COVID-19

Post-pandemic, employee wellness powered by predictive analytics

Who else is tired of talking about COVID-19?

By Mohamed (Mo) Abuali March 4, 2021
Courtesy: IoTco

 

Key Takeaways

  • Creating smarter, safer access to the manufacturing operation, and enabling plants to focus on employee wellness and business continuity.
  • In addition to machine uptime, manufacturers are also looking for “employee uptime” and considering analytics to support healthy employees, increased productivity, reduced sick days, and cost.
  • Many plants have embraced technology to automate production of goods as well as AI technologies for their asset health and OEE improvements. Using data analytics and “Wellness AI” to evaluate employee health and wellbeing is the next step in operational efficiency.

What if we reframe the COVID conversation to focus on what it’s really all about? Creating smarter, safer access to manufacturing operations, and enabling plants to focus on employee wellness and business continuity.

Regardless of whether we’re talking exotic variants or the common cold, the bottom line is plant management and employees alike want healthy employees that feel good about themselves.

While the pandemic got the conversation going, manufacturers face considerable workforce development challenges and are looking to collect better data. The application of analytics to that data and analytics can reduce rising healthcare costs and improve employee wellness.

Balancing health, infections and revenue

Manufacturers want the cleanest, safest and healthiest environment possible. Plant management teams want policies and protocols that lead to good outcomes. Handwashing stations and hand sanitizers are all very well, but how then can we positively impact plant safety and, at the same time, give a boost to operations productivity and continuity of operations. Besides machine uptime, how do manufacturers  impact “employee uptime”?

Consider the following:

  • Analytics to ensure healthy employees enter the plant
  • Data for a 360 view of plant/employee health
  • Mitigation of insurance and sanitation costs
  • Scalability to all plant locations for enterprise-wide wellness.

With the Internet of Things (IoT) for data gathering and growing availability of analytics platforms, organizations have options to engage with employees for improved health and productivity, not to mention reduced sick days and other costs.

AI for wellness

What will be different about a day at the manufacturing plant once predictive analytics for employee wellness is implemented?

Arriving employees greeted at an interactive kiosk are asked to take a survey about any immediate health issues and a quick vitals check. Employees enter the plant after clearing both checks. If an employee’s answers fall outside pre-determined parameters for temperature or other health parameters access may be denied, and the employee is directed to the plant health resource. This is the extent of impact to plant employees. Plant leadership can be confident employees entering the plant each day are healthy.

Data gathered on employees is sent to a private, secure cloud for analysis and tracking, with compliance to HIPPA and GDPR regulations. From there, the plant decides the metrics important to track and gain insights. Plant administrators can monitor high-risk zones, and number of safe and denied entries. Additional options for implementation include smart cameras throughout the plant that apply image-based AI techniques to send violation alerts if employees are not wearing masks or if there are large gatherings in potential hotspots like the cafeteria or washrooms.

Additionally, wearable technology gives benefits managers the ability to gather and apply data to healthcare models in new and innovative ways. Individuals can see how their activity compares to others with similar profiles. The automatic, continuous and accurate log of activity and biometrics motivates participants to achieve their health goals.

The application of biometric data and predictive analytics in population health management can manifest health improvements in many areas including increased morale and productivity, as well as early and proactive interventions if health issues arise.

Predictive analytics and applying AI for employee wellness provides a complete 360-degree view of all locations and the ability to drill down into individual plant locations. This is important because each plant may have unique metrics that are needed to determine overall safety. For example, if one plant has a higher average age of employee with greater chronic illness, this plant may need to be more cautious when an employee becomes ill so as not to spread illness to other high-risk employees. It is crucial to use analytics to track overall risk per employee or per location.

Predictive analytics and applying AI for employee wellness provides a complete 360-degree view of all locations and the ability to drill down into individual plant locations. Courtesy: IoTco

Predictive analytics and applying AI for employee wellness provides a complete 360-degree view of all locations and the ability to drill down into individual plant locations. Courtesy: IoTco

Delivering outcomes

Perhaps the biggest takeaway for the manufacturing industry in 2020, is that businesses who rely on their employees’ ability to safely be on-premise to work must find new ways to manage operations.  Many plants have embraced technology to automate production of goods as well as AI technologies for their asset health and OEE improvements. Using data analytics and “Wellness A.I.” to evaluate employee health and wellbeing is the next step in operational efficiency. After all, aren’t your employees your most valuable asset? Investing in the overall wellness of the manufacturing plant team will undoubtedly directly impact the ability to sustain operations and revenue.

The proactive management of employee health provides health and cost saving benefits to the manufacturing HR and EHS organizations. Predictive analytics and wearable devices, combined with smarter, safer access to manufacturing plants, are poised to transform factory health and safety management.

Dr. Mo Abuali is the CEO and managing partner at IoTco, a CFE Media content partner.


Mohamed (Mo) Abuali
Author Bio: Dr. Mo Abuali is the CEO and Managing Partner at IoTco, a CFE Media content partner. He is an Engineering Leader Under 40 winner.