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Ford reduces assembly errors by 7pc with wearable device

Ford assembly

Ford Motor Company is hoping to speed up vehicle production rates via a new wearable device that pairs with a smartphone application to decrease unnecessary in-house travel time for employees.

Employees at the vehicle manufacturer’s facility in Valencia, Spain have received devices to be worn on the wrist that use Bluetooth technology to deliver quality inspection requirements for each product being assembled. The original pilot program saw human errors reduced by 7 percent and has decreased production time, meaning Ford will be launching the devices to its other plants.

"The precision of bluetooth technology allows the Ford app to recognize the item in front of it as well as the exact location of that item," said Shuli Lowy, marketing director at Ping Mobile.

"Creating an app to streamline quality checks is a great step towards building an excellent production line as well as a reducing the staff load," she said.  

Ford power
Ford is hoping to streamline its production process through its new wearable device for factory workers, which also pairs to a smartphone app for management to check on progress. The devices have removed the need for employees to walk back and forth to a desktop computer to control the line. 

Users can check specification and quality as well as start and stop the physical assembly line on the wrist-worn device. Ford has estimated that workers in the Spain facility would have to walk an estimated one kilometer a day, a factor adding time to production which the device has eliminated.  

The device is a touchscreen and allows employees to immediately follow up and approve vehicles on the assembly line. The app is available exclusively on Android devices. 

The manufacturer is hoping to continue the innovational attitude the company was founded on, exemplified by the well-known history of Henry Ford’s assembly line invention. 

Moving forward
Ford recently rolled out a slew of new connected car features, including enabling Ford car owners and non-owners to remotely start their vehicles and pay for parking via an application, as well as piloting a new mobile-driven leasing program (see more).

The car brand also piloted an on-demand ride-sharing service that uses smart ride-hailing technology and customized shuttles as part of a bigger initiative to develop innovative and disruptive ideas for diminishing traffic congestion and making public transit more convenient (see more).

"The creation of this app is yet another step on Ford’s part to fuse modern day technology with running a more efficient ship and creating better products for drivers," Ms. Lowy said. "The move is part of a broader trend of large manufacturing houses to use mobile apps to create more visibility and better quality assurance in their production. 

"While building an app for a manufacturing house requires substantial investment, it is easy to scale once it is built and can therefore provide substantial returns for large manufacturers," she said. 

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Brielle Jaekel is staff writer on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at brielle@mobilemarketer.com.

Related content: Software and technology, mobile marketing, wearables, assembly line, ford, apps, mobile app, employee apps

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