April 8, 2019
Digital Signage Strategy

Digital Signage for Manufacturing & Safety Communications

Production Display Boards and Digital Signage for Manufacturing

Manufacturing employees often work long hours, on their feet, doing the same tasks hundreds of times over. Their accomplishments are number based, which is often a far cry for the amount of effort put into a given day.

The manufacturing industry accounts for 12.84 jobs in the United States. Of that workforce, two of the top manufacturing companies reported an annual turnover rate of 20%.

There is hope: 40% of companies have a lower turnover rate when they have higher levels of employee engagement. Yet, engagement starts with communication, and communication is where most manufacturing sites fall short.

Why Do Traditional Communication Tactics Fail in the Manufacturing Environment?

For starters, most manufacturing employees are unable to carry around a phone on their person while working. They aren’t able to access email, and their environment is too loud for pa systems / intercom announcements.

The majority of employees are temporary or contracted, and walk out of the job without learning more than their specific assignment.

Shift managers are preoccupied with machinery and deadlines. They don’t need to be responsible for internal communications, as well. The employees rely on flyers in the break room and the rare team-meeting to stay informed.

Manufacturing Information Displays Improve Company Culture

As we touched on earlier, most manufacturing employees are temporarily contracted and receive minimal company communications. These workers have a hard time becoming emotionally invested in their position because they aren’t “part of the team.”  

Seeing news update or social media posts can add a touch of normalcy to the job. Employees who feel like they are “in the know” tend to have higher morale. And, a sense of community in the workplace leads to less turnover and higher productivity.

How Does Manufacturing Benefit from Digital Signage?

Running a business in the manufacturing industry comes with intense responsibility. From maintaining machinery and scheduling contractors to supervising safety protocols each shift; all operations rely on the managers. It’s no wonder that after enough time passes, management can become complacent.

Without a structured list of assessments, plans, and directions- procedures can become neglected and mishaps occur. To help remedy this, manufacturing companies are implementing Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) to manage their maintenance duties.

Filing cabinets full of paper records are no longer an efficient means of production. These days, tracking work orders, housing vendor information, and storing invoices is all done digitally.

Top manufacturing companies have recognized the benefits of CMMS solutions like safer storage and accurate information integrations. Any of this information can be pushed seamlessly to a digital sign.

The manufacturing industry has little room for complacency. Misinformed management, heavy machinery, and newly contracted workers are a recipe for disaster. By implementing a CMMS solution through digital signage, the manufacturing floor can stay informed and complacent.

Managers can set up the software to integrate with any assets of their daily tasks. Then the information can be fed to them while they help out on the floor.

Take the simple use case of installing digital production displays around the facility. By streamlining communications, project managers save the time they would have spent gathering and sharing information.

5 Reasons to Use Digital Signage in Manufacturing Facilities

The manufacturing industry can greatly benefit from digital signage. Being a visually based, self-updating communications medium, employees are updated for their shift as soon as they enter the site.

Campaigns incorporate informational videos, company announcements, and safety alerts. Say goodbye to the bulletin board in the break room. Welcome digital signage as a step in the right direction towards a happier, safer working environment.

It’s not just to display production information. The options for Digital Signage are endless, here five of the standard uses for digital signage users in the manufacturing realm:

1.) Engage Employees Digitally

Signage isn’t just used to tell employees about cake in the break room. Users can post any company announcements that odd-shift workers might have missed at the weekly meeting.

If special guests are visiting, incorporate a warm welcome into your campaign. Congratulate employees of the month and other company awardees. Promote upcoming events or holiday parties.

Post any changes or updated information regarding employee benefits. Whatever was once worth of a spot on the bulletin board, is now prime content for your digital signage.

2.) Transmit Internal Communications

Since most employees do not have access to personal computers during their shift, regular communications are overlooked. Use your digital signage to post the cafeteria menu for the day or any upcoming lunch/dinner specials.

Meeting alerts can be integrated from your company calendar. Engineering and technical information that is of importance to a specific shift can be scheduled for content delivery at that time. Also, simple motivational messages or company policies can play throughout the day.

