Enterprise Wearables: Determining the ROI
From BrainXChange: “Determining ROI a key challenge faced by enterprises today in the still-early days of the technology, for it’s not always a simple matter of numbers and percentages. At BrainXChange’s EWTS events, real end users shared first-hand experiences of and outside-the-box thinking about gauging the ROI of wearables in your business.
When we talk about ROI, we usually talk in terms of concrete numbers. But what we heard from a number of enterprise users is that it’s often not easy to pin down numbers with wearable technology; sometimes it’s more practical – even necessary – to qualify than to quantify the success of these devices in your organization.
Peter Godino, Hershey Company: “There is always an ROI when you’re improving the way you do something [but] there are some things I don’t like to put KPIs to. I know there’s an enhancement. Sometimes it’s improving the quality of life for your engineering team or the people on the floor. A lot of metrics cannot be expressed as a dollar return, but we’ve seen a lot of benefits from wearable technology. Line uptime will be one of the big outcomes, though we cannot claim to have seen a reduction in downtime at this time; but we’re pretty sure we’ll have that information in the future.”
While you might view that as sort of a gamble – banking on the hope that one day there will be numerical data to support the adoption of wearables in enterprise – improving employees’ quality of life is no minor benefit:
Kristi Montgomery, Kenco Logistics: “Improving the quality of life for those end users (warehouse workers) is hard to quantify from a dollar perspective…Employee satisfaction and engagement–if we can improve that [then] we feel like we’ve accomplished something even if there’s no hard dollar amount we can account for.”
Peter also spoke to the idea that sometimes you just know there’s an enhancement:
Dawn Bridges, Jacobs Engineering: “A wearable that recognizes a barcode is an efficiency.” Replacing hand-held barcode scanners with something wearable that frees up workers’ hands is a clear efficiency, supported by sheer logic if not by a percentage.
George Bowser of DHL gave two sides to the ROI coin: There’s measuring the impact of wearables on productivity and accuracy; and then there are less calculable, even emotional, indicators like ergonomics, impact on workers themselves, and user acceptance. And sometimes it might be necessary to weigh some metrics against others: If it’s not possible to (accurately) calculate an increase in productivity over the short lifespan of a pilot program; talking with users – even handing out questionnaires as DHL does – might reveal other, more immediately observable improvements such as less physical strain or awkwardness for workers using smart glasses to scan items instead of a handheld scanner.”
Other case studies and quotes from the full article can be read here.