Some Cool Video Technology for Standardized Work & Error Proofing


I recently ran across a Michigan startup company called OPS Solutions that has some interesting technology that could be applied in many settings for standardized work and error proofing applications. Michigan is my home state and I'm always interested in new companies there, so I had a chance to talk to two guys from the company.

I decided this was something worth sharing on the blog to get your input and ideas. As with some other posts, this is not an advertisement or endorsement.

The general idea is to use a DLP projector (or more than one) to project visual information right onto the workplace. This information can be dynamic can include all sorts of visuals and even moving video to serve as a reminder of how work is done (see below):

You can project right onto parts that you are working on or you can use the light guidance to help people choose the correct parts to pick (sort of the same function as a fixed pick-to-light system or light curtains that might help error proof against picking the wrong parts).

A technology like this lends itself to video to understand how it works. Here is a fun example on YouTube that illustrates making a gin & tonic. It's not quite the “perfect” gin & tonic, but it demonstrates the concept:

So I think a technology like this (as with others) is only as good as the process and training that's built around it. The video shows that, in a real setting, might be a training problem. When it says “fill glass with ice,” one ice cube doesn't make for a really good G&T. I think a system like this can help serve as a reminder of good practices and a work sequence, but it wouldn't be a substitute for training. I'd still want to train the bartender using a Training Within Industry “Job Instruction” methodology – making sure they understand key points, etc.

You can watch other videos on their OPS Solutions website (requires WMV file download, so a bit harder to get access to) of their technology in real settings. It's cool to see how you can display work instructions or guidelines right ON a production part, for example. It's also easy to think of possible uses in an Operating Room or other healthcare settings.

What do you think? Do you see potential uses for a technology like this?

What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn.

Don't want to miss a post or podcast? Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
  1. Arnout Orelio says

    Hi Mark, Nice little video. I believe Microsoft actually made a simular video for Healthcare (and how it could look like several years from now). of Healthcare with Microsoft. What do you think??

  2. jamie flinchbaugh says

    Useful? Probably not inside companies for application. But I think for consumers, it situations where the consumer is on their own and has to follow some instructions, then it could come in very handy. If my bartender needed instructions to make a gin and tonic though, I’d want a different bartender.

    1. Mark Graban says

      Their YouTube demo is pretty trivial and arguably a bit flawed. I saw more possibilities for this technology when watching more realistic examples on their website. It would be easier for people to view the videos if they’d put them on YouTube along with the bartender video.

  3. Cory Wagner says

    Mark . . . Any idea what they used to determine when each step was completed? Motion sensors? Weight sensors? Foot pedal? Other?

  4. Jeff Hajek says

    I think this technology, like many technologies, works against kaizen at the front line.
    If an operator figures out that the gin bottle should be 6 inches to the left, or designs a quick fixture to hold it inverted, the technology is immediately out of date. I suspect that there is a bit of a learning curve to synchronize the lights, so the operator who currently makes occasional changes will not make those little adjustments with the new system.
    It may work in a high-volume environment with a large ratio of support staff to frontline workers, but unless it is supremely easy to update, it could bring continuous improvement to a screeching halt.

    1. Mark Graban says

      Jeff – I understand your concern. I agree I would want a system like this to be as easy to update as any other form of standardized work should be update-able by the people doing the work.

      Like any technology, this is just a tool and needs to align with people and processes…. I wouldn’t go jamming this technology into place somewhere just to use it.

  5. Dean Willson says

    I noted a great application of this type of technology in my Sept 3 blog post. It can be used to help people at a supplier that are packing parts or subassemblies in a particular sequence so that when their customer unpacks them to assemble on their line the right parts are in the correct positions/unpack order.

  6. Andrew Bishop says

    Fun, but I’m always wary. We do so much better when we simplify rather than build more complex systems.

    A shot of 4-step training (a la TWI) for the barkeep would probably be cheaper and more sustainable.

    Thought provoking conversation, nonetheless – especially the Microsoft link provided by Arnout. I’m VERY wary…

  7. Matt says

    I wish this was available a few years ago as I would have used it to show placement of Point of Purchase materials in specific Quick service Restaurant types (i.e. window decal goes here, product poster goes here).

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.