So it doesn’t have quite as catchy a ring to it as The Buggles song; even so, what they sang 40 years ago is true today: Pictures came and broke your heart. But this time it’s not about video dashing the hopes of a homely musician with the voice of an angel. I’m talking about the way video is completely transforming manual assembly. From how it’s performed, to how it’s measured, to how continuous improvement happens, video has fundamentally transformed manual assembly forever. Here’s how:

Transformation No. 1: How work is performed

Video systems on assembly lines have provided line associates with a few key assets they didn’t have before. First, they can point to proof positive that an error or defect was not caused by them. Second, their efforts to improve standardized work are spotted and recognized. Third, in some instances, video can help ensure critical assembly steps aren’t missed. The feedback we’ve had from line associates has been resoundingly positive; they want to do a good job, they want to be recognized for their work and they want to ensure that blame doesn’t fall on them when they don’t deserve it. 

Transformation No. 2: How work is measured

Video enables manufacturers to measure assembly processes more precisely and efficiently than ever before. Rather than having an industrial engineer conduct time and motion studies, video presents the line to the engineer wherever he or she is. Layering Drishti AI on top, the video is automatically parsed and the data is presented in clear, succinct charts and graphs, which illustrate where improvements should be made in the form of training, revising standardized work, process improvements and more. 

Transformation No. 3: How work is continuously improved

Imagine having video footage on every single unit that your line has made, and video of that part being assembled at every single station on its journey. You could identify defects before they escape, or drastically cut root cause investigations from weeks to hours. You could use best practice videos to train, and flag when someone needs help to ensure he or she is getting extra attention. You could even shorten the time it takes to conduct kaizens, making them less costly, time consuming and dreaded. All of those changes mean more improvements on the line, more quickly, with less effort and greater impact.

All because of video.