How to Write Efficient Manufacturing Work Instructions?
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We are in the middle of Industry 4.0 – a world that is making manufacturing faster, digital, and safer at an unprecedented rate.
Of course, making this transition is not easy but with assistance and training, it is achievable. Transferring knowledge to your workforce is essential. As jobs in the manufacturing industry become more digitized and the global supply chain more complicated – it is time to effectively distribute work and deliver knowledge to your workers.
But before that, ask yourself:
Do you want to increase your employee’s daily productivity?
Do you want to smoothen your manufacturing processes?
Do you want to increase the efficiency of your operations?
If the answer to all your questions is Yes, then you are at the right place.
To achieve everything stated above you need work instructions in manufacturing.
In this blog, we will help you understand:
What are work instructions in manufacturing?
How to create work instructions in manufacturing?
What are the examples of manufacturing work instructions?
What are Manufacturing Work Instructions?
Every business process, operation, and procedure need a set of instructions to work seamlessly. However, when it comes to manufacturing work instructions, they are a bit unique by nature and different for various industries.
These work instructions are interactive, have visuals to transform information effortlessly, and are user-friendly so that industrial workers can use them with ease. They impart knowledge to all your frontline workers and ensure quality threshold for mass production.
However, what is the clear purpose of manufacturing work instruction?
The purpose of manufacturing work instructions is to aid your enterprise’s production process for quality products.
While there are many things you must consider in detail while creating your work instructions, you should adhere to:
The seamless operations flow of your smart factory with periodic and predictive maintenance of complex machinery and equipment.
The final product should match the standardized guidelines set by industry experts, leaders, and the government.
But two more factors make work instructions important for the manufacturing industry. These are:
Continuous improvement in your manufacturing cycle and work instructions to aid frontline workers
Eliminating the waste of time, resources, money, and labor on unnecessary practices.
To put it together, manufacturing work instructions are all about the standardization of rules and resources to get quality output. Often, we have seen too many manufacturers producing the same product, but it is the quality that counts. A quality product will be a hero among the masses and will give your enterprise a better reputation in the market. Thus, you must emphasize the standardization of your work instructions.
By providing to-the-point work instructions to your workers you can achieve:
Continuously improving processes
Increasing operational efficiency and safety
Reducing machine downtime and equipment changeover time
Effective training procedures
Getting a more motivated workforce in return
Now, you must be curious to know, what’s included in work instructions. Let’s learn about it in our next section.
For example, shortage of certain raw materials for mass production or the absence of a supervisor from the assembly line. This can put your manufacturing on hold and lead to downtimes.
Fortunately, the manufacturing work instructions guide created by your supervisors, internal teams and other industry experts already includes contingency plans to follow through.
However, the main framework of your work instructions includes:
Your work instructions should always be updated with the latest safety and standardization requirements. These guidelines can vary from one production line to another, but certain specific rules will be the same like safety precautions and they should be followed religiously.
Since visual work instructions, digitized SOPs, paperless guides and manuals are a big part of smart factory, so make sure that all your visuals are in HD format. They should include all the microinstructions for your frontline workers so that they can produce quality products. Not just that they will also simplify the process for workers to follow through and increase their engagement too.
These interactive elements will include all the minor details that a worker needs while solving a particular issue. It is like a supervisor’s aid that will helps workers to solve their errors. Your workers are bound to make errors, especially the ones that are newly hired. Thus, your work instructions guide should include elements that can help them fix those errors without much hassle.
Also, good manufacturing work instructions take time to develop and follow through. Thus, take your time and work on it.
We are pretty sure, that now you are curious about how to create these work instructions in manufacturing. Thus, in our next section, we will discuss “how do you create work instructions in manufacturing?”
Many enterprises create manufacturing work instructions either from scratch or through a well-defined template. One tip we would recommend is to create digital work instructions so that frontline workers can access them via computer, mobile, or other wearable electronic devices.
The step-by-step visual instructions and elements will provide a better approach and experience for your frontline workers. Also, the well-defined structure of these work instructions is very important. It helps in keeping instructions:
These steps are used by manufacturers to continuously improve, optimize, and sustain processes and in maximizing the value of their manufacturing units.
Here are the steps to creating manufacturing work instructions:
Step 1: Write a clear title
Specify the goal of the work instruction with a crystal-clear title so that your frontline workers know whether it pertains to them or not. Do not forget to mention the procedure you are about to use.
Step 2: Design the steps to reach the goal
Once you have specified your goal, start working on designing your steps. Create a detailed design for every step as it will help your workers be familiar with the context of the task. It will also help them understand their roles and responsibilities to complete a particular task. While designing your steps, you will emphasize controlling the quality of your product and increasing the productivity of your employees.
Step 3: Add clear visuals to your step
Ensure that you lay complete instructions for your workers with HD visual elements like images, videos, charts, and 3D annotations in case of complex machines. Clear, concise, and easy-to-follow instructions will help your workers eliminate root-cause and enhance your performance.
Step 4: Add a short snippet of action-oriented text
While visual elements make your work instructions more engaging and interactive. A short snippet of the action-oriented task will only guide them and state whether they are on the right track or not.
Step 5: Edit and format your instructions
Once you have written your instructions, make sure to edit and format your template. Use heading tags, to make the title and subtitle easy to read. The instructions should be sequential. Also, while creating instructions ensure that you use visual elements and images so that your worker can easily understand them.
Step 6: Validate the information
You can accomplish this step by reaching out to experienced supervisors, employees, stakeholders, and experts who know how each to depart operates. They will share their thought process, give you advice, and confirm whether you are on the right track or not.
