Whether you believe it or not, we are all now part of the digital world. Whether it’s buying, preparing, or repairing something, everything is achievable through technology. However, industrial enterprises seem to be lagging behind in this digital journey, as some factory floors still rely on traditional paper-based instructions rather than digital work instructions.
Traditional work instructions can be lengthy, prone to errors, and sometimes leave workers confused and frustrated. Work instruction software, on the other hand, offers numerous benefits. Here are a few reasons why you should make the switch to electronic work instructions. By digitizing your work instructions, you can take a significant step towards Industry 4.0. We’ve listed the most impactful benefits of digital work instructions for you. Let’s explore them.
10 Benefits of Digital Work Instructions
Before we jump into the benefits of digital work instructions, let’s have a quick look at its basic definition:
Digital work instructions are an electronic version of the text-based work instructions available to the workers. Unlike text variants, manuals, and SOPs, digital work instructions have a visual aid and real-time synchronized information that can help frontline workers to handle industrial tasks easily and quickly.
Digital work instruction software is the one that is used to generate, manage, and distribute work instructions to the workers and the staff. This software has numerous features like a centralized repository, mobile device compatibility, create checklists, choose datatypes, etc. These comprehensive features empower digital work instruction software to offer the following benefits:
#1 Efficient and Faster Training
There can be numerous machinery in your manufacturing plants, like electronic lathes, welding arks, assembling tools, etc. Instead of relying on text-based instruction and manuals, organizations can easily create digital work instructions with images and videos about each of these machines to train manufacturing operators. This clearly illustrates each step of the machine operation and assembly process. Let’s take an example of an operator performing a task hands-free with the help of digital work instructions.
By creating information in a visual step-by-step guidance, trainees can easily understand the procedures involved in using different machinery. Further, they can quickly access the work instructions they need, which saves a lot of time. The case study of Expleo is a great example of this.
#2 Retain Tribal Knowledge
The manufacturing industry must address emerging workforce challenges as the retirement of baby boomers from the industry leads to a widening skills gap.
“About 2.4 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled by 2028, while 78% of manufacturing leaders are worried about an aging workforce.”
In this scenario, digital work instructions can be savior and can retain knowledge, preventing the loss of invaluable insights and expertise.
Moreover, with digitizing your manufacturing operations you can manage and update SOPs easily. As a result, your workforce is always provided with updated information anytime anywhere.
#3 Reduced Errors
One of the most significant advantages of digital work instructions is that they eliminate errors on the factory floor. Unlike traditional paper-based instructions, which might be difficult to locate, digital instructions are at the operators’ fingertips. With digitized instructions, operators can easily access and check each step. This accessibility ensures that operators can take the necessary care to avoid mistakes and efficiently execute their tasks.
In addition, digital instructions are easily updated and modified, this ensures that the frontline workforce is working with the most recent and updated work instructions. This reduces the possibility of errors while repairing, maintaining, and assembling the machinery. As a result, the firm saves resources and time.
#4 Boosts productivity
A single mistake in reading the instructions can lead to catastrophic machine failures. Moreover, machines keep upgrading with time. In that case, you may have to get a new set of manuals printed with new work instructions.
On the other hand, digital work instructions can be updated in a few minutes as they are hosted on the central repository online. Moreover, operators can download any inspection reports and share them with ease. This feature streamlines collaboration and communication by allowing workers to access and distribute vital information with just a few clicks. These digital work instructions can be accessed on a phone or tablet, so they are surefire to boost productivity.
#5 Enhanced Accessibility and Control
Digitized work instructions are accessible via various devices like smartphones, laptops, and AR smart glasses. This means that workers can access the information anywhere. They don’t need to go to a specific area, to access the crucial documents. Also, digital work instructions solutions are great in terms of searchability. Operators can search for the specific document they need.
Moreover, QR codes are pretty popular out there. Now workers can get work instructions on the factory floor by just scanning a QR code. Almost every digital work instruction software out there today provides this facility. Unlike traditional text-based manuals, you won’t have to rush to the back office of the factory floor to gain access to the manual.
You can easily scan the QR provided on the machine, and the manual will appear on your mobile phone or tablet, in turn enhancing accessibility.
#6 Boosts Employee Performance
As per a study, 23% of unplanned downtime is backed by human error. Most of these human errors are caused by improper training. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that the training material is designed carefully. With digital work instructions, you can boost employee performance significantly.
The step-by-step process, along with images of the machinery, ensures accurate handling, assembly, and troubleshooting.
#7 Collect Data Insights
Digital work instruction software has the feature of keeping analytics about the process. Prompts can be added to the processes to check timing, quality issues, and other aspects. Based on the acquired data, necessary actions can be taken to further streamline and improve the process.
#8 Better Safety
If we uncover some stats, 80 to 90% of serious workplace injuries are caused due to human error. And just like mentioned above, human error is caused by improper instruction and guidelines. When work instructions are presented digitally, it can be more easily understandable and updated, ensuring that workers have access to the latest and most accurate information.
When there are guidelines and annotations in the video’s visuals, it becomes easier for the frontline workers to handle the equipment safely.
#9 Cost Saving
The cost-saving aspect of digital work instructions works in various ways. In one way, the digital work instructions will eliminate the need to print text-based manuals and SOPs. Thus, you can save on printing costs, paper costs, and other supplies.
In other ways, the availability of digital work instructions allows the workers to operate the machine in the right way. This ensures the correct usage of machinery without any damage. Hence, saving on repair costs.
#10 Integrate Digital Work Instructions into a Wider Automation System
Integrating digital work instructions into automation systems including ERP, MES, or LIMS systems, allows for a more efficient workflow and better experience. This integration also allows the export and import of data directly and can easily generate reports.
In addition, your frontline workforce gains real-time visibility into the tasks and requirements for each day. Operators can access the information they need at any time, reducing unnecessary delays and errors.
How Plutomen’s Digital Work Instructions Solutions Can Help
These are just a few benefits of implementing digital work instructions in your manufacturing industry. To enhance productivity and tackle some of the most pressing workforce issues in manufacturing, we need to switch from paper to electronic work instructions; it will not only reduce costs but also minimize errors.
However, it is advisable to choose the solution that fits your organization’s needs. With Plutomen Workflow you can easily digitize your frontline checklists, SOPs, and instructions – all in one place. With the ability to provide visual aids and real-time information, digital work instructions enhance training effectiveness and reduce errors. They even contribute to reducing changeover times, improving accessibility and control, boosting employee performance, and collecting valuable data insights for process optimization.
In addition, it creates a centralized knowledge base that the frontline workforce can access on any device like smart glasses, tablets, phones, or laptops, anywhere anytime.
Plutomen workflow is a user-friendly digital work instructions software that can help industrial enterprises improve their efficiency, quality, and safety.
Work instructions are important as there is less chance of something going wrong and reduced errors. Additionally, it increases productivity because work instructions make sure that everyone performing a task knows and understands the optimal approach to complete it. It provides clear, step-by-step guidance for tasks, ensuring consistency, quality, and safety in work processes.
Digital work instructions benefit manufacturing by creating a more productive workforce that values detail, quality, and continuous learning. It provides up-to-date, and easily accessible guidance to workers enabling faster training and adaptation to changing manufacturing operations.
With 10+ years' experience of Hiren Kanani has helped Plutomen ensure smooth communication between the company and the client for swift project delivery with fewer iterations. He is CTO & founder at Plutomen.
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