Honeywell’s Workforce 360 program is designed to empower workers with insights and advice to make better decisions faster, work more effectively and help increase plant performance. The program is built around employees and defined by business goals.
When it comes to performance optimization, process and technology are only two of the three legs supporting that stool. The third is people—the humans that operate the machinery. “How do we improve the human reliability, so production is safe and production is optimized?” asked Manas Dutta, general manager, Workforce 360, Honeywell Process Solutions, who spoke about Workforce 360 during the 2023 Honeywell Users Group in Orlando, Fla.
“All industries are trying to reduce the cost of production and increase throughput,” explained Dutta, who cited several challenges faced by plants. Workforce churn means the loss of knowledge that was accumulated by employees who are leaving via retirement or attrition. Plants are constantly looking to improve efficiency, so they can do more with less.
Job functions continue to evolve. This requires frequent reskilling or upskilling of workers. “How can we train them on the new ways of doing work?” asked Dutta.
Attracting and retaining top talent has been a challenge at organizations for decades, but the silver tsunami has left an enormous gap of unfilled positions that retiring Baby Boomers once held. The digital transformation that is attractive to new younger candidates has happened in other sectors, but not so much in industrial, explained Dutta. Traditional training methods are ineffective with the new generation of workers. “They don’t like the old ways of learning,” explained Dutta. “They like YouTube, but that is not the industrial way of learning. How can we make the learning more effective?”
Dutta emphasized the ETPA framework for Workforce 360 implementation. ETPA stands for evaluate, train, predict and assist.
Evaluation means gathering the necessary skills through assessment tools. Training involves immersive upskilling of the workforce. Predictive insights are used to plan jobs, which are prepared and executed with on-the-job assistance.
Workforce 360 includes the Highly Augmented Lookahead Operations (HALO) Operator Advisor and Immersive Field Simulator (IFS). HALO provides data analytics to assess operational performance and provide recommended guidance using artificial intelligence. The Immersive Field Simulator uses virtual-reality training that can mimic an exact replica of a plant so field operators can practice their tasks.
Workers can also don intelligent wearable gear and use applications to practice execution of digital procedures, including engagement with remote experts for assistance.
“It can take up to five years for a new hire to become an independent contributor,” explained Dutta. “The proper use of technology can shorten this curve and bring a worker to productivity in six months.”
Some of the Workforce 360 benefits include reduction in classroom training, less on-the-job training, savings on recertification and compliance, reduction in time to competency and mitigation of attrition costs by reducing the training cycle and faster time to competency for new hires, said Dutta.
The efficiency of Workforce 360 extends beyond the workers and into the plant with reductions in plant downtime because of human errors, in turnaround/shutdown/startup times and in overtime costs, he added.