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One of the clearest realizations made in the midst of industrial transformation triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has been that global manufacturing is powered by the frontline workforce. The industry witnessed a sea of change: a significant disruption in terms of business continuity, operational visibility, remote work, employee safety, and the list goes on. Businesses across the supply chain have responded—and are continually adapting as we all embrace the recovery process—and the organizations that include their frontline in that process are reaping the benefit of accelerated growth and productivity.

When the working world split between those who could do their jobs from home and those who could not, the frontline transformed beyond anyone’s expectations.

Microsoft has been proud to support this global workforce by helping to drive digital innovation further into the hands of all workers across the organization and bring process transformation to life with industry-specific solutions. From pivoting from in-person expertise to being able to rapidly deploy remote assistance, manufacturers have leveraged tailor-made experiences for the frontline to enable new ways to work.

We’ve also invested in partnerships with industry hardware leaders to make the frontline collaboration process more seamless and efficient. By combining the power of Microsoft Teams with purpose-built headsets from Realwear, teams can enable access to the right expertise while staying hands-free and focused on the job.

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In continuing with this partnership, we’re pleased to announce that Realwear will be the first device running AOSP supported by Microsoft Endpoint Manager which will allow manufacturing organizations to easily configure Realwear devices for either shared or single use while keeping protection policies in Teams to keep company information more secure.

Being an agile operation also requires manufacturers to be able to easily make and receive approval requests from the frontline. Whether it’s machine equipment permitting requests or other routine maintenance, the ability to signal approval requests is critical to running smooth operations. We’re excited to announce the general availability of DocuSign as an Approvals partner coming next month. This partnership extends our electronic signature capabilities already in place in Teams today, allowing frontline workers to create and send approval requests without leaving Teams.

Integration of the Approvals App with Microsoft Word further streamlines the approval process so workers can create, manage, or request approvals directly from Teams or their Word documents.

Frontline workers are the backbone of the manufacturing industry. I’m personally grateful for their efforts to keep our factories agile and our supply chains resilient in the face of rapid change.

To learn more about our partnership RealWear on AOSP (Android Open Source Project) announcement and other exciting announcements on how Microsoft is supporting the frontline in a hybrid world, please check out the news from Emma Williams, Corporate Vice President, Modern Workplace Transformations.

Join us at Microsoft Ignite on November 2–4, 2021, to explore the latest on Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing and more. Register here.

Follow Microsoft Manufacturing on social and visit our Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing website to get the latest on how Microsoft and our partners are helping manufacturers create a more resilient and sustainable future.