The manufacturing industry is undergoing a well-documented skills shortage. At the same time, product complexity and customer demand are rising. Organizations experience extreme pressure to stay competitive by getting even more productivity out of their frontline workers. Heavier workloads aren't a practical option due to the fact that product quality and worker safety would be compromised. Additionally, the burden on employees would cause stress - especially on senior experts who could potentially be driven to retirement.

As a result of this, many organizations are turning to technologies like augmented reality (AR). AR has the ability to greatly increase the effectiveness of workers. There are three applications of AR that help companies find beneficial gains in frontline worker productivity.

Augmented work instructions

Higher workforce turnover rates lead to a larger number of inexperienced or temporary workers. New employees require training and guidance, especially employees executing complicated tasks or procedures. Augmented reality helps new employees become effective almost immediately by allowing pre-authored, step-by-step instructions to be overlayed into a real-world environment.

Using AR authoring solutions, such as Vuforia Studio, subject matter experts with backgrounds in process engineering, documentation, training, product development, or IT can use their deep institutional knowledge, along with existing CAD and IoT data, to create and refine detailed, product-specific content.

Real-time remote assistance

AR-enhanced documentation and guidance can be extremely effective at maximizing worker productivity. If frontline workers don't have access to an existing set of AR-based instructions to guide them through processes, excess amounts of time can be spent on answering questions and finding answers. Collaborative AR solutions, like Vuforia Chalk, provide real-time assistance from remote experts to frontline workers. Through a shared-view experience, frontline workers are provided with annotated work instructions and convenient support. This allows you to easily maintain and scale the institutional expertise.

Expert procedural guidance

Many companies can benefit from AR experiences that don’t require additional CAD data, pre-existing assets, or development efforts. Oftentimes, frontline workers just need to be able to retrace certain steps to complete a task. However, they don’t have enough knowledge or experience to do so yet. New AR solutions, such as Vuforia Expert Capture, allow experienced workers to record hands-free work instructions using voice commands, gestures, and location-based steps. This can show inexperienced or new workers what to do and exactly how to do it, which helps companies improve quality, safety, and overall workforce productivity.