In the midst of one of the most disruptive events of the last century, almost every business is scrambling to reinvent how they operate. The need for more stringent safety protocols, contact tracing, and testing procedures to protect employees and keep the doors open have pushed many back to the drawing board in how they operate. 

One of the most substantial issues being dealt with is how to let people into a facility and who to keep out. Many companies are limiting visitors – even those who provide vital services – and quarantine procedures are needed if someone shows symptoms or is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Technology is needed so that managers, contractors, and equipment experts can provide remote guidance and support to employees on the frontline without increasing the risk of transmission. Let’s take a close look at what this entails and how the problem is being addressed in many organizations. 

Support Staff Cannot Provide On-Site Functions

One of the most disruptive changes organizations currently face is the closing of international borders, and in many cases travel from and to states with high rates of infection, like New York, Florida, California, and Texas. Due to the extraordinarily high infection numbers in the United States, Europe continues to block all travel from US citizens and have imposed restrictions and quarantine requirements on anyone in Europe traveling to the US. Other borders, even including the US border with Canada may remain closed longer than expected as well. 

Operations support staff in equipment maintenance, machine controls, process audits, and compliance audits are unable to physically travel overseas, and cannot perform on-site or face-to-face functions at factories. This can have a direct impact on operations continuity, safety, and quality.

To address, companies are looking to guide front line staff with a combination of digital checklists and training materials that help to audit and correction situations remotely. Off-site experts can both provide guidance and evaluate performance remotely from a digital tool that captures these efforts. 

In many cases, these off-site experts are the only ones qualified and certified to perform certain tasks and they travel frequently to complete these functions. Remote guidance and verification for the outbreak amidst travel bans that have eliminated travel across international and some state borders will be a persistent challenge for months to come as the US works to bring down infection rates. 

Supervisors and Managers are Quarantined Due to Illness

Even in states with relatively low transmission rates and in companies with robust procedures in place, it’s possible for individuals to get sick in isolated cases. If those individuals are managers or supervisors, it can create disruptions for the front line. 

Even when the worst of the illness passes, COVID-19 symptoms can persist in some cases for weeks or even months. This can mean an extended period of time off the floor. When a supervisor or manager gets sick, you lose access to vital experience and knowledge that cannot be easily replaced. It’s vital that, as soon as they are at least partially recovered, they can easily communicate with other supervisors and frontline workers to keep everything operational. 

Digital Andon Cord technology and automation of key procedures are vital to keeping workers and supervisors connected in these situations. 

Smart Work Station is designed to support remote supervision by digitizing communication and documentation for your frontline workers. Digital Andon Cord keeps every member of your team connected at all times and allows employees to ask questions, gain insights from other teams or supervisors, and continue operating despite major disruptions. 

Learn more about these frontline challenges and five others that many organizations are working to address in the post-COVID “new normal” we’re all adjusting to. Download our eBook, “7 Frontline Challenges from the Outbreak and How Companies Are Addressing Them”. 

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