Beyond traditional security and surveillance applications, video cameras in manufacturing and assembly environments are tools used to improve personnel management, maintain safety, reduce liability and optimize efficiency. Production and operations managers looking to reduce costs or tighten timelines can deploy cameras in their factory or plant.
Depending on your needs, there are many ways cameras might help improve your business. Here are five ways security cameras can be used to improve manufacturing:
1. Improve Compliance
In manufacturing, cutting process time in each step of production and using input resources at 100% are constant focus areas. When a supervisor is on the floor, workers are likely to follow established processes and procedures just as they were trained to do. However, what happens once the boss is gone? Observation with an HD camera can help managers identify personnel who may need additional training.
Video cameras never take a day off and can be on the job as long they’re needed. This around-the-clock monitoring when supervisors can’t be present also creates opportunities for capturing actual footage that can be reviewed with employees, or to aid in trainings and facilitate improvements.
2. Enhance Safety and Quality Control
In industrial settings, there is little that is more important than maintaining safety on the shop floor. Video observation can help operations managers spot unsafe practices or activities and make any necessary changes proactively before injury or liability becomes an issue.
In addition to protecting the well-being of employees, safety is also critical for consumers in certain scenarios. For example, in food processing facilities, safety monitoring is vital in maintaining quality control and preventing foodborne illness. Video can help ensure unintended foreign matter or potential allergens do not enter the production line. Video monitoring is a tool that also provides insight into automated processes in manufacturing, preventing unfortunate product recalls.
3. Identify Production Bottlenecks
If a manager had cameras on Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory, we’d have a lot fewer laughs in our TV reruns, but Lucy wouldn’t have eaten up the candy company’s profits, either. In all seriousness, video cameras can help identify jam-ups on the line and pinpoint where raw material supplies are running low.
Monitoring the process through video can be equally helpful to the employees if the video is displayed where they can see it. Focus a camera on the loading dock and workers will be able to see when a critical delivery is made so they can prepare to deploy to the appropriate workstations.
4. Continuous Improvement
Are there processes that need to be improved? The Time and Motion Study has been employed as a technique to optimize business efficiency since the late 1800s. Today, HD cameras and video observation are additional tools that help managers identify such opportunities.
For example, by analyzing workplace footage managers can observe if employees are walking too far or reaching too high to be efficient. In addition, this footage can even be reviewed in slow motion to catch details that are unseen by the naked eye.
5. Getting “Caught in the Act”
The use of cameras should not be centered on catching employees making mistakes or doing a poor job. Video observation can also be used to reward employees for going above and beyond in the workplace or being helpful to coworkers. Catch team members doing well and reward their behavior with a gift card, pay bonus, or additional paid time off.
Stick to Best Practices
No matter how you use cameras in the workplace, best practices – and in many cases, state or local laws – dictate that employees must be informed when and where video cameras are in use. Using cameras in certain areas, such as changing rooms or restroom facilities, is also prohibited by law in some states. Avoid lawsuits or becoming a “monitoring-gone-wrong” story by knowing which regulations are in place in your area. When in doubt, check with your state labor agency for more information.