Over time, repetitive movements, bending, and lifting can take a physical toll on warehouse staff. For third-party logistics service provider (3PL) Kenco Logistics, a company committed to building a culture of safety, those health risks were rapidly becoming a source of concern.
That concern prompted the 3PL to begin searching for a wearable technology to prevent injuries among the pickers at its 90+ facilities throughout the U.S. What it wanted was a safety-focused technology that would be simple to use, require minimal setup, and be easy to deploy and scale within Kenco’s warehouses. After comparing several musculoskeletal safety technologies, the company selected Soter Analytics’ Clip&Go solution.
One of the first AI (artificial intelligence)-enabled wearables, the Clip&Go solution is designed to train associates in demanding warehouse environments to bend, move, and lift safely. It works by monitoring users’ movements in real time via a small sensor clipped to the worker’s shirt or vest (typically at the shoulder or the back of the neck). Using AI and machine learning, the device then alerts associates to potentially hazardous movements by means of audible and vibration biofeedback. These individualized notifications optimize training and health, assisting with injury prevention and creating sustainable change through real-time training, according to the two companies.
Kenco piloted the technology with several different job functions in one of its most physically demanding warehouses, with a primary focus on pickers, whose jobs tend to require a lot of lifting, bending, twisting, and reaching. At the start of each shift, associates would check out a sensor, scanning the unit to link it to their individual accounts. Throughout the day, the device would provide personalized feedback and collect individual data, including a breakdown of hazardous movements by type and hour. At the end of the shift, users would return and rescan the devices, with the option of viewing their personal data for the shift and even collecting virtual “badges” in the gameified environment instituted by the company.
By all accounts, the pilot was a success. Using the Clip&Go technology led to a 22% reduction of hazardous movements by the company’s associates, according to Kenco. Ultimately, the technology not only allowed for real-time self-correction learning for the workers but also gave managers objective insight into associates’ behavior, enabling them to provide targeted training for key individuals, departments, and even areas of the facility. This focus on early intervention and prevention by minimizing hazardous movements—instead of just focusing on injury recovery—has provided Kenco with an extra tool to help it meet its safety goals, the company says.
“The Soter device gently yet persistently raises the level of awareness, building a good incentive to use better body mechanics,” said Miguel Trivino, Kenco Logistics’ director of environmental, health, and safety, in a press release. “The results of the Soter pilot program showed us that this product is an effective tool to reduce incorrect lifting, which can lead to fatigue, soreness, and even injury. This program has been so successful that we have invested in more Soter devices and expanded the program to additional facilities.”