Tag: safety

The Power of Listening to Your Frontline Workers: A Recap of My Podcast with Dan Johnston

I’m excited to share a new episode of the Digital Supply Chain podcast, featuring Dan Johnston, CEO of WorkStep, a platform that helps companies improve their supply chain workforce engagement.

In this episode, Dan and I delve into the challenges of supply chain workforce engagement, and the impact it has on a company’s bottom line. With turnover rates on the rise, companies are facing increasing difficulties in retaining and engaging their frontline workers. This not only affects productivity and safety, but also profitability.

However, Dan believes that there is a double bottom line opportunity in this challenge, as companies that invest in improving their supply chain workforce engagement can not only save millions of dollars, but also positively impact the lives of thousands of frontline workers.

We discussed the results of a case study with Animal Supply Company, a smaller logistics firm that saw a decrease in annualized turnover rates of 50% after implementing the WorkStep software. Dan also shared his insights on the current trends in the space, and how companies can use technology to improve their supply chain workforce engagement.

One of the key takeaways from the episode is that companies have the power to positively impact the lives of their frontline workers, and that doing so is not just good for the bottom line, but also for the human bottom line. Dan believes that companies that listen to the voice of their associates, engage with them, and take the actions that could be most impactful for them, will ultimately be the most successful in the long run.

As WorkStep is a series B company with over a hundred large customers, and millions of frontline workers, Dan shares his vision for the future of the platform and how it will help companies not only decrease turnover, but also make their supply chain a better place to work.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did, and I encourage you to listen to it in full to learn more about the challenges and opportunities of supply chain workforce engagement. You can visit workstep.com or email Dan directly at dan@workstep.com for more information.

Don’t forget to follow the Digital Supply Chain podcast for more insights and discussions on the latest trends and developments in the world of supply chain. Thank you for your support!

Using the Internet of Things to keep people safe

At the 2014 SAP TechEd && d-code event in Las Vegas, I spoke to Dr Severin Kezeu of SK Solutions. His company has developed an Internet of Things based safety technology which has been deployed on building sites throughout the world.

What it does is to send in realtime, the positions of all vehicles, and workers on site, so that in the case a potential collision is detected, action can be taken to avert the collision, thereby saving expensive equipment, and more importantly, keeping people safe.

Sustainability, social media and big data

The term Big Data is becoming the buzz word du jour in IT these days popping up everywhere, but with good reason – more and more data is being collected, curated and analysed today, than ever before.

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter announced last week that Twitter is now publishing 500 million tweets per day. Not alone is Twitter publishing them though, it is organising them and storing them in perpetuity. That’s a lot of storage, and 500 million tweets per day (and rising) is big data, no doubt.

And Facebook similarly announced that 2.5 billion content items are shared per day on its platform, and it records 2.7 billion Likes per day. Now that’s big data.

But for really big data, it is hard to beat the fact that CERN’s Large Hadron Collider creates 1 petabyte of information every second!

And this has what to do with Sustainability, I hear you ask.

Well, it is all about the information you can extract from that data – and there are some fascinating use cases starting to emerge.

A study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene found that Twitter was as accurate as official sources in tracking the cholera epidemic in Haiti in the wake of the deadly earthquake there. The big difference between Twitter as a predictor of this epidemic and the official sources is that Twitter was 2 weeks faster at predicting it. There’s a lot of good that can be done in crisis situations with a two week head start.

Another fascinating use case I came across is using social media as an early predictor of faults in automobiles. A social media monitoring tool developed by Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business can provide car makers with an efficient way to discover and classify vehicle defects. Again, although at early stages of development yet, it shows promising results, and anything which can improve the safety of automobiles can have a very large impact (no pun!).

GE's Grid IQ Insight social media monitoring tool

GE have come up with another fascinating way to mine big data for good. Their Grid IQ Insight tool, slated for release next year, can mine social media for mentions of electrical outages. When those posts are geotagged (as many social media posts now are), utilities using Grid IQ Insight can get an early notification of an outage in its area. Clusters of mentions can help with confirmation and localisation. Photos or videos added of trees down, or (as in this photo) of a fire in a substation can help the utility decide which personnel and equipment to add to the truckroll to repair the fault. Speeding up the repair process and getting customers back on a working electricity grid once again can be critical in an age where so many of our devices rely on electricity to operate.

Finally, many companies are now using products like Radian6 (now re-branded as Salesforce Marketing Cloud) to actively monitor social media for mentions of their brand, so they can respond in a timely manner. Gatorade in the video above is one good example. So too are Dell. Dell have a Social Media Listening Command Centre which is staffed by 70 employees who listen for and respond to mentions of Dell products 24 hours a day in 11 languages (English, plus Japanese, Chinese, Portugese, Spanish, French, German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, and Korean). The sustainability angle of this story is that Dell took their learnings from setting up this command centre and used them to help the American Red Cross set up a similar command centre. Dell also contributed funding and equipment to help get his off the ground.

No doubt the Command Centre is proving itself invaluable to the American Red Cross this week mining big data to help people in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

(Cross-posted @ GreenMonk: the blog)