Everywhere you look you see people and their wearables. People tracking calories, activities, movements, etc. I stumbled upon an article by Jeff Elliott titled "Miniaturizing Smart Wearables and Activity Tracking" in US TECH magazine, of which I am currently subscribed. The article is a great primer on the inner workings of wearables and touches on their future. But with the technology growing, I couldn't help but think, how can the wearable industry help optimize manufacturing?
Turns out, I'm not as bright as I thought. With a little digging, I came across a 2018 article "Three Wearables for your Factory". I was shocked to learn that an estimated 600 Million wearable devices will be in circulation in the next year. The article explains how wearable technology is being used for PPE, Posture detection and even hazardous areas. All very cool.
Personally I love it, but I still have to ask the question. What else can we do? Is anyone else tired of operators having to scan in and out of jobs? Or manually tracking productivity? I am eager to see this technology grow. Operations managers in real time could be viewing how their labor resources are deployed. What type of movement is going on around the shop? Am I losing efficiency or hitting my targets? Heck, I could even see throughput measurements. Just strap a wearable device right to a pallet or WIP item and see how long it takes (and the path it takes) to get through your factory. Combined with today's high powered data crunching software, I think wearable technology can be a great asset to Operations managers in a manufacturing setting, if used correctly. Let's see how the technology plays our. Maybe there's already using this method, I'd love to learn more.