3.) Display Real-Time Data for Lean Production

The beauty of digital signage technology its ability to integrate with databases that track each step of the manufacturing process. This information is automated to the signs to keep everyone updated.

If you have a data source, your digital signage software should be able to support the integration. Production metrics, inventory management, product quality reports, and business performance can be updated in real time and automated on the screens.

4.) Post Site Information and Department Guides

In most lobbies, you’ll find a static directory with floor numbers and titles of the entities found there. When new locations come about, new title slots need to be made. During that time, people get lost and confused.

With digital signage, not only do the directories update within a few clicks, but way-finding is displayed on a 3D map. No need to have new employees wandering around the facility, wasting time. Instead, they can use digital signage technology to find their desired route.

Furthermore, signage set up in working stations can include informational manuals, training videos, employee handbooks, and product information.

5.) Improve Safety Awareness with Emergency Alerts

Manufacturing employees often deal with loud, heavy machinery. When an obstruction occurs in the workflow, they need to know as soon as possible. Digital signage is an effective way to improve safety, communicate bottlenecks, and point out critical issues on the production line.

For less dramatic safety communications, campaigns can incorporate health and safety tips. Post videos for how to use wash-stations and the ‘‘Days Without Accident’ counter / the Kaizen Safety Cross.

Signage Cuts Costs for Manufacturing Sites

Digital signage is not free, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to drain the company budget for a video wall / LED display. Digital signage screens and players are a one time purchase. The software investment is the important part.

Digital media software companies offer yearly subscriptions to a cloud-based content management system (CMS). This keeps refreshed data on the digital displays by connecting through a secure digital signage network.

Users find that the signage pays for itself after taking into consideration the time, paper, and energy saved by the devices.  Not to mention the increase in productivity that stems directly from open communication with staff.

Angiodynamics is the perfect case study for this. Their manufacturing metric displays increased employee productivity and improved retention rates, thanks to the positive morale brought on by the screens.

Safety and Security in Manufacturing Facilities

Let’s first talk security. We know that for IT professionals, it’s all about risk assessment. Safety is everything, and to compromise it in any way is simply a non-starter. We’ve created and perfected processes that ensure our digital signage puts each business at no risk for digital malpractice.

“We’re going to stay around the risk assessment quadrant -- things like hardware, software, security,” Industry Weapon’s CEO, Dave Wible, said. “Questions that person needs to answer for their company in order to make sure they’re making the right decisions for their platform.”

From IT, we move on to the corporate communications team and/or the production floor. “I love talking about the key performance of the organization on the production floor,” Dave continued.

“We think about the reports that the managers like to see … You get the production floor metrics in front of the person on the floor looking at them, so they can see those numbers go up or down. That’s exciting, when you can bring gamification to manufacturing.”

In other words, “‘I can have fun showing that I’m really great at my craft.’ That’s compelling. That’s an interesting conversation to have with manufacturing clients.

Bottom Line: If You Want Long Term Manufacturing Workers You Need Long Term Engagement Solutions

Our Business Impact Workshop with Angiodynamics explains this really well. The company’s Production Manager, Lucas Sauer-Jones, worked with their IT service desk lead, Larry Dellinger, to figure out how to make metrics  for employees.

That’s when it hit him: “Put them up on a screen. Put the metrics up there,” he recalled as he discussed the company’s work with Industry Weapon. And while it was important to showcase those metrics, a dull screen of blinking numbers isn’t going to keep employees engaged while they work every day.

Because our team is stacked with experts in content creation, we’re equipped to build and deliver fresh content day after day that seamlessly folds in with custom Angiodynamics' information.

These efforts don’t just improve employee productivity -- they also give morale a jump-start. “They start talking, they’re encouraged to look at the next one,” Lucas said. “It’s not just about the numbers. It’s also about the company. It’s about the community.”

What’s the secret of managing labor in a manufacturing firm? Real-time, engaging visual communication. Data that shows the measures of efficiency, the goals that have or need to be reached, and the gratitude the company has for their workers.