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Study after study has found that supported, engaged workers perform better and produce higher quality work. But these studies typically only find qualitative improvement. It is very hard to measure workforce enablement in quantitative terms that you can put into a quarterly report.
Some organizations try to measure a related metric, employee satisfaction, but that isn’t really the same thing as enablement. The point of enablement is to make employees more effective at their jobs—the outcome is productivity.
This article explores how you can support workforce enablement and explains how one particular toolset, smart lockers, enables workers in various settings. It concludes with a few short case studies illustrating how several Real Time Networks customers have used AssetTracer smart lockers for their workforce enablement strategies.
How to Support Workforce Enablement
Your workforce enablement activities can take many forms and utilize many different tools. Typically though, they’ll break down into technology, policies, and culture.
The Relationship Between Enablement and Engagement
Happy and engaged employees are more likely to feel enabled in their jobs and have higher productivity. For example, a joint study conducted by Forrester and SAP Concur found that a company with a majority of engaged employees generated 81 percent greater customer satisfaction than companies without. So how do you get engaged employees?
That same Forrester study found that employees are most happy and engaged when they feel:
- Connected—people want to feel like their effort has a purpose. They want to feel connected to their colleagues and customers and feel like what they do positively impacts those people’s lives.
- Productive—completing work is satisfying. Highly engaged and enabled employees want to get work done and get a sense of pride from accomplishing their tasks.
- Facilitated—in other words, they feel like their priorities are the same as the wider organization. When they feel like the organization facilitates their work, they feel more engaged and enabled.
What Are Smart Lockers?
A smart locker is an equipment storage and distribution system with a built-in computer and sensor network. That computer network manages access to stored equipment and, thanks to its sensors, can monitor, analyze, and change the locker system’s performance. They provide secure storage, but more importantly, they improve overall equipment effectiveness through automation.
Smart locker systems typically use four key components: storage lockers, an access terminal, an internal content surveillance system, and management software.
A smart locker system is built around the storage cabinets that hold idle equipment. Advanced locker systems use a modular cabinet design that adapts to tight space constraints. They can also include charging ports for reading essential electronic devices.
Connected to each cabinet is an access control terminal. Here, users authenticate themselves when they sign equipment in or out. You can also prompt users for additional information during transactions. For example, you can require them to log fault codes or any new damage. In addition, you can require users to confirm if anything is empty in consumable kits.
Access terminals can use a wide range of authentication options, from basic security like PIN codes to swipe cards to more comprehensive biometric scanning, including fingerprint scanning, iris eye scanning, or facial recognition. You can also require multiple credentials for more secure multi-factor authentication.
Content surveillance sensors monitor equipment stored in the smart system cabinets. Some devices that use wired USB connections for charging can also report their identity and status to the management system. In addition, wireless RFID sensors inside cabinets can scan devices as users take or return them. That way, you can ensure that they don't accidentally or maliciously take the wrong devices.
All of the data collected by the content surveillance system and the access terminals goes to the smart locker system’s management portal, which you can access from authorized PCs or mobile devices. You can monitor device usage, manage users, and run reports from the management portal.
How Smart Systems Enable Workers
Workforce enablement sounds good in theory, but good theories need to show real-world results. Here are just a few examples of companies using an AssetTracer smart locker system to enable their workforce.
Want to learn how to support workforce enablement in your organization?Read Our Guide on Everything You Need to Know About Physical Asset Tracking Systems
About the Author
Vice President of Marketing
Jay oversees marketing and strategic partnerships at Real Time Networks and has over three decades of experience in leadership roles in the financial services and technology industries.