Top 5 Reasons You Should Be Using Digital Work Instructions

Digital and visual work instructions provide dynamic and up-to-date information to production workers for improved efficiency and smart manufacturing.

I can not lie. It has been a few years since I worked in a manufacturing workshop. However, I’d bet a lot of them are still littered with paper work orders, work instructions, and quality checklists. And frankly, I think it’s a shame.

If you don’t want to keep reading, don’t. But I ask you to imagine this: a production employee with a work order in hand, revised to include the artwork the client just signed just a few hours ago. A maintenance video walks him through the machine setup and highlights this problem that keeps cropping up and what to do about it. With the touch of a finger, the pictures show him whether or not the piece coming off the line is okay or not and highlight exactly what to watch out for.

Oh, and those raw materials he uses? They are related to the work order and maybe even retroactive inventory out of the system for precise inventory control and full end-to-end traceability. And that’s just the beginning.

In 2021, the project selection process is difficult, the pressure is strong and efficiency gains must be found. Here’s why digital work instructions should be at the top of the list.

  1. Management of revisions. It sounds like a small problem, but outdated instructions can lead to big headaches and even greater costs, often leading to non-conforming or “bad” production. Ensuring your operators have the latest version of work instructions is essential to reduce scrap rates and increase efficiency while avoiding ambiguity, tact and lack of accountability often caused by inaccurate or missing documents. . It also allows you to archive older versions for quick reference, convenient for traceability and quality control.
  2. Technique Mixte. Using mixed media such as pictures, videos and audio recordings allows you to provide clearer and more comprehensive information and examples. Machine setup and quality control guidelines are much easier to understand with video rather than just text on paper.
  3. Consistent training and better human resource planning. Verbal training brings significant variability and inconsistency. Team leaders, supervisors and quality technicians often get tired of constant training and have a lot on their minds as they try to communicate and make sure all the details are understood as the instructor’s instructions. paper work cannot convey by themselves. Additional documents, such as user guides and manuals, can further assist your operators. Most importantly, training and certification tracking can be a valuable tool for supervisors or plant managers who are planning the allocation of their workforce.
  4. Improved quality control procedures. Digital QA guidance can mitigate risk and improve production efficiency by systematically capturing and sharing your organization’s best practices and most critical information. For example, images of “acceptable” and “unacceptable” parts can be attached to work orders, checklists can be linked to work instructions, and workers can be asked to upload images of final parts as proof of job.
  5. Traceability. Digital work instructions enable end-to-end traceability, from raw materials to finished products, a growing requirement for manufacturing facilities. Traceability allows rapid and complete containment of the “bad” product in the event of a contamination or recall problem.

Many moons ago, when the clock was about to strike midnight in the year 2000, I spent my days in the production floor training employees on a new workshop system. These employees knew the ins and outs of the machines they had to operate: large plastic extruders, complex coil presses, and rickety old processing machines that took on a special touch. But they wanted their pen and their paper.

Old habits die hard, and when you’ve got a schedule to stick to and a million issues to deal with, implementing new systems is better, well, headaches, not to mention a good comeback. investment. Again, if I were a wagering woman, I would bet that digital work instructions are worth your attention.

If you’re ready to dive even deeper into Industry 4.0, smart tools can be connected through IoT, where an abundance of possibilities and the power of AI await.

About Donnie R. Losey

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