BG design

The Serial Timeline

Tak Alguire
Co-founder & CEO of Serial
May 25, 2023
min read

Setting the stage

Devon, one of the Serial founders, used to work at a drone startup in Canada. Drones are relatively complex products with many mechanical and electrical sub-assemblies. One of this company’s many strengths was its ability to use product data to cut through the complexity and guide engineering or production decisions. Let’s walk through how an engineer like Devon might have been able to use Serial to turn this strength into a superpower. We’ll use a fictional example to tell the story, continuing our focus on drone manufacturing and quality testing.

A problem arises

A new production issue is causing a 13% increase in the failure rate at the test flight quality check. Devon jumps into Serial and enters the serial number of one of the failing drones. The Serial Timeline view loads the as-built context for this specific drone.

Unit Info

At a glance, Devon immediately confirms that this drone is experiencing some issues and  identifies the drone’s part number. A quick look through the production history confirms which manufacturing steps were completed and when.

Production Timeline

Shifting gears, Devon now runs through the production timeline tab looking for red flags. Nothing immediately pops up as problematic. He drills down into the test flight data entry and notices that the vibration is significantly higher than normal.

Design Timeline

His hunt takes him to the design tab, where he can see all of the part numbers for every specific component in the assembly tree of this drone. This view also summarizes part number metadata so he has the exact context of the 2D and 3D drawing revisions. His suspicions are confirmed when he discovers this drone is using a new revision propeller design. He quickly jumps into the Grid Builder which allows him to compare propeller part numbers with the flight test results for every drone ever produced. He finds that all of the most recent failing drones are using this new propeller. He flags the issue to the quality team and they begin a root cause analysis.


The Serial Timeline is the heart of our product. It addresses the lack of context that often plagues the manufacturing space and enables engineers to “replay” the lifetime of specific parts. We will cover the many different ways we collect this data in future blog posts.

Tak Alguire
Co-founder & CEO of Serial

Tak is the Co-founder & CEO of Serial. He has over 5 years of experience in manufacturing operations, notably working on the iPhone, Apple Watch and Vision Pro. He has firsthand experience deploying large-scale manufacturing data tools to empower engineers to make data-driven decisions. Now he wants to help all engineers save time and effort.