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In-depth - manufacturing: The power of information

Kurt Rowe

Weightmans' Kurt Rowe explains why the use of telematics in the manufacturing sector is on the rise

At Aviva, we pride ourselves in having a strong understanding of the industry sectors in which our mid-market customers operate. This allows us to tailor a solution that best meets their insurance needs – whether that be through our own expert underwriters, who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in supporting brokers and their clients, or by harnessing the insight of our trusted network of specialist risk prevention providers and solicitor partners.

In the manufacturing sector, we’re seeing new technology being developed all the time to challenge and revolutionise the processes and procedures that in some cases have remained the same for many years. Kurt Rowe, from Weightmans LLP, gave us his view on the growing trend in the use of telematics in the manufacturing sector.

We all know about the use of telematics in our cars. Those little black boxes that seem synonymous with young, inexperienced drivers venturing onto our roads for the first time. What perhaps isn’t common knowledge is the way that telematics technology is growing in use and deployed in the manufacturing sector.

Telematics is simply an electronic way of collating data to monitor behaviours and patterns through the application of sensor technology. Coupled with a predictive analytics system, it provides fascinating insight to business management teams on how processes and employees are performing, it identifies possible problems on the production line, and assists in streamlining a businesses and efficiency and productivity with greater intelligence led design.

Telematics is already being used in the manufacturing sector to monitor behaviour of robotic technology as well as the production line with increasing use to track the movement of employees to help ensure compliance with health and safety legislation. It is no coincidence then that health insurance and life insurance companies are looking at using smart devices (such as watches and wrist bands) to monitor activity and heart rates as a way of developing their pricing platforms and assessing their risk to ensure more accuracy against the true risk presented. We are also seeing telematics applied to the manufacturing distribution chain with delivery vehicles, service vehicles, and even drones being fitted with telematics technology to drive efficient and safe use of corporate assets.

With all this sensor technology, a lot of valuable data is collected, which is used by employers to understand how their business is performing, what activity is being completed, how and when to do it, and a focus towards safety. Avoiding the ‘big brother’ comments, the main issue surrounding the use of technology is one of information, what to do with all this data and data security, with businesses often failing to understand what and how to make the next step. How to use the data they collect, and perhaps more importantly, what they cannot do with personal data. 

Education is the key to convincing employees that telematics technology has the potential to protect not only their employer, the source of employee pay cheques, but could also protect the employee themselves from injury through over exertion, criminal or regulatory prosecution and penalty, involvement in civil proceedings and even internal disciplinary measures.

Rather than being seen as a threat or something which could cause an additional headache to the owner of a manufacturing business, at Aviva we see telematics playing a significant role in supporting risk prevention in industries such as manufacturing. Working with specialist partners, we’re able to support our broker network and their clients with the installation of equipment and machinery sensors like those mentioned, as well as manual handling wearable technology for employees to help ensure the way in which they’re working is not causing unnecessary damage.

Ultimately, the more informed we can make our clients on the processes they undertake, the more preventative measures can be put in place, potentially resulting in fewer claims, slicker processes and hopefully a thriving mid-market client.

For more information on how we can work with you to best support the needs of your manufacturing clients, or mid-market businesses across a whole range of industry segments, contact your Aviva sales manager or local underwriter. 

Visit: broker.aviva.co.uk/midmarket

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