ProGlove builds the smallest, lightest, and toughest barcode scanners in the world, connecting workers to the Internet of Things. This promotes human-machine collaboration and drives the digitisation of the shop floor. Over 500 renowned organisations in manufacturing, production, logistics, and retail use its smarter workforce solutions. The wearables leader recently introduced new process analytics capabilities to the market; which boosts workflow improvements and worker well-being functionalities of its advanced analytics platform ProGlove Insight.
We caught up with Axel Schmidt, ProGlove’s Senior Communications Manager to find out about ProGlove’s origins; these new process analytics capabilities; and how to integrate ProGlove Insights into IT systems.
How did the idea for ProGlove come about?
Jonas Girardet, Thomas Kirchner, Alexander Grots, Paul Günther founded ProGlove in 2014, after winning the “Make it Wearable” Challenge in Silicon Valley. The initial idea of a basic wearable glove, that delivered information to workers within industrial applications, evolved into a wearable barcode scanner during the time that Paul was running guided tours to tourists at BMW. He observed many of the BMW workforce wearing gloves when they were using scanners, and that’s when he had a light bulb moment: What if you could connect the worker with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), meaning what if you could connect the glove to the scanner? By adding a scanner to the back of one’s hand, the wearable scanner enables hands-free scanning and therefore provides more efficiency, and quality in the field of industrial production – important traits that Paul noticed while providing tours at BMW, and which other organisations are eager to solve and achieve too.
How has ProGlove evolved over the past years?
In 2018, ProGlove was a one product family, but in a short space of time it’s developed into an entire ecosystem: We now have 4 different scanners and a selection of wearables, along with connectivity, software and data analysis solutions.
Tell readers about ProGlove Insight’s new process analytics capabilities?
The launch of ProGlove’s process analytics extends our current offering to the market by providing an entire ecosystem of solutions to organisations; that improve efficiency on the shopfloor, while strengthening the role of the human worker. ProGlove Insight works by collecting a unique set of data through its MARK barcode scanner family of products. The Insight ecosystem contextualises this data and allows firms to consume data according to their needs to improve processes and productivity.
Are any customers benefiting from these process analytics capabilities?
Yes. ProGlove Insight has been in use at more than 100 customer sites already to drive efficiency, profitability and – above all – human centred workflows. Among them are renowned organisations like DPD and Horsch. This is because ProGlove Insight is a complete solution that improves workflows and processes by leveraging scanners’ device data and time motion studies.
Ultimately, the platform draws on the MARK barcode scanners’ unique capability to not only capture barcode data; but also seize metadata and information collected via the numerous sensors the devices feature. This data contextualises barcode symbologies, device configurations, time stamps, temperature readings, battery health and much more to allow for actionable insights.
Using ProGlove Insight enables organisations to eliminate the restrictions across workstation silos too; because it collects data directly from the shop floor, processes and shares it from the ‘bottom-up’ towards the management level. This provides organisations a powerful overview of a business’s entire warehouse processes; and so supports data driven decision making.
Is this product replacing ERP and WMS?
No, Insight is not a replacement for these systems. While Insight can be operated as a stand-alone application, it is much rather intended to refine data – particularly the data that sits in these systems. Insight monitors devices on the shop floor, contextualizes the data, and so allows for actionable insights. ERP or WMS systems will not be able to do that, they will stop where the barcode data stops.
How easy is it for a team to integrate ProGlove Insight into their system?
This depends on the route that they want to take. Insight is extremely IT friendly and can be fully deployed within a very limited number of days. Even when calculated extremely conservatively, we do not expect to see the deployment period exceed two days. Most of the IT setup is straightforward: An account needs to be set up, devices need to be registered, Insight Mobile and the SDK may have to be downloaded and deployed, APIs may have to be connected and so forth. None of this really presents a challenge to skilled IT staff.
ProGlove employs over 200 people from over 30 countries including the UK. It is backed by growth-focused investors, Summit Partners, DICP Deutsche Invest Capital Partners, and Bayern Capita. Its customers include: BMW, DHL, KUKA, FESTO and Volkswagen.