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Technology Adoption with Jason Guss

Episode Overview

Technology adoption is difficult in any industry, let alone manufacturing. A lot of these jobs, they’re really manual, repetitive, sometimes boring processes so having a piece of technology that can really digitize their actions and provide scores and feedback to them actually has had a really positive impact. They become more excited, more engaged.”

Jason Guss is the CEO and Co-Founder of Iterate Labs, a wearable tech and computer vision company designed to increase safety and production in the factory in real-time. In this episode of Zen and the Art of Manufacturing Podcast, Bryan Sapot and Jason sit down to talk about using technology to digitize the factory and promote employee buy-in.

Originally broadcast on June 22, 2021

Interate Labs is a connected worker platform that focuses on digitizing worker movements, actions, and locations to improve manufacturing KPIs for production and safety in real-time. The founders, with backgrounds in biomechanics and industrial manufacturing, combined their knowledge to develop this technology. The reception from the workforce has been positive. Workers are engaged and excited to see their data, especially when presented as a safety and health benefit. This has led to significant improvements in turnover reduction and worker performance.

A Focus on Safety

The safety aspect of Interate Labs focuses on musculoskeletal injuries, such as strains, sprains, and carpal tunnel. “Essentially we look at a few factors throughout that day on that worker’s performance. We’ll look at posture, speed, time, and the number of repetitions. Then we’ll look at performance metrics such as cycle time and if that cycle time is changing throughout the day.” The platform can determine if a worker is at a higher risk of injury based on their movements and patterns. The safety data is mainly provided to managers, who can then communicate and share it with workers. This allows them to recognize top performers and use their techniques for training.

Interate Labs primarily focuses on the manufacturing sector, including industries like food processing, metal fabrication, and more. The platform’s value lies in providing visibility into the workforce and improving performance across various manual labor tasks. “Oftentimes our customers will identify top performers from both a safety and productivity perspective and then leverage them to help train other workers or use their motion and technique as part of the training platform.”

The future of the platform involves integrating computer vision applications to complement wearables and other sensor technologies. The goals is to create a seamless system that provides comprehensive data for customers. “There are really applications for computer vision, applications for wearables, applications for other sensor technologies and really leveraging a platform where you can have all those features communicate to each other and have the value of each is really where we’re going towards as a company.”

Engaging Key Stakeholders in Technology Adoption

Engaging key stakeholders and ensuring they see the value of technology adoption is crucial for successful adoption. Stakeholder meetings, tailored dashboards for different levels of management, and accessibility through various devices help in this process. “There definitely has to be some initial engagement between the company and the key stakeholders. Make sure key project leads see the associated value with the technology.”

Educating customers on the analytics journey curve and incremental value gain is essential for long-term engagement and success. “We need to find a way to have a seamless kind of integration work with the customers provide value along the way. Early on it’s not something that you can necessarily just automate, it requires human interaction and training.” The goal is to tie every metric and graphic on the platform to specific dollar values for customers. This ensures continuous engagement and value for the communication.

Role of Conferences and Virtual Events

Conferences and virtual events have been valuable resources for learning about new technologies and trends in the industry. “One thing that’s been nice about the virtual nature of everything is that you can attend a lot more conferences. From like a customer sales perspective I found it not as effective, but from a learning perspective I found it really helpful.” Staying up to date on industrial IoT reports and trends helps in understanding the evolving landscape of manufacturing technologies. The platform’s ability to provide standardized metrics and language across multiple plants for a single customer has been instrumental in sharing best practices and improving operations across different facilities

Conferences have been a valuable resource for learning. This is especially true in virtual settings where attending multiple events is more accessible and cost-effective. Staying updated on new technologies and trends, such as industrial IoT reports, helps in understanding industry players and potential roadmap adjustments to align with emerging trends.

Value of LinkedIn

LinkedIn serves as a platform for learning and networking. “I’ve even founded a pretty good place to ask questions and get feedback on new technologies and what’s going on in the marketplace.” However, the most significant learning often occurs when interacting with customers directly, understanding their priorities, challenges, and perspectives on industry developments. Excel’s continued role in manufacturing systems, despite advancements in technology, highlights the practical challenges faced by businesses in adopting new solutions.

Engaging with customers provides valuable insights into their needs and challenges for technology adoption. Offering opportunities to address critical issues and provide solutions is a critical part of the process. The daily operational demands and unforeseen problems can hinder progress, leading to delays in implementing solutions and achieving business objectives. Conferences offer a platform to explore new technologies, network with industry professionals, and gain insights into industry trends and innovations.

Additional Resources

One of Jason’s book recommendations is “Sell More Faster”. This book caters to early-stage technology companies seeking to refine their product strategies and market positioning. “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and works by Dale Carnegie provide timeless insights into personal development and effective communication. Both books offer valuable lessons for business and life.

Connect with Jason Guss on LinkedIn.

Alyxandra Sherwood
Alyxandra Sherwood
Digital Marketing Manager @ Mingo Smart Factory I Adjunct Professor @ SUNY Geneseo I Boston Marathoner I Second Street Award Winner I Media Professional with 15 Years Experience