ready to work with technology. It is also a competitive advantage for companies looking to fill gaps in their workforce. It is common to see “Work with cutting edge technology!” in big bold letters on job ads today. The point is, technology does not only help extend your workforce but can help attract and retain them as well. Enabling your operations with connected enterprise solutions or AR/VR-assisted trainings help your workers get up to speed quicker and learn from a hands-on approach.