All industrial businesses rely on documented work instructions in some form. While some businesses see no value beyond passing an audit, others leverage work instructions to drive operational excellence and innovation.
After working with hundreds of organizations, we've collected four proven strategies to help you get more value out of your work instructions.
Update Your Work Instructions Constantly
Work instructions age quickly. Operators frequently have to adapt their workflow to solve normal, day-to-day problems. If the documentation doesn't follow along, it quickly becomes outdated and neglected, with nearly 78% of manufacturers are using outdated or ineffective work instructions.
In order to get more out of your work instructions, make sure that all documented procedures reflect the current best practices. Perform routine audits and ask operators if they're still following the documented procedures.
Oftentimes by documenting the real work on the floor, you can identify inefficiencies and improve the procedures in the process. Capturing and updating this knowledge on a regular basis is key to sustaining any long-term gains.
"In the same amount of time, we now keep twice as many SOPs up to date."
Director of Strategic Development, AML Oceanographic
Make Accessibility a Priority
Information should be simple to find and easy to access in any work environment. Make your work instructions as accessible as possible by delivering them in a digital format.
Work instructions that are tethered to large paper binder, or hidden in complex content management systems, restrict the flow of information. Even worse, operators have to pause their work and spend valuable time to find and transport the information.
Digital documentation tools are easily searchable and can leverage QR codes to instantly access relevant documents while on the shop floor. This provides real time-savings and ensures that workers on the job have access to accurate information anywhere.
"To get the information that people need, right where the work is being done, is so impactful for us. Dozuki has been a game-changer."
Learning & Development Change Coach, Johnsonville
Eliminate Tribal Knowledge
Many companies rely on a handful of experienced workers to share important information. As these experts retire, they take their valuable knowledge with them.
This "brain drain" creates significant productivity losses for organization unable to capture the expertise of their workforce. Eliminate tribal knowledge by documenting the expertise of your most valuable employees directly within your work instructions.
The skills gap is only going to get wider. This shifting workforce is creating a threat for industrial companies, but digital solutions exist to help by plugging gaps and capturing expert knowledge before it's gone.
The incoming workforce is thoroughly skilled in digital interfaces and your experts don't have time to constantly train people. Businesses should seeks to capitalize on this inclination as a way to bridge the generation divide between experienced employees and the new workforce.
Connect Work Instructions to Employee Performance
Get more out of your work instructions by using them to train employees to thedocumented standards. This will ensure that operators are always onboarding, cross-training, and re-training to the current best practice.
Leverage your controlled procedures as the core of your training program. Work Instructions can become an integral part of how you learn new skills, test for competency, and implement process improvements.
Curriculum in Dozuki can be built using documented standards, with automatic retraining assigned as updates are made and approved. Easily assign training to employees as they move across shifts or job functions.
"We've eliminated the conference room simulations. We want you to go see the equipment, we want you to have an instructor with digital work instructions that are detailed and visual. This really makes a difference. People feel confident from day one."
Manager of Operational Technology, 3M
The Evolution of Digital Work Instructions
Digital work instructions have evolved far beyond electronic file systems. Boost employee performance with easy to access documentation that provides a standard and central knowledge hub for your company.
Getting more out of your work instructions requires an investment in modern tools built specifically for industrial businesses and the unique challenges that they face.