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Support your Field Workforce in uncertain times with Remote Support

Since a few months Covid-19 has kept industries on the edge. Some have been hit harder than others. But one topic has been common: we all must change the way we’re working! At least for the next foreseeable future. Might there be a second wave or not. We all want to protect our employees. Especially with the blue-collar worker and Field forces, we do have the need to build smaller teams in order to limit possible risk factors. This might lead to the point, that some expertise is not directly available in the teams physically. I would like to introduce you in some topics that can support you heavily in the way you operate your maintenance force.

Individual challenges with Field Workforces

Question like

  • How do I manage my Field Workforce effectively?
  • How can I improve their efficiency and make their life easier?
  • How can I make use of specialist Know-How in the broader field?

have always been on the mind of every Energy related Company. These days, when you not only have to cope with these questions but have also to take care of special COVID requirements. But some cases you fortunately can solve them together and in a faster way than you might expect. We have seen these days, that the digitization of various companies has advanced in a way that a few month ago everybody would have said: “this might take at least a few years to become reality”. But it just took weeks to become true. People who never had the opportunity to work from home or remotely, now are using collaboration technologies totally naturally that nobody has thought of a few weeks ago.

 

Eine Frau arbeitet mit einer HoloLens

 

The same can become true to your Field Service Crews when it comes to support them even more in these restricted times. In order to keep the lights up and running most of the service companies are now forced to divide their crews in smaller groups in order to avoid larger service failures caused by infections. And it’s a necessary precaution to safe your workforce from any harm caused by the virus. Sometimes this leads to decisions to have specialists for certain tasks or technologies either just in one team. If the specialists are so rare, that you cannot risk to put them in any risky situation, the best countermeasure is to keep them in a central location and make their knowledge available via remote connection. Having “just” audio available gets you fast into limitations. This is where Augmented Reality could bring it’s full support to life.

For further details see: https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-us/mixed-reality/remote-assist/

Stay handsfree

By equipping your remote workforce with devices like Hololens 2, they can have hands free access to your specialist support from any location. The handling of the device supports your security and company guidelines by integrating in your IT management infrastructure used to handle IT devices like Laptops, PCs and mobile Devices as well your security infrastructure for authentication of your workforce. Using Windows Hello this authentication can be done using biometric authentication, thus making passwords unnecessary. Which is of special importance if workers are wearing gloves to fulfill their work. In addition, the time till the device can be used to support the worker to perform his task is of utmost importance. With Windows Hello support the time from turning on the device to have the ability to place calls for central support can be massively shortened of up to 10 seconds. This makes it not only convenient, but fast as well to be used when urgent help is needed.

Stay flexible and integrated

As Dynamics 365 is part of the offering, it offers the ability in conjunction with the Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents and many more technologies to fastly integrate with your existing infrastructure and make essential informations available for your Field Workers. But this is not a one way. It’s also important to have a central picture of the field status available in your systems as soon as possible. Those tools can help to easily and fast create the tools your Field Force needs to provide you the necessary feedback in the most convenient way possible.
For special offers for our global customers impacted by COVID-19 and additional informations, please read this article.

Gaining and preserving knowledge

But having Knowledge available remotely is not the only topic that you should investigate. Lots of enterprises faces the fact that a substantial number of employees are retiring. Since some assets are extremely long lasting, there is a lot of valuable knowledge available that’s necessary to perform the necessary maintenance. This knowledge needs to be captured.
Changes within the maintenance teams as well as training of new employees require a quick introduction of these workers into new topics. Training on the job is very efficient, but it does not scale in the necessary way. Virtual guidance, that can be tailored to the specific needs of your enterprise could get you out of this situation. Your own experts can create the path how the maintenance should be performed and how the new employees should be trained in the right way. And it can be tagged to the real hardware, so that the worker gets guided directly on the machine step by step.

But take a look the following video to get the impression:
https://youtu.be/V8c3pDKdHEc

 

Eine Frau arbeitet mit einer HoloLens

 

And the best thing: you don’t have to rely on our voices alone. Get an impression on how employees receive this offering. Paccar was one of the companies to implement this solution to raise productivity in their production line. See and listen what they have to say in the following video:
https://youtu.be/OQDhTtDgir0

You might ask yourself how difficult it is to author these guides by yourselves. We have created some overviews to provide you insights into the authoring process:
https://youtu.be/poE7s7_zWDE

If we have raised your interest, don’t hesitate to contact us.