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Monitoring of company processes using a smartwatch? of company processes using a smartwatch?<p>​According to <em>Minnesota Reformer</em>, two large USA meat-processing companies – Tyson Foods and JBS – invested into a smartwatch app that provides real-time monitoring of production processing. </p><p>The aim of this technology is to increase the company’s efficiency while also ensuring the safety of employees. The risk of injury in the meat-processing industry is very high. Repetitive, fast and strenuous work makes meat processing plants some of the most dangerous workplaces. The U.S. Department of Labor has conducted repeated investigations of safety incidents in the industry in recent years. <br></p><p>The app is compatible with Samsung Watch 4, which continuously collects data from the production process during the work shift using its sensors – specifically the force, rotation, speed and direction of the worker's hand movement. This data is then interpreted by software with elements of artificial intelligence that determines whether the movements are safe and alerts workers if they exceed the safety limits for force or speed. It converts the acquired data into metrics displayed on the dashboard. This includes not only safety metrics, but also active productivity scores.<br></p><p><strong>What are the advantages for the company?</strong><br></p><p>Using a smartwatch as a tool to monitor manufacturing processes can bring a number of benefits.</p><p>The most important of these is an <strong>increase of productivity</strong>. Thanks to the monitoring of movement and performance of activities, it is possible to identify less productive work procedures and propose measures to increase the performance of individual activities. <br></p><p>Another advantage of using a smartwatch is <strong>increased employee safety</strong>. Smartwatch sensors can predict potential safety risks at the workplace. The watch is equipped with RTLS (real-time location system) technology, which allows the worker to easily call for assistance or help if necessary.<br></p><p>Using data on the current progress of individual activities in the production process, the software can also provide workers with immediate feedback to help them significantly facilitate their work or improve their performance.<br></p><p>The use of a smartwatch during an activity also makes it possible to easily collect anonymous data about movement around the company premises, which can be further analyzed and used to <strong>optimize work processes and use of resources</strong>. This information helps companies <strong>reduce costs and increase profitability</strong> while making the <strong>work of employees easier</strong>. In addition, optimizing work procedures from the point of view of their ergonomics helps <strong>prevent long-term health problems</strong>.<br></p><p>Last but not least, smartwatches can also help employers <strong>improve </strong><strong><strong>comm</strong>unication with employees</strong>. Thanks to the HMI (Human Machine Interface) technology, employees can better interact with different systems and machines in real time and easily adapt to different work tasks. <br></p><p>Overall, the use of smartwatches can help companies optimize workflows, reduce downtime, and thereby increase production process productivity and improve worker safety. From a marketing perspective, this can be a strong selling point for companies trying to improve their bottom line and differentiate themselves in a crowded market. The feedback from unions has shown (despite initial concerns) that workers see this innovation as a real benefit to their jobs.<br></p><p><strong>Protection of workers' privacy</strong><br></p><p>Privacy concerns of the employees are an important consideration when implementing any new monitoring system at the workplace. At Cleverlance, we also deal with the implementation of similar solutions using smartwatches. This is why we asked <strong>Mikuláš Müller</strong>, the head of the CleverIndustry unit which supplies systems for the digitization of industry and logistics, about how this issue is handled at Cleverlance:<br></p><p><em>"In the case of a smartwatch application that monitors activities in the production process, it is important to emphasize that we respect the GDPR and ensure the secure processing of personal data. All data is encrypted and stored on secure servers, where it is accessible only to authorized persons. </em><br></p><p><em>Each employee uses a different watch each time. Before each shift, employees randomly and anonymously select a watch from the shelf, so it is impossible to determine exactly which particular employee is or was in which place at a certain time. This should make employees feel safe and assure them that their privacy is not at risk. </em><br></p><p><em>It is also important to explain to the employees all aspects of the functioning of this system, and to convince them that the smartwatch will help them make their work easier and will not threaten their rights and privacy"</em>, emphasizes Mikuláš Müller.​<br></p>



Digitalization of roll containers using IoT sensors – a solution for logistics problems in the e-commerce era of roll containers using IoT sensors – a solution for logistics problems in the e-commerce era<p>​​​​​​​With the growth of e-commerce and changes in consumer behavior, efficient delivery of packages is more difficult than ever. As a result of the inefficiency of logistics processes, many carriers are having problems covering the ever-increasing number of shipments. An insufficient overview of the use and location of roll containers causes unnecessary complications and inefficiencies preventing their optimal use. The intensity of transport and costs due to the unused capacity of the transport space are increasing; these lead to negative environmental impacts and delayed deadlines for the delivery of shipments. Dissatisfied customers then loudly demand their undelivered shipments!<br></p><p>All these problems can be solved by tracking roll containers using Bluetooth. A good example is the Dutch postal service, which recently announced the digitization of 250,000 shipping roll cages using sensors from The postal service delivers around 1.1 million parcels and 8.1 million letters across the Benelux every day! In 2020, it delivered a record 337 million shipments during the coronavirus pandemic, which was almost 20% more than in 2019.</p><p>The technology chosen by the Dutch postal service to digitize its logistics process and track rolling cages containing parcels has brought many benefits – and these can also be used in a number of other industries.