Hiren Kanani

Hiren Kanani

January 24, 2023 11 minutes to read

What are Digital SOPs and How to Create Them for Industrial Training?

What are Digital SOPs and How to Create Them for Industrial Training?

Poorly made SOPs can prove cumbersome for manufacturers in industrial training. A survey by the International Association of Operational Excellence Professionals found that 80% of organizations have SOPs in place but only 40% of them are effective. Poorly written, outdated or hard to understand SOPs can lead to confusion and mistakes among employees, resulting in downtime, increased errors, and decreased productivity. Furthermore, it can also lead to compliance issues and safety hazards. Digital SOPs can replace these poor SOPs by providing clear and concise instructions, multimedia elements, and real-time feedback which can improve the training process and increase productivity. Digital SOPs can also be easily updated and tracked for compliance, which can lead to a safer and more efficient work environment.

In this article, discover how game-changing can be the Digital SOP-based solutions and learn how to easily create them for your organization.

What are Digital SOPs?

Digital SOPs are instructional documents that breakdown a specific operating procedure into steps and is compatible with all devices. From flowcharts to checklists, these steps can be accessed anywhere at any time by your workforce. These digital SOPs guide your frontline workers in real-time to perform a repetitive and technical process in the organization.

Without these established guidelines, it will become impossible for your workers to complete a task within a particular timeline. With these SOPs in place, you can guarantee your workforce a safe and efficient ecosystem. It will help them reduce risks and incidents that can lead to a decrease in productivity and downtime.

An SOP creates consistency in your daily procedures and helps you deliver quality outcomes.

Benefits of Digital SOPs

With the use of Digital SOPs, industrial and manufacturing companies can run seamless operations, troubleshoot their issues, and produce quality outputs. Here are a few ways how digital SOPs can be beneficial for industrial training:

1. Simplified Documentation for More Exposure

Extensive documentation of your SOPs can be mundane. You need something more effective to keep a record of your daily operations. A digital SOP is a solution. Why? It gives you a step-by-step layout to carry forward your operation.

Not just that you can get real-time stamps once the frontline worker has completed a step. This helps you get access to all the information on your worker’s productivity and handling of operations in a single go.

2. Standardized Procedures to Minimize Risks

With digital SOPs there will be no variations in your documents. This will lead to standardized guidelines, protocols, and procedures that will be followed throughout the organization. Step-by-step SOPs ensure that workers follow each step religiously and face no hassle or downtime.

Standardized operating procedures lead to a more safe and more secure ecosystem as it minimizes risk. If errors do occur, you can always go back to your SOPs or report them to your admin.

3. Controlled Permissions to your Workforce

One of the most common concerns of a no-code remote assistance platform is that the user might accidentally change certain settings which can harm procedures. However, with Plutomen, you can let go of this issue.

Only certain people in authority or the admin can add new SOPs or make a change to the existing ones. Admins can also limit the people using the SOPs and have full control in their hands. Thus, there is no room for any extra hassle.

4. Followed Checklists and Improved Reporting

Mistakes are inevitable but that doesn’t mean that as an enterprise you won’t take charge of them and try to minimize them. Plutomen’s AR remote assistance platform offers your workforce digital checklists to keep a track of their daily productivity and ensure that they are doing their work flawlessly.

There can be times when the documents are not documented correctly. Thus, it offers technicians to report errors in line, they can create custom reports, and offer guidance to their workers through images, document sharing, and real-time assistance.

5. Increased Overall Equipment Effectiveness

Digital SOPs can help to improve OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) by reducing downtime, reducing scrap and increasing throughput. They can provide real-time guidance and feedback to employees, reducing scrap by providing real-time inspection, and increasing throughput by providing real-time troubleshooting.

Paper SOPs v/s Digital SOPs: Which One is Better?

The implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) is crucial for maintaining a well-organized and efficient manufacturing process. These procedures provide a framework for how tