Collecting Teachable Moments

Problem Statement

Things happen in factories and in any industrial facility. Much of the activity is planned and organized and occurs the way it is intended. However, there are always some anomalies, strange occurrences, breakdowns, and mistakes. One of the things that can set a good operation apart from its competitors is if its staff can react to those surprises faster and more effectively. The problem is how to prepare the staff to handle “rare events”. A time-tested method is to stage “drills” to practice for these situations … but that’s expensive and it draws resources from producing the product or service. It would be better if you could show them a video of the situation and work as a group on how to handle it … but where do you get videos like that? Planning and staging one of these would be probably be more time-consuming and expensive than staging a live drill on the line.


Assume that you have installed a video system for operations with a few overlapping 4K cameras and numbers of HD cameras at localized points of interest. Assume further that you are recording and retaining the video feeds from all of these cameras for weeks, months or even longer. 


If you have a system like this, it will see pretty much everything that happens in your facility. If it isn’t caught by the locally focused cameras, it should appear on one of the high resolution overview cameras and everything will be store on a video server. When something happens, like a line shut down, an accident, or a flow disruption, odds are you will have a pretty good view (or views) somewhere on the video server.  This clip is the type of event that a system might find. It shows workers trying to deal with a sudden line stoppage when the flow of product into the task cannot be stopped.

Find the video clips for these types of situations, then export and repackage them to serve as teaching examples. Show them in training courses and invite students to consider how they should be handled. Let the students suggest, argue and discuss … then show how the company wants things done. Build a library of video examples because some events only happen occasionally, but your workers need to be ready when they do.  Finally, take use the video clips to illustrate and justify the policies and SOPs that you will use to defend against them.

The secret ingredient to this idea is the way the video operations system is permanently recording everything. You don’t have to “stage” examples because you can replay the real situations exactly as they really happened … and those examples are in the video record … so they are effectively free.

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