​<br></p><h3>Overview of the use of roll containers</h3><p>Tracking using IoT sensors allows the Dutch postal service to gain better insight into how the roll containers are being used. The sensors provide information about who is currently using the containers, how often they use them, and how many are currently available. Thanks to accurate monitoring, the postal service can identify unused or empty trolleys and thus minimize costs in the entire supply chain.​<br></p><h3>Optimization </h3><p>Detailed monitoring using Bluetooth sensors allows the postal service to position the trolleys so that they are used as efficiently as possible. It turned out that while in some shipping depots the trolleys are partially unused, in others they have been able to significantly increase the efficiency of transportation by adding more trolleys.​<br></p><h3>Identifying bottlenecks and problems in the logistics chain</h3><p>If there is a shortage of trolleys in one place, or if parcels are piling up somewhere, the postal service might not be able to process parcels. Thanks to Bluetooth sensors tracking the position of roll containers, the Dutch postal service can anticipate problems and move staff or equipment in time to resolve the situation. This simple step solves problems even before they occur.​<br></p><h3>Localization of lost shipments</h3><p>The loss of a shipment or an entire roll container is a serious problem for any shipping service. Thanks to the sensors, the postal service can easily and quickly locate the trolleys without ever losing track of any of them. The sensors provide information about which roll container with a so-called roll cage the shipment was loaded on, and in which car or transshipment point the container is located. If the postal service needs to move a shipment to a correct location, it is easy to find out where exactly it is located.​<br></p><h3>Real-time information about roll container capacity</h3><p>Thanks to the digitization of logistics using tracking sensors, the Dutch postal service has an overview of the current capacity of individual roll containers – whether the cage is fully loaded or whether there is free space in it. A detailed overview of the container location, its contents and movements including any delays, makes it possible to increase the efficiency of processes and improve customer service.​<br></p><h3>Cost reductions</h3><p>Tracking the roll cages and their contents allows the identification of parts of the logistics chain where costs can be reduced. For example, sending fully loaded cages instead of half-empty ones, or making sure these units take the most direct route to their destination. ​<br></p><h3>Reducing the environmental footprint</h3><p>The quick identification of places where the containers can be best used not only brings greater cost efficiency, but also reduces the negative impact on the environment thanks to a smaller amount of unused space during transport.​<br></p><p>The technology for tracking roll containers using IoT sensors selected by the Dutch postal service can be a key solution for handling the ever-increasing volume of transported shipments. This technology makes it possible to get a better overview of the use of roll containers and minimize the cost of replacing equipment. Thanks to their monitoring, the containers can be placed so that they are used as efficiently as possible and bottlenecks in the logistics chain can be predicted. The technology helps solve problems before they arise and minimizes negative impacts on the environment. Companies and organizations in other industries can also take advantage of this technology to optimize their logistics processes and minimize costs.​​​<br></p>



How management buy-in affects Agile transformation management buy-in affects Agile transformation<p>​​​​Agile transformation can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to improve efficiency, productivity, and flexibility. However, the success of an agile transformation is often tied to management buy-in. As I've written in my <a href="/en/blog/Pages/agile-tranformation-derail.aspx" target="_blank">previous post​</a>, in many cases, the motivation for an agile transformation comes from believing that the current organizational structure is misaligned and that agile will be a cure-all solution. Management may also have unrealistic expectations of the transformation process.​<br></p><p>In reality, management must play an active role in the transformation process, working collaboratively with teams to identify and solve problems. This requires a willingness to hear bad news, make difficult decisions, and address structural and systematic issues that may be inhibiting agility, such as overly complex organizational hierarchies, rigid technologies, and inflexible approval processes. Without this buy-in and active participation, agile transformations can become nothing more than a superficial change with little real impact on efficiency or productivity.​<br></p><h3>Definition of management and leadership</h3><p>There are multiple definitions of what management actually is. Let me cite the two classical ones:</p><p>Harold Koontz: Management is an art of getting things done through and with the people in formally organized groups. It is an art of creating an environment in which people can perform and individuals and can co-operate towards attainment of group goals.<br></p><p>F.W. Taylor: Management is an art of knowing what to do, when to do and see that it is done in the best and cheapest way.<br></p><p>So basically, when it comes to transitioning to an agile approach, there are two key takeaways managers need to keep in mind: first, they're responsible for creating an environment where people can be productive, and second, they need to figure out what to do when others are uncertain.<br></p><p>In addition, it is worth mentioning that although there is an overlap between the skills and qualities of a manager and a leader, they are not the same. A manager oversees and directs a team or organization to achieve its goals and objectives, while a leader inspires and motivates people to work towards a shared vision or goal. Although it is ideal for a manager to also possess strong leadership skills, it is not always necessary for a manager to be a leader as they can still effectively manage a team without necessarily inspiring or motivating them. However, in many cases, having strong leadership skills can enhance a manager's ability to manage their team effectively.<br></p><p>How does this apply in the context of an agile transformation?