4 ways automotive manufacturers are building the digital workplace with video

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Automotive manufacturing represents a huge ecosystem globally. In Europe it supplies 3.3 million jobs—almost 11 per cent of the EU’s entire manufacturing employment base—and produces nearly one quarter of the world’s automobiles (source: European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, Safeguarding auto industry competitiveness amidst Brexit and CO2 policy concerns. 2018/01/31).  

In the United States, automotive production is the largest manufacturing sector representing 7.25 million American jobs and 3.8 per cent of private-sector employment (source: Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers) and in Asia, according to Statista’s Automobile Industry in the Asia Pacific Region, the three heavyweights—China, Japan and Korea—represent 42 per cent of the global production market.

The emerging use of video in automotive manufacturing

The widespread popularity gained by consumer live video platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Periscope and Instagram Live is more than trickling down into the enterprise, creating huge demand for enterprise video platforms across all verticals and the automotive sector is not immune to this trend.

Holding onto their leadership positions requires automotive manufacturers to relentlessly strive to improve processes and boost 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. There are a number of innovative ways video is currently being used in automotive manufacturing. Let’s take a brief look at the four more significant ones:

1: Troubleshooting, process improvement and repairs

Unplanned downtime is expensive. According to Cisco, it can cost manufacturers as much as $20,000 a minute. Video is a powerful tool that can bring experts together with real time footage of challenges or stoppages as they happen, enabling engineers to 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.

Along these lines, wearables such as Google Glass Enterprise Edition have found a home in manufacturing environments, in particular 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 centre experts see exactly what the onsite tech sees while capturing part number and other data automatically. In addition to that, the support centre can send relevant information and video clips back to the tech’s wearable device.

2: Training and development

With the current labour market being so competitive and high-skill, companies are constantly scrambling to accelerate the speed to knowledge for new employees. And who’s better suited 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 learn and benefit from.

It should also be pointed out that, 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 – most importantly - 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.  With the right content management system supporting it, any knowledge captured via video can become a searchable, manageable and easily digestible and sharable asset.

3: Video analytics - monitoring facilities and operations

As cameras become smarter and more sophisticated, companies are also using video monitoring to analyse data. McKinsey & Company cites video analytics as one of the most promising Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to have recently emerged, particularly in using video monitoring for optimising operations. Cameras equipped with sensors not only recognise people but objects and events too and can rapidly produce data for standardising operations across manufacturing facilities and even predictive maintenance.

Now 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 behaviour. Security video can deploy automated workflow for archiving, complying with corporate policies and adding metadata.

4: Real-time communication

According to recent SCM World research, 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 professionals and executives. Video conferencing or unified communications make virtual face-to-face meetings and exchanges possible that can be recorded and even broadcast to the entire team or to the entire company.

Video is also a powerful way to engage manufacturing employees in company strategy, corporate and crisis communications. Live enterprise-wide events, like for instance town hall meetings or executive webcasts, now reach thousands of employees across the globe, including those on the factory floor. These events also present an important forum for sharing manufacturing stories, celebrating successes and also analysing failures, keeping them top of mind across the enterprise. As a result, organisations find themselves communicating much more frequently and freely—some of them hosting hundreds of live events per year.

Wrapping it all 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 provides increased visibility and improved collaboration and is already helping leading automotive manufacturers take innovative new approaches to troubleshooting, process improvement, training, communication and more.

Paul Herdman, Vice President, Qumu EMEA
Image Credit: Photographee.eu / Shutterstock