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Traditional Procedure Management is Broken. Here's How to Fix It and Reduce Human Errors and Plant Downtime

Connected workers have become the cornerstone of digital transformation initiatives - but, in many organizations, onboarding and learning programs are poorly suited to support them, says Peter Wilson, Senior Industry Consultant from Hexagon’s Asset Lifecycle Intelligence division.
Here’s how they can do a better job.

In a recent Microsoft survey, 55% of field workers said they received no training in the technologies and tools needed to do their job. Is there something deeply broken in the onboarding and learning experience organizations provide?

Many industrial organizations face a common problem: their digital transformation requires connected, empowered field workers, but their learning and onboarding experience is nowhere in line with that objective.

One of the main reasons is a centralized and top-down approach to knowledge management rather than a collaborative one. All too often, experienced field workers know how to perform their job, but their knowledge is not reflected in the documentation or learning materials: as much as 90% of the operating knowledge of a plant is only stored in the mind of workers!

This leads to frequent problems: workers are left learning on the fly. When they look at content and procedures, they only find partial, outdated, or inaccurate information. They also experience frequent gaps between what is described in training materials (the “work as imagined”) and what they can or should do.

To make matters worse, training is typically performed in constrained environments - on a laptop or in a classroom - that is far removed from the context in which information will be used.

What are the consequences?

This situation directly affects quality, safety, efficiency, and productivity.

The most common consequences are errors or incidents. When you look at human errors in industrial environments, the primary cause in 30% of the cases is the lack of appropriate information or feedback.

Workers also lose time and energy looking for information that is not readily available. 7 out of 10 workers say they use Google to find information on how to perform their tasks, for example.

A third, often overlooked consequence is attrition: if field workers do not feel that they are empowered, supported, or learning, they will leave. A LinkedIn survey found that companies highly rated for employee training had a 53% lower attrition rate than their peers. 

How does AcceleratorKMS solve this?

AcceleratorKMS has been designed to meet the needs of the connected worker by providing an experience that’s mobile, personalized, on-demand, and based on the actual work being performed.

First, we address the divide between the work and its documentation. AcceleratorKMS leverages data based on actual work to identify what problems are encountered or what supplemental information is accessed. This information can be segmented at the individual or demographic level to create meaningful personalization of the learning experience but also to provide a feedback loop to improve content.

Second, we ensure critical content can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and from any device. This includes digitizing legacy documents and breaking down content into bite-sized pieces of information that can be used on the go for the task at hand. This information can be paired with equipment information to provide a complete picture of the task.

Third, we intertwine training, collaboration, and mentoring. Users can provide instant feedback and flag incorrect information right away. Subject-matter experts can easily review procedures and content to ensure it remains accurate. And by obtaining data on actual work, we can ensure that procedures are actually followed.

What benefits can organizations expect when adopting AcceleratorKMS?

Our clients have seen procedure compliance increase by up to 99% - in other words, they nearly eliminated information-caused incidents. In addition, subject-matter experts save up to 68% of the time they spend reviewing existing content and procedures and 91% of the time spent creating new procedures.

Overall, workers increase wrench time by up to 7.1%. In highly competitive industries, this can translate into a significant competitive advantage.