The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests there will be a shortfall of approximately 75K heavy truck service technicians by the year 2022 mainly due to retirements. That’s only 3 years away! This exodus of knowledge and skill is often termed the “silver tsunami”. The impending tsunami threatens to dramatically reduce maintenance productivity.
So why should a fleet, vendor or OEM invest in an augmented reality software like XRMentor™? Not only are the next generation of technicians growing up in a world with augmented reality on their mobile phones, but the trucking industry is competing for this talent with industries that are already investing in this technology. Firms in manufacturing, aviation and utility sectors are making significant investments in augmented reality to support a significant amount of use cases including maintenance training and repair.
But why augmented reality?
#AR is the most effective way to train and instruct. AR keeps a technician’s hands on their tools head up, and can visualize real time data or provide instructional overlays otherwise buried in a binder or a difficult to search intranet database. In short, it keeps the technician productive and can accelerate their acquisition of knowledge because they can learn by doing, not just watching or reading. And in the case of software like XRMentor™, experts can be empowered to rapidly share their knowledge too.
AR is more effective not just because it can be heads up, but because it is more interactive than solutions used today like YouTube videos.
Today, when an expert is called to help solve a problem, they have limited or no means to share how they solved the problem with other technicians, particularly those remote. XRMentor™ solves that. The expert can create step by step guidance, capture videos or use virtual sticky notes and audio clips. The guidance is stored in the cloud, downloadable by any other technician across the enterprise. Now a technician can reference the most up to date expert guidance hands free increasing productivity and reducing errors which increases uptime and decreases part and labor costs.
Let’s explore the top 5 reasons why you should invest in AR technology:
1. Hand’s Free: Unlike paper presentations, XRMentor™ is experienced through a heads up display. This keeps your hands free. Instead of holding pages from a training manual technicians can be hands on. This build muscle memory. A technician learns better while doing. With information heads up, they can measure a king pin or inspect the feel of potential irregular tire wear instead of flipping pages or using a mouse to navigate on the computer in the maintenance bay.
2. 3D Imagery: Printed repair guides may include 2D pictures or complex diagrams. Spatial AR like XRMentor™ present more detail in 3D holograms. Imagine a technician inspecting wear on a tire walking around 3D holograms of one sided or river wear, comparing directly to the tire on the tractor. Compare this to a 2 inch by 2 inch 2D close up jpeg of the same type of wear. Which content do you think would be more effective?
3. Spatial Visualizations : Currently if a technician needs a diagram they have to print it out and reference it every time they need to reference a certain procedure. Or with augmented reality technology like XRMentor™ , you could place that same diagram directly in their field of view. It is always available, in a convenient location. They can import a diagram, place it right in the field of view of a technician considering where they will be looking during their procedure. With augmented reality its always conveniently available.
The pool of qualified new candidates is shrinking
4. In the shop, in the classroom, it is flexible: When you need to train new technicians the trainer is typically confined to the classroom with PowerPoint presentations .With this type of training style it leaves room for errors, inconsistent training outcomes and increased repair cost in the future. with XRMentor™ you can train anytime anywhere. It allows your experts to import virtual models of the part that they wish to train on with step by step instructions to walk your technicians through the repair process. Resulting in a decrease in overall training time, an increase in compliance and higher training standards.
5. The next generation expects it: AR Is inevitable. Large companies such as Apple and Google have made huge investments in AR software and hardware. Others are following to enable software like XRMentor™ to run in the cloud. Therefore AR will available to everyone. You should expect the next generation will use AR daily on their phones very soon. Schools are using it to educate and vocational schools agree that it is a great technology to train new technicians.
AR is more effective not just because it can be heads up, but because it is more interactive than solutions used today like YouTube videos. Technicians will develop muscle and mental memory faster than VR or relying on printed documentation. As a result you will see a reduction in mean time to repair. The return on investment can be significant.
But you do need to start. They silver tsunami is real. Experts will leave a massive knowledge gap and the pool of qualified new candidates is shrinking. XRMentor™ can help. As a trusted maintenance expert once old me this “genie can’t be put back in the lamp”.
For more information on how an XRMentor™ solution can meet your enterprise’s problem solving needs, contact DI here or directly email DI’s Matthew Johnston at email@example.com.