The principles of Six Sigma, LEAN, and Kaizen have changed the face of modern manufacturing.
Production facilities around the world today are now temples to efficiency. SCM and ERP operate JIT — today’s factory floor wastes not a machine, not a movement, and not a moment.
That unrelenting focus on efficiency is also what’s behind one more trend among today’s manufacturers:
Video is becoming a critical tool across virtually every aspect of manufacturers’ businesses. Among organizations large and small, old and new, local and global, video adoption rates are skyrocketing.
And it’s easy to see why — today’s manufacturers are in a state of constant movement, and now more than ever, they’re challenged to meet exacting standards without slowing for even a moment. It’s an environment that relies on eyesight and expertise as much as raw data — and that’s where video has become a welcome ally.
Video helps modern production facilities view their operations in a way spreadsheets can’t. It provides an objective view that can spotlight opportunities. And it offers a more visual, engaging way to connect management and workforce — in both directions.
How are Modern Manufacturers Using Video Today?
To Capture and Review Production Processes
Documenting a complete production process at most manufacturing facilities today can be almost impossible. The detail required often generates instruction manuals more akin to textbooks — that go out of date every time a step is altered or production standard revised.
Video offers a better option, helping businesses manufacturing virtually anything to easily record with multiple cameras and observe production processes in full, and requiring no more time than they actually take to happen. Such video documentation needn’t be expensive either — with Panopto, you can record any process anywhere with any camera — even a smartphone — and instantly upload it to a central video library where it can be shared and searched by anyone in the organization.
To Retain the Knowledge of Expert Employees
There is a crisis looming in the manufacturing industry — as veteran employees near retirement, organizations are about to lose untold amounts of institutional knowledge and subject matter expertise. How certain processes work, quick tips for on-site repairs, the tolerances of specific units, and dozens of other little facts only experience can teach — without an effective way to capture that information, businesses will only be able to watch as it walks out the door.
But video, of course, is that easy solution to capturing information — as highlighted in the New York Times, more and more companies are turning to video to capture the insights of their best employees, ensuring it will be searchable and sharable inside the organization even after the team member has moved on. Such video may be the secret to maintaining a competitive edge — and is often the single most useful way to train the next employee to follow in your subject matter expert’s footsteps.
To Identify Opportunities for Continuous Improvement
Faced with the challenge of continuous improvement, most manufacturers are on constant lookout for opportunities to fix, correct, optimize, tweak, or otherwise make their processes better, faster, or more efficient. Yet as virtually every production cycle remains a step-by-step process moving from person to person, building to building, and often country to country, it’s nearly impossible for a single viewer to get a comprehensive look at how everything works and where opportunities may lay to improve.
Again, video can provide a solution to this challenge. Manufacturers with documented processes may find that internal Six Sigma, LEAN, or Kaizen teams may be able to spot opportunities by watching videos of each process in sequence. Other organizations find opportunities not in the video content, but in the volume of recordings produced — if, for instance, a how-to video for working with a specific machine becomes popular, or several engineers take to recording demonstrations of best practices for certain processes, that alone could be a sign that there is an opportunity to improve.
To Enhance Safety, HR, and Skills Training
As processes become more intricate, and roles more complicated, regular, detailed, and accessible training has become essential for most manufacturing organizations. It’s no longer enough to leave a manual at an employee’s workstation, or to hold occasional in-person classes on a few select topics. In order to succeed, employees need access to as deep a library of training instructions and information as you can provide.
Fortunately, video makes it easy to build and share just such a library. Using no more than just a standard laptop webcam and PowerPoint, most businesses can easily record a vast amount of training material, which can be uploaded into Panopto and shared instantly with employees to view on any device. And there’s virtually no limit to what video training can teach — already Panopto customers use video to train on compliance requirements from HR, safety best practices, role-specific skills training, benefits planning, and almost anything else.
To Broadcast Events — Internally or Externally
Especially for larger organizations, events can be one of the most valuable communication tools in your arsenal. Internal events create opportunities for employees to gather and share expertise and best practices, as well as hear about new initiatives and strategies directly from management. External events can help boost sales activities, position your business as an industry thought leader, and raise your profile with investors, analysts, and the public. Events, however, have one serious limitation — they’re really only valuable to those who can attend. That’s no small issue — or small expense, for businesses paying to fly their own people out to the event location.
Here too video offers a solution. Panopto enables businesses to webcast video of conference sessions live online, allowing an audience of any size to attend events virtually. Likewise, recording event sessions and sharing them on a central video library enables anyone in a targeted audience to get the experience of attending the event anytime — even if they couldn’t make the original. Not only can video extend the reach of an event, it can help cut costs too — IBM has reported that adopting eLearning enabled the company to cut training costs by 40%.
Siemens has found that event recording doesn’t have to be complicated. Using only laptops and webcams, the company recorded more than 30 sessions at an internal event and made the resulting video available to everyone in the company in less than a week — a huge improvement over the company’s old method of contracting out with AV technology specialists. See how they did it in our Siemens case study.
To Bolster Marketing Activities and Events
When it comes to making a sale, most manufacturers operate within a labyrinth of partners, distributors, sales channels, and direct customers. All those different potential buyers have different needs, value different features, and are looking for different deals. Just about the only thing they have in common — it’s getting harder and harder to get any one of their attentions.
Video helps manufacturers amplify their messages — and the data is hard to ignore. Up to 85% of people are more likely to buy a product if they saw an explainer video first. Even just including the word “video” in an email subject line increases click-through rates about 10%. In an era where even dedicated channel partners may not have time to read your emails, video can help businesses break through. Best of all, because video is a visually rich format, even a simple video recording can often better demonstrate what sets your products, features, and processes apart better than even the best brochures or flyers.
To Amplify Corporate Communications
With many — if not most — of their employees positioned at workstations and not in front of an email inbox all day, manufacturers are in particular need of a tool that can help ensure internal communications are seen.
Research indicates video can help. Forrester notes that employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than read an email. This means that simple video presentations can be a more effective way for manufacturers to reach their team members with messages from HR, the CEO, or any other group inside the organization. And without the lengthy process of writing, editing, revising, and scheduling text emails, video communications can often be faster to develop too — just click record, present, and upload the final file to a Panopto video library where it can be shared automatically.
To Maintain a Central, Secure Library of Video Assets
No matter how any given manufacturer uses video most often, in the end, nearly every one creates a robust library of video files in the process. Panopto is the only video platform that integrates best-of-breed recording and webcasting with a secure video library. All of your Panopto recordings and live webcasts are automatically uploaded into the library and converted for optimal viewing on any computer, tablet, or smartphone. Pre-recorded videos can also be uploaded and converted for playback on any device.
And as the video library grows, Panopto provides a unique video search engine that makes finding information inside your videos as easy as searching for content within email and documents. Simply enter a phrase like forklift safety into Panopto’s video search engine – you’ll find every relevant recording in your collection and be able to fast-forward to each point in your videos where the term is mentioned (click here to try the search yourself).
This article was originally published on Panopto’s blog