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For employees, having standardized work
instructions at eye level with the touch of
a finger or simple voice command gives
them instant access to a manual, photo
or video that provides instructions for
assembly, installation or wiring. Employ-
ees can also use the voice command
feature to record their own notes.
“Glass has been a huge boost to
employee morale. They know that
AGCO is investing in its employees,”
Gulick said. “Sometimes, when you
hear companies talk about innovation
and technology, employees think they
are being replaced by the technology.
We bring technology into the workplace
to enhance our employees, not replace
them. It makes their jobs easier.”
In the little more than two years since
AGCO introduced Glass, the company
has recorded stellar results. First and
foremost, employees have eliminated the
back and forth trips to computers.
“That motion piece goes away. Also, if
you ask employees, they’ll tell you safety
is a key benefit, by limiting their motion
and focusing on operation,” Gulick said.
“By providing standardized work instruc-
tion, including changes, on demand in
their work area, the quality of the product
also improves. It’s a no brainer. If some-
thing changes in the product, that gets
pushed down to the instructions and
rework is not necessary. Employees are
given the information they need, when
they need it and in as much detail as they
need to ensure right the first time. ”
Since the move to Glass, AGCO’s Jackson
plant has seen reductions in process time,
in assembly and quality of 27 to 32 percent,
while training time has been reduced by
50 percent for new hires, from an average
10 days to three days. Also, new employ-
ees trained with Glass can be easily
introduced to multiple operations and can
flex through different jobs in the plant.
Overcoming early challenges
As with any new technology, the launch
of Glass inside the Jackson plant was
not without a few hiccups. Most of
AGCO’s early challenges focused on
the headset’s size and comfort. A “one
size fits all” approach isn’t practical
when considering the variation in an
individual’s head size, as well as the
distance between a person’s eyes and
ears. Additionally, some employees who
wear prescription glasses experienced
eye strain. It can be a five to seven-day
adjustment for some employees. In order
to address this, Glass is introduced
incrementally, starting with two-hour and
then four-hour segments of time, building
to eight hours. For most employees, it’s
simply a matter of getting used to shifting
their eyes to and from the small, digital
image at the top right side of the lens.
“We were such early adopters, we’re
working through these little nuisances,”
Typically, employees go through two
stages of training on the use of Glass.
This includes learning to use the hardware
and learning the Windows-based Procee-
dix application software. Within a week,
employees are completely confident.
Overcoming employee resistance
Gulick admits the switch to Glass is easier
for the younger generation. And while
the company had some resistance from
a small population of employees, they
quickly embraced the new tool.
“Resistance is a normal, human reaction
to change, especially new technology,”
Gulick said. “The funny thing is that some
employees who resisted it in the early
days are now our biggest supporters,
volunteering to talk to tour groups about
it. I think the longer term employees know
the value of having information at their fin-
gertips. No one wants to make a mistake.
Our employees take pride in knowing
what to do next and delivering with the
highest level of quality. Glass improves the
quality and efficiency of their work.”
In the future, AGCO will continue to
research new technology to build its
“smart factory.” In fact, some of the new
ideas are likely to come directly from
employees, Gulick said. AGCO relies on its
employees to drive ideas and innovation.
The Jackson Operations received more
than 5,000 ideas in 2016 and 2017 from
employees. This resulted in over $1 million
savings, not including soft benefits.
Susan McCabe is a writer/editor located in the Kansas
City, Missouri, area.
We bring technology
into the workplace
to enhance our
employees, not replace them.
PEGGY GULICK, DIRECTOR OF
BUSINESS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT, AGCO
Jessica Schmucker in tractor quality uses Glass to access the torque tool settings and
other work instructions on tractor assembly line.
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