Utilizing Video Cameras for Shop Updates

May 1, 2015
Frank Rinaudo installed video cameras throughout the shop to streamline updates

The Inspiration: Frank Rinaudo says he is always trying to streamline processes at his shop, Frank’s Accurate Body Shop in Slidell, La. One of the biggest sources of inefficiency in the shop was the amount of time spent walking from the front office to the shop floor for status updates. Because the shop is divided into two separate buildings, Rinaudo says that staff members were spending significant portions of the day walking back and forth between buildings.

“In order to go see where every car is, somebody had to walk back there and look,” he says.

Although their management system updates to show which repair stage a vehicle is in, he says he was still looking for a quick visual tool that required no extra work for any staff members.

What It Does: The shop utilizes 16 cameras that are on constant surveillance throughout the building and the parking lot.

Rinaudo had cameras installed in the following bays: repair planning, heavy body, light body queue, light body, spray booths, reassembly and detail. 

“We’re doing the flow line, so there’s a specific type of work done in certain bays,” he says. “There’s cameras on all of those bays.”

The camera feeds transmit to a computer monitor behind the front desk and another one above the parts manager’s desk. 

Throughout the day, front office personnel are able to check the cameras when customers call for vehicle status updates, update the management system or answer questions from other staff members about a vehicle’s status in the shop.

“They can instantly see when a vehicle is in that bay,” he says. “They know what work is being done to it and what stage of the process it’s in without having to walk through the shop and get updates. It’s a visual tool without having to get up and leave their desk to be able to constantly monitor what vehicles are in what stage of the process.”

In addition, Rinaudo is able to access the feeds through an app on his phone, allowing him to see shop updates on the go. The app came free through Vitek, the company from which he purchased the cameras.

How It’s Made: Rinaudo purchased the cameras from an electronics wholesaler. Then, he had an IT consultant come in to install the cameras and to set up the front desk computer to handle a live streaming video feed. Rinaudo says the computers had to be upgraded to greater bandwidth capable of supporting live video. 

The Cost: $3,000 for the cameras and an additional $1,000 for the installation.

The ROI: While the return can be difficult to calculate for the cameras, Rinaudo says the ROI is directly related to the amount of time saved throughout the day. 

“It’s a huge time saver,” he says. “I would estimate up to one hour a day for the whole team.”