In our final blog in our Microsoft Teams for frontline workers series, we discuss the steps to take to have a successful implementation.
As we discussed throughout this blog series, Microsoft Teams offers a full suite of integrative solutions designed to help improve the efficiency and safety of frontline workers (FLWs) in the manufacturing industry.
If you’ve followed our series, you may have decided that deploying Teams for your frontline workforce could benefit your entire organization. But how do you prepare for something that impacts so many key people and processes?
Microsoft Teams for Frontline Workers: Where to Start
Between stakeholders needing convincing and users needing training and support along the way, the digital implementation of a new tool is no overnight fix. You need a plan to ensure there is a streamlined, cost effective and enthusiastic Teams deployment process for your manufacturing FLWs.
Here are some planning considerations and solutions to technology roadblocks we’ll cover in this final post:
- Determine the specific needs and requirements of your FLWs (hint: our previous posts can help determine which Teams-compatible tools and services are most relevant to your workers’ needs).
- Assess current technology infrastructure and compatibility with Teams. Ensure a stable and fast internet connection for all FLWs, whether they’re on the plant floor, offsite or in the office. Set up and configure Teams, integrating it with existing tools and systems and customizing it to meet the needs of your manufacturing company.
- Establish a clear plan for deployment, adoption, training and support. Create an adoption and change management plan. Train FLWs on using the technology to support their job duties while also ensuring they can troubleshoot common issues. Develop a support plan for FLWs to get help when they need it.
- Set up security, data privacy and compliance policies. Identify which devices and platforms will be used in which instances. Determine user roles and access rules. Set up security, data privacy and compliance policies. Consider Microsoft Intune to manage and secure devices and applications.
- Communicate the business value of adopting Teams in the manufacturing environment to your stakeholders before, during and after deployment.
- Monitor the use of Teams and integrated technology to continually identify areas for potential improvement, making updates and changes as needed.
By considering these factors, you can overcome technological roadblocks and ensure the successful deployment and adoption of Microsoft Teams for your organization. Let’s dive in.
Assess Current Technology Infrastructure Compatibility with Teams
It’s important to ensure your manufacturing environment has a robust and reliable network infrastructure that can support the data traffic generated by Teams. This step includes determining sufficient bandwidth, low latency and appropriate security measures. Depending on the size and complexity of your manufacturing environment, you may need to upgrade the network infrastructure or deploy additional access points to ensure coverage throughout the facility.
It’s important to make sure devices employees use in the manufacturing environment are compatible with Teams. This includes desktop computers, laptops, tablets and mobile devices. Devices should meet the minimum system requirements for Teams and have the necessary hardware, such as cameras and microphones, for effective video conferencing and collaboration.
Establish a Clear Plan for Employee Training and Support
It is also important to provide training and support to employees to guarantee they can effectively use Teams in the manufacturing environment or field. This step includes providing guidance on best practices for using Teams, troubleshooting common issues, and ongoing support to address any technical challenges.
As we’ll discuss in detail below, implementing an adoption and change management plan will ensure higher adoption rates and employee satisfaction. Including training in this plan is always the most effective solution to change. Incorporating change champions as the first line of support and training is an effective way to ensure successful adoption.
Set Up Security, Data Privacy and Compliance Policies
Properly configuring the manufacturing workplace environment to support Teams is critical to ensuring your Teams implementation succeeds. This includes configuring firewalls and other security measures to allow Teams traffic, setting up appropriate permissions and access controls and configuring Teams settings to optimize performance. We recommend establishing a governance plan about how and when to use the technology as a best practice. Consider Microsoft Intune to manage and secure devices and applications.
Adoption and Change Management Planning for Teams Implementation
As with any digital implementation, an adoption and change management plan is essential. While detailing how to create a change management plan is beyond the scope of this post, broadly summarizing the most important focus areas will help you initiate discussions about building a Microsoft Teams implementation roadmap for your organization. The core elements of your plan should focus on the following:
- Ensuring successful implementation: A well-designed adoption and change management plan helps you certify the successful implementation of a new digital solution by addressing the needs and concerns of stakeholders, reducing resistance to change, and ensuring a smooth transition.
- Managing stakeholder expectations: This step helps you manage stakeholder expectations by clearly communicating the implementation’s goals, benefits and timeline and providing regular updates on progress. We’ll cover this in more detail below.
- Minimizing disruptions: An effective plan can minimize disruptions to business operations by identifying and addressing potential challenges and risks before they occur.
- Improving user adoption: You can improve user adoption of the new solution by providing training and support to make sure users can effectively use the new technology to perform their job duties.
- Maximizing return on investment: A successful adoption and change management plan can maximize the return on investment of the new digital solution by ensuring your team effectively uses the solution and realizes the long-term benefits.
- Promoting continuous improvement: Your plan can promote continuous improvement by regularly assessing the solution’s effectiveness and making updates and changes as needed to confirm it continues to meet your organization’s and stakeholders’ needs. We will give a few pointers on how to do so next.
Monitor FLW Use of Teams to Promote Continuous Improvement
Monitoring how FLW use Teams can provide valuable insights into their communication and collaboration habits, which you can use to promote continuous improvement in a manufacturing environment. Establishing high-level key performance indicators (KPIs) aids in measuring the success of adoption.
These KPIs could include metrics such as the number of Teams messages send and received, the number of video calls made, documents shared and the frequency of communication between team members. Monitoring how people use Teams will help you identify patterns or trends in communication and collaboration habits and determine if they need further training or support.
Communicate the Value of Microsoft Teams for Frontline Workers
We hope you’ve seen the benefits of connecting and enabling your manufacturing workforce with the power of Microsoft Teams. But we also recognize that attaining stakeholder buy-in can be an uphill battle.
To help you get started, let’s recap the business value of deploying Microsoft Teams and integrable solutions in the manufacturing workspace. Organizations can communicate the value of Microsoft for the FLW to their stakeholders by highlighting the following:
- Improved efficiency: Teams provides your manufacturing FLWs with real-time access to data, tools and resources. Access to live–streaming support will help quickly troubleshoot and reduce downtime.
- Better customer experiences: Access to a digital customer data portfolio provides a more customized experience.
- Increased collaboration: Through chat, collaboration between co-workers in the field and office becomes transparent, reducing siloed work.
- More access to training and upskilling: Microsoft offers many online programs to quickly upskill employees, making their journey into using Teams for everyday frontline work seamless.
- Seamless integration with other tools: Integrating with tools such as RealWear allows the FLW to put all things into action by accessing digital data for documentation and live streaming with co-workers for support.
- Increased cost savings: Overall, by reducing the need for paper processes and endless back-and-forth phone calls and emails, Teams for the FLW can help to reduce downtime, support costs and improve overall productivity.
In this series, we looked at how Microsoft Teams for frontline workers improves collaboration, processes and safety. Microsoft will undoubtedly continue to add new tools and features that integrate with Teams. And we’ll do our part by continuing to assess and inform leaders in the manufacturing industry and beyond of the best use cases for empowering FLW teams.