Voice of the People

As with many of you I am sure social media has become part of everyday life, in many cases replacing alternative communication methods. When the recent Super Storm Sandy hit the East Coast, I was working in Chicago, and relied on social media to both update me on the progress of the storm as well as keeping in contact with my family. Even when I could not get hold of my family, the social community in Virginia helped me understand the overall impact.

Similarly, when I make purchases from online web stores I use social media rankings of the products to help me decide the best option, leveraging the “voice of the people” to enable a better decision for me.

So, why have we not yet taken full advantage of the voice of the people on the shop floor to enable better decision making? Today, many companies I visit have an existing system in the form of machine logs, white boards and worksheets, but its multiple sources with no easy way to gain a consolidated “voice” to drive production improvements. So I was very excited to find out a global CPG company was starting to leverage the Proficy Workflow solution to capture operator comments from multiple locations into a single system to provide one view of their workforce community. They then use this at the beginning of the shift to have a consolidated view of what’s happened, and what should be the focus for the next shift. Their goal is to be able to share this application across multiple plants to provide the ability to share common problems and solutions across there group. At this point they still prefer to export a lot of the data to Excel for analysis but I still see this as step in the right direction towards true online collaboration driving to increase the “volume” of the voice of the people.

What are you seeing in your experiences on the shop floor around social media interaction, types of tools that are being adopted, etc.?

What do you feel are the biggest hurdles to accelerating adoption: cost, lack of appreciation of the value?

Barry Lynch

Barry, Global Marketing Director – Automation Hardware at GE's Automation & Controls business, passionately believes that connected machines, mobile data analytics and workforce enablement don’t have to be hurdles in business today. He leads the strategic direction of the company’s automation and information systems programs to help customers apply the power of the Industrial Internet to their businesses. By connecting machines, data, insights and people, our technology solutions deliver critical insight for greater operational efficiency, effectiveness and optimization. Learn more about how Barry works at GE on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter at @BarryLynchGE.

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