Across the globe, automotive manufacturing represents a massive ecosystem. In Europe it supplies 3.3 million jobs—almost 11% of the EU’s entire manufacturing employment base—and produces nearly one quarter of the world’s automobiles.1 In the United States, automotive production is the largest manufacturing sector representing 7.25 million American jobs and 3.8 percent of private-sector employment.2 And in Asia, the three heavyweights—China, Japan, and Korea—represent 42 percent of the global production market.3
Holding onto their leadership positions requires automotive manufacturers to relentlessly strive to improve processes, efficiency, and real-time visibility into manufacturing operations. And increasingly, automotive manufacturing leaders are relying on the power of video—and intelligent enterprise video platforms—to drive these improvements. With this in mind, let’s take a brief look at four innovative ways video is being used in automotive manufacturing.
#1: Troubleshooting and Process Improvement
According to Cisco, unplanned downtime can cost manufacturers as much as $20,000 a minute. Video is a powerful tool to bring experts together with real-time footage of challenges or stoppages as they happen. An engineer can quickly capture video of an issue, ask other experts for advice, and collaboratively resolve the problem right on the spot. And once the issue is resolved, a quick report—also video-based—can be created to walk the next shift through both the issue and its resolution.
“Increasingly, virtual reality and video solutions are being used to connect remote machine experts, in real-time, to assist with troubleshooting and repairs.” 4 Cisco
Along these lines, wearables such as Google Glass Enterprise Edition have found a home in manufacturing environments, particularly for troubleshooting and pre-emptive maintenance. These augmented reality (AR) tools allow on-site technicians to capture and share real-time, point of view (POV) video while their hands are free to perform maintenance activities. Support center experts see exactly what the onsite tech sees while capturing part number and other data automatically. Plus, the support center can send relevant information and video clips back to the tech’s wearable device.
#2: Training and Development
In a competitive and high-skill labor market, companies are constantly scrambling to accelerate the speed to knowledge for new employees. And who better to transfer knowledge than a senior technician or maintenance expert? Short-form video training modules give these highly-skilled workers a quick and efficient way to document what they know, then pass it along for new employees to benefit from.
And with current video technology and the high quality of mobile device cameras, there is no need for a video production crew. Today’s learners benefit most from quick-hitting insights, produced organically and accessible on demand. Some of the most effective training videos are captured with smart phones, tablets or wearable devices, providing a highly nimble, and pragmatic source of content for continual learning and improvement. And with the right content management system supporting it, any knowledge captured via video can become a searchable, manageable and easily sharable asset.
#3: Monitoring Facilities & Operations
As cameras become smarter, companies are also using video monitoring to analyze data. McKinsey & Company cites video analytics as one of the most promising Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to emerge, particularly in using video monitoring for optimizing operations. Cameras equipped with sensors can recognize people, objects and events, and rapidly produce data for standardizing operations across manufacturing facilities and even predictive maintenance.
“Overall, the largest total available market for video analytics will involve optimizing operations in cities and factories—currently its most popular application…” 5 McKinsey & Company Insights
More than ever, companies have to ensure that their people and facilities—no matter what continent they’re on—are protected. Video in the form of CCTV plays a big role in securing facilities by allowing around-the-clock monitoring to both prevent and capture incidents ranging from accidents to break-ins to abusive behavior. Security video can deploy automated workflow for archiving, complying with corporate policies, and adding metadata.
#4: Real-Time Communication
According to SCM World,6 more than one third of manufacturers surveyed see video on the plant floor as a technology that supports smart manufacturing. Production line employees are using video to communicate and collaborate visually with planners, engineers, tech support and executives. Video conferencing or unified communications allows virtual face-to-face meetings and exchanges that can be recorded and even broadcast to the entire team or company.
Video is also a powerful way to engage manufacturing employees in company strategy and corporate communications. Live enterprise-wide events, like town hall meetings, now reach thousands of global employees, including those on the factory floor. These events also present an important forum for celebrating manufacturing stories and successes, keeping it top of mind across the enterprise. As a result, organizations find themselves communicating much more frequently and freely—some of them hosting hundreds of live events per year.
Wrapping it Up
Automotive manufacturers across the globe are facing immense pressure to drive down costs and increase efficiency. Although leveraging the power of video is not the first thing that comes to mind when seeking a competitive edge, the fact is video is already helping leading automotive manufacturers take innovative new approaches to troubleshooting, process improvement, training, communication and more. And with the increased visibility and collaboration video provides, manufacturers who do not leverage it are—and will continue to be—at a significant disadvantage to their peers.
1 European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, Safeguarding auto industry competitiveness amidst Brexit and CO2 policy concerns. 2018/01/31
2 Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, https://autoalliance.org/economy/
3 Statista, Automobile Industry in the Asia Pacific Region
4 Cisco Blog, This is the solution to troubleshooting on your factory floor. 2017/06/19
5 McKinsey & Company, Video Meets the Internet of Things, 2016/12
6 SCM World, Become a Smarter Manufacturer, 2016/11