Step 7: Re-write & Simplify your instructions
The first draft will always lack something. That is why, after you have got your document validated by an expert, it’s time to re-write and simplify it. Through this, you will be able to integrate expert alteration in your instructions
Step 8: Save and Share
Once you are done drafting and revising your work instructions, you can save them and share them with your frontline workers, operators, and other technicians.
Now, that you know how to create work instructions in manufacturing for your enterprise, let’s move on to our next section.
In the next section, we will quote a few examples of manufacturing work instructions.
Evolution of Work Instructions to Digital Platforms
The advent of Industry 4.0 has brought significant transformations to work instructions in the manufacturing industry, transitioning from traditional paper binders to digital platforms. With the rise of the Smart Factory, work instructions have evolved into interactive software applications. This digitalization enables greater flexibility, improved efficiency, and enhanced collaboration among workers. Furthermore, the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) technology has revolutionized work instructions by connecting them directly to machinery. This integration enhances safety measures and precision, as real-time data from the machinery can be seamlessly incorporated into the work instructions, providing operators with accurate training and facilitating proactive maintenance. This evolution of work instructions to digital platforms reflects the ongoing drive for automation, connectivity, and optimization within the manufacturing sector.
Examples of Manufacturing Work Instructions
Here in this section, we will provide you with manufacturing work instructions examples and let you know how simple it is to frame them.
It’s the first day of your newly hired employee. But due to too much work pressure, there is nobody to help him around. Will you go a whole day with your new worker to waste, with zero productivity? Of course not!
So, what’s the solution? Providing them with a set list of instructions seems like a good idea, right? Let’s start!
Example 1: Suppose you are working in the food and beverage industry. You want them to start with the mass production process.
Your work instructions can be simple as:
Title: Production Process of Potato Chips
Step 1: Potatoes will unload in the conveyor
Step 2: From the conveyor, they will be moved to the automated peeler
(Tip: The peeler will consist of 6-7 cylinders made of abrasive material)
Step 3: Make sure that you inspect every potato is peeled off
Step 4: Next they will head to the slicer
Step 5: They will follow through the wash basket
Step 6: From there they move to the hot fryer to cook
Step 7: Inspect the chips once they come out of the fryer
Step 8: Then they are moved to barrel seasoner to add seasoning to the chips
Step 9: They will then fall into a scale to measure their portions
Step 10: After this, they are packaged into printed bags
Step 11: Lastly, they are put into a conveyor
With these simple steps, you can easily instruct your new worker how to handle automated machines without any hassle.
Example 2: If you want to prepare a divider then you, can instruct your customers with steps like:
Title: Prepare the Divider
Step 1: Attach the lock for LOTO
Step 2: Press the screen on your device and scroll to the part you will be working on
Step 3: Click on the button to loosen brake-lock
Step 4: Prepare your tools for use
Step 5: Turn your fingers in the upward direction in the machine, place the unlocked and turn it to left
Step 6: Ensure that the hollow side of the finger is in line with the bulging of the cans
Step 7: Use your equipment to tighten every finger
Step 8: Check the correct setting through the chart and schedule the finger of the machines accordingly
Step 9: Unlock the setting point 1
Step 10: Attach the tuning wheel to the set point and set it up properly.
See it’s that easy to create manufacturing work instructions for employees and guide them from start-to-finish. In our last section, we will just look at a few extra pointers you should be mindful of.
Last but not least thing is that your workforce is humans working in a potentially dangerous ecosystem. Thus, they can still make errors. So, make sure you provide them with additional information and a safe working ecosystem.
That’s where Informational Mapping comes in place. Through this, you can provide all the extra and essential information in an unobstructed way. You can just add a clickable icon on the side.
Here are a few information mapping forms, you can use:
Warning: You can include pointers that include safety or things to do before and after use
Tip: A more detailed description of the given step
Alternative Route: Another option to troubleshoot the issue
Fixes: Include all the quick fixes you have to come up with for past users
With all this guidance, we think you can start creating your work instructions instantly. So, when are you trying one?
A manufacturing work instruction is a detailed set of step-by-step instructions that guide workers on how to perform specific tasks or operations in the manufacturing process. It provides operators with clear directions, including key information such as materials, tools, equipment, safety precautions, and quality standards. Work instructions ensure consistency, accuracy, and efficiency in production by outlining the necessary procedures and guidelines for each task.
Creating work instructions involves a systematic process that includes analyzing the task or process, breaking it down into sequential steps, and documenting them in a clear and concise manner. Subject matter experts, such as engineers or experienced operators, often collaborate to develop work instructions. Visual aids like diagrams, images, and videos can be included to enhance comprehension. The instructions should be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect any process changes or improvements.
Work instructions are crucial in manufacturing for several reasons. They provide standardized procedures, ensuring consistency and quality in production. Work instructions also serve as a training resource for new employees, enabling them to quickly learn and perform tasks correctly. Additionally, they enhance safety by outlining precautionary measures and best practices. Work instructions improve efficiency and productivity by reducing errors, minimizing rework, and optimizing the use of resources.
Standard work instructions (SWIs) are a specific type of work instruction that define the most efficient and effective way to perform a particular task or process. They are based on careful analysis, time studies, and best practices. SWIs establish a baseline for consistency and quality by identifying the optimum sequence of steps, cycle times, and work content. They serve as a reference for operators to ensure standardized performance and continuous improvement, often forming the foundation for lean manufacturing practices. SWIs are regularly updated and refined to reflect process improvements and changing requirements.
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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