Industries at the heart of the global economy are at a pivotal moment, with disruptions to the global supply chain, labor shortages and increased pressure on sustainability. Good UX can help companies increase efficiencies, provide management insight and offer operational flexibility & sustainability.
Manufacturing and Logistics are becoming increasingly digitized where artificial intelligence, robotics and big data can provide a competitive edge. However, human interaction continues to play an important role where good UX is a vital aspect for both operators and management.
Small improvements with regard to time to task and/or effective task completion can have significant impacts on the bottom line. In the context of manufacturing, software interfaces must consider the physical environment in which operators work. Touchscreens and automated systems that are easy to operate can significantly improve efficiency & productivity while also reducing errors & work-related injuries. In logistics, UX is critical in ensuring that the movement of goods from one location to another is smooth and efficient. Well-designed systems that are easy to use reduces errors, increases accuracy, and improves overall speed.
Developing standardized, user-centered processes within a modular framework supports both operational and workforce flexibility. Change is a constant that needs to be supported, where production lines and process need to be able to adapt quickly with minimal interruption and/or risk. The speed in which new product lines can be implemented can have a big impact in speed to market, utilizing predefined components can significantly shorten implementation timeframes. Well considered modular systems also leverage ongoing improvements across the organization whilst not undermining the specific contexts of any given operation or task. Most importantly, user centered, modularized systems allow your workforce move fluidly across functions, lines and tasks with minimum training and maximizing organizational efficiencies.
Reduced Training & Increased Employee Satisfication
Intuitive systems enable staff to get up and running quickly, facilitating a flexible workforce and ensuring maximum return on training investment. Onboarding new staff quickly also enables highly skilled operators to focus on more specialized tasks, creating an overall effective and productive workforce. Poorly designed systems can often demoralize staff and negatively impact retention. Whereas, well designed systems reduce frustration & burnout, retains critical skills and helps improve employee satisfaction. Integrating contextual support on UI’s can also provide continuous assistance, particularly regarding irregular/edge-case scenarios, empowering your workforce and enabling progression.
Management oversight tools empower line managers and process engineers to respond to issues quickly and effectively. They continuously need to monitor key metrics and KPI’s and identify where improvements can be made. Again, understanding end-user needs is important. Research with line managers and process engineers will identify typical needs and use cases. Again, flexible, modular solutions allow individuals to customize for their specific requirements.
UX Means Business
Creating and demonstrating effectiveness and efficiencies in manufacturing processes can have significant business impacts, whether your organization produces their own products or provides manufacturing services to product companies. Efficiencies save money, effectiveness improves product/service quality, and employee satisfaction increases retention and flexibility. UX plays a significant role in all of these goals including:
- Improved time to task and general operational efficiency.
- Decreased training time, documentation, and support leading to workforce flexibility.
- Increased employee satisfaction (reduced frustration and job-related fatigue).
- Reduced errors and work-related injuries.
- Increased line visibility for management and rapid response to issues identified.
- Flexible and modular solutions support rapid new process integration (NPI) and updates to lines, knowledge retention and cross pollination across lines, and the ability to compare performance across lines and terminals
Frontend.com Manufacturing & Logistics
Our multi-disciplinary manufacturing & logistics design team is based in our studio in Dublin, Ireland. Unlike most design consultancies, our research is conducted by professional researchers while our design team have two decades of experience in complex systems, software programmes, usability, psychology, data visualisation, computer science and business process improvement. We engage with all stakeholders, understanding their environments and creating solutions that work at every touchpoint. Contact us to collaborate on your upcoming software project.