Back in 2014, my team was at GE Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio, watching how mechanics assemble and repair airplane engines. Airplane maintenance is a complex and specialized task, and any errors can lead to expensive delays or having to conduct the entire maintenance process all over again. The mechanics moved carefully, putting down tools and climbing up and down ladders to consult paper instructions in between steps.
Fast forward to today, and GE’s mechanics now use Glass running software from our partner Upskill, which shows them instructions with videos, animations and images right in their line of sight so they don’t have to stop work to check their binders or computer to know what to do next. Since using Glass with Upskill, they estimate that they have not only reduced errors at key points in the assembly and overhaul of engines, but that they have improved their mechanics’ efficiency by between 8–12%.
On the left is an assembly engine manual that GE’s mechanics used to consult. Now they use Glass Enterprise Edition on the right.
GE was one of the first businesses to experience the benefits of Glass in the workplace. Now, there are more than 50 businesses, including AGCO, DHL, Dignity Health, NSF International, Sutter Health,The Boeing Company, and Volkswagen, who have been using Glass to complete their work faster and more easily than before. Based on the positive feedback we’ve received from these customers in a special program we’ve been running for the past two years, we’re now making Glass Enterprise Edition available to more businesses through our network of partners.
Glass, as you might remember, is a very small, lightweight wearable computer with a transparent display that brings information into your line of sight. In a work setting, you can clip it onto glasses or industry frames like safety goggles so you don’t have to switch focus between what you’re doing with your hands and the content you need to see to do your job.
Workers in many fields, like manufacturing, logistics, field services, and healthcare find it useful to consult a wearable device for information and other resources while their hands are busy. That’s why we’ve spent the last two years working closely with a network of more than 30 expert partners to build customized software and business solutions for Glass for people in these fields. We’ve also made improvements to the design and hardware so that it’s lightweight and comfortable for long term wear. We’ve increased the power and battery life too.
AGCO workers use Glass to see assembly instructions, make reports and get remote video support.
Workers at AGCO, an agricultural machinery manufacturer in Jackson, Minnesota, are using Glass Enterprise Edition. By reducing the amount of back and forth workers have to do accessing checklists, viewing instruction manuals or sending photos from tablets or laptops as they assemble machines, Glass has reduced machinery production time by 25 percent and inspection times by 30 percent. As Peggy Gulick, Director of Business Process Improvement, explains, “Employees are now working smarter, faster and safer because they have the information they need right in their line of sight.”
DHL is seeing similar results. DHL’s employees have a supply chain process called “order picking” where they fulfill orders by scanning items from racks before moving them into totes or bins on carts to be shipped. Using a solution from Ubimax with Glass , they now receive real-time instructions about where items have to be placed on the carts with the help of visual aids. With their hands now free of paper instructions, pickers can work far more efficiently and comfortably, and DHL estimates that they have increased supply chain efficiency by 15%.