L2L Connected Workforce Summit: Accelerating Performance & Productivity Gains

L2L (formerly known as Leading2Lean) held its Connected Workforce Summit in Salt Lake City, May 14-15, 2024. LNS Research attended this gathering of Connected Workforce enthusiasts. Approximately 120 people attended this year’s event. Some were manufacturers local to the Salt Lake City area, while others were large, leading global manufacturers, including Owens-Corning, Hitachi, and Sonoco.

US Synthetics, an artificial diamond manufacturer in the area, hosted a plant tour showcasing the use of the L2L platform across their operations. The tour highlighted the heavy use and high value of L2L’s dispatch function, which was the centerpiece of every stop.

L2L CEO John Davagian opened the event with a keynote highlighting two important themes:L2L CEO John Davagian

      • Growth in usage of L2L’s dispatch functionality, a key success metric for L2L toward achieving their mission to empower workers to manufacture better together.

      • The accelerating urgency around connecting the workforce to the universe of industrial applications to support their success.

In an afternoon session, Head of Product, Rich Caplow, previewed some new functionality that L2L was announcing at this event.

      • Business Intelligence

      • Artificial Intelligence

      • Automation Intelligence

L2L is unifying these three information technologies into a combined framework for intelligent automation of manufacturing operations. Used together, these elements create a system that operates as an intelligence layer within the L2L platform to empower the plant workforce with immediate access to guidance, recommendations, and information.

Business Intelligence: L2L’s new capability around business intelligence makes broad shop floor data in L2L available for analysis and export to business intelligence (BI) tools, such as Tableau or PowerBI, where it can be merged with other system data for advanced analysis. This is an important offering for the many VPs of Operations who use these tools for their dashboards, and it aligns with LNS Research’s vision of layered analytics by function and role. L2L also showcased the ability for customers to benefit from a BI solution it hosts as an alternative to downloading data to their own IT environment.

Artificial Intelligence: Any new Artificial Intelligence launched in 2024 is almost guaranteed to be of the generative AI modality, and it was no different for L2L. The company announced powerful upgrades to L2L Assist with a significant advancement over the prior versionpreviously released in 2023. It launched specific use cases for categorization, digital work instruction, and next-best-action suggestions for dispatch resolution. Now enhanced with generative AI functionality, it readily guides frontline manufacturing workers to complete tasks more efficiently and effectively. L2L Assist can now provide users with relevant knowledge by referencing sources, including L2L operational data, machine sensor data, computer vision, equipment manuals and documentation, corporate data lakes, and large language models.

LNS Research continues to believe connected workforce applications, focused on productivity and knowledge management, are a great starting point for generative AI offerings in manufacturing. These use cases play to the technology’s strengths, and by keeping a human in the loop, they help reduce some of the risks still present for the nascent technology.L2L Artificial Intelligence

Automation Intelligence: The new automation intelligence capability is what really caught my attention. Pitched as the L2L FlowEngine, this new group of capabilities intends to automate some aspects of the process for dispatch to speed execution. This new capability is also a step toward making L2L the foundational application for frontline workers. It has open and interoperable connections to other applications, eventually helping drive toward autonomous operations and a system of systems architecture. Automation Intelligence intends to allow other enterprise applications to provide triggering functions into L2L to create a dispatch and allow data from L2L to push into other relevant enterprise applications, such as ERP. This move puts L2L on a leadership track in Connected Frontline Workforce Applications.L2L Automation & Assistance Journey

Looking to 2025 and Beyond

This year’s event and announcements focused on boosting the dispatch function’s ease of use and aligned with its primary success metric. These offerings will clearly help manufacturers improve their productivity and efficiency goals, as many of these companies are being asked to do more with less.

Moving into the rest of 2024 and into 2025, I see a great opportunity for L2L to further its development of knowledge artifact curation and management capability. Virtually everyone I talked with at this event had that as a top-of-mind concern. L2L is positioned well to be the “library” for best practice knowledge artifacts and the delivery mechanism for those knowledge artifacts to empower inexperienced workers to reduce the gap in performing like experienced workers.

Our research on Unified Performance Excellence (UPX) showed that the Connected Frontline Workforce Application was the second-highest application used for knowledge curation and delivery, and only analytics applications were more prevalent. Offerings like these will help manufacturers address one of their other challenges, continuing to deliver productivity growth with a far less experienced workforce, given the turnover and labor crises of the past five years.

Recommendations and Considerations

LNS Research sees L2L as a strong CFW and Performance Excellence offering and should be on many companies’ short-list considering these solutions, especially if:

      • Urgency of support response in relation to downtime events is a significant contributor to throughput loss.

      • Skills management is fragmented and difficult to manage on a day-to-day basis to keep production units in operation.

      • Building a Culture of Excellence has hit a wall, and returns are diminishing.

Transformation Blueprint for Unified Performance Excellence (UPX)

All entries in this Industrial Transformation blog represent the opinions of the authors based on their industry experience and their view of the information collected using the methods described in our Research Integrity. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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