<br></p><h3>Top-down approach to agile transition<br></h3><p>From what I've seen, a few key attributes are critical for a successful top-down approach to agile transition. Managers must be willing to hear "bad news" and make active decisions in the business's best interests. The average employee in the company needs to be encouraged by managers to identify obstacles and suggest both workarounds and proper solutions.</p><p>To ensure smooth and effective work, managers must make their visions and expectations clear to team members. Although structural changes may hinder progress, it's important to recognize that some changes take time. A shared vision can motivate team members to find workarounds in the interim, while also fostering the belief that higher-level management is actively working towards a long-term solution.<br></p><p>Having clear orientation, vision, and understanding of context on a higher level can greatly improve motivation, productivity, and the relevance of solutions during an agile transformation. It can lead to more efficient and effective solutions as they are developed with the bigger picture in mind. A sense of direction and a clear vision can be a powerful motivator for people to persevere through challenging times. Like seeing the horizon during turbulent waters, it provides a sense of stability and purpose that can help individuals stay focused and productive. It's the leader's responsibility to ensure such a vision exists and is understood by others.<br></p><h3>Don't take it personally<br></h3><p>Managers who resist hearing strategic-level criticisms can hinder the progress of agile transformation. It's important not to take it personally. The broader the problem, the more difficult it is to resolve. Attempting to fix it carries both risk and reward, which is why the agile transformation was initiated in the first place.</p><p>When managers view criticism or obstacles as a cover for employee incompetence or failures, it can create a lack of trust that hinders effective management. This can lead to a tendency to micromanage and excessively monitor employees, which can ultimately undermine all the transformation efforts. Eventually, a lack of trust can lead employees to keep their ideas to themselves to avoid potential conflicts or arguments with their managers. This can hinder creativity and innovation and create a toxic work environment where open communication and collaboration are discouraged.<br></p><p>It's crucial for managers to actively participate and collaborate with their teams, facilitating problem-solving and decision-making instead of expecting the teams to sort everything out themselves. Some obstacles are outside the control of individual teams and require higher-level interventions or support from the organization.<br></p><h3>Make decisions - that's what leaders are supposed to do<br></h3><p>Decision-making in a business context involves a shared responsibility between managers and lower-level colleagues. Effective managers take responsibility for their decisions, even in the face of uncertainty. They actively seek out the information they need to make informed decisions and recognize that some situations may not have enough information, yet still require a decision. In contrast, some managers may try to shift responsibility elsewhere rather than taking ownership and accepting accountability for their decisions in such situations out of fear of failure. It is essential for managers to understand that managing uncertainty is a critical part of decision-making and to accept this responsibility. Lower-level colleagues play a crucial role in facilitating decisions by providing valid, precise, complete, and most importantly honest information.</p><p>To handle critical decisions, organizations can foster a culture of experimentation and testing or establish a structured approach to collect and analyze data for making informed decisions. By exploring various scenarios of potential outcomes, measuring their impacts, and proactively engaging with such models, organizations can break free from this pattern.<br></p><p>Effective managers approach decision-making with a healthy dose of skepticism, validating and cross-checking data before making any commitments. This also applies to creating plans and commitments during the sales process. It's important to note that the criticism and ideas for improvement from individual teams may not just involve structural and technical aspects but also target plans. A common pitfall is when experts are not involved in the sales and planning process, resulting in unrealistic plans. In such cases, the team should not be held accountable for being unable to adhere to an unrealistic plan. Creating such a plan is a decision that involves risk, which managers are responsible for evaluating, managing, and accepting. Agile transition might painfully expose such naive plans.<br></p><p>Delegating competence and responsibility is an essential aspect of effective management. However, it's important to note that managers should also be willing to accept the consequences of delegation.<br></p><h3>Overcoming fear and lack of trust<br></h3><p>The fear of change can often hinder the agile transformation process, and many managers may be hesitant to make changes due to various fears that are common to any human being. These fears include fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, fear of job security, fear of being exposed as incompetent, fear of losing status or power, fear of conflict or opposition, and fear of the extensive changes required by the agile transformation process. However, effective managers and organizations are able to recognize and manage these fears, while still moving forward with the necessary changes to improve outcomes. It is important not to take these fears personally, but instead to approach them with a solution-focused mindset - because paralysis may be the other option.</p><p>Fear and lack of trust can be significant barriers to organizational success, particularly during a transformation toward an agile culture. Although these feelings are valid and may have justifiable reasons, they can ultimately hinder progress. For an organization to move forward and become more effective, it is essential to foster trust, delegate competencies and responsibilities, and empower employees to make decisions. Most individuals are naturally motivated by changes that save time and effort, and a culture of trust and collaboration can facilitate this motivation toward achieving organizational goals.<br></p><p>By fostering a culture of trust and collaboration, organizations can overcome fears and barriers to agile transformation and empower employees to take actions that save time and effort.​​​​<br></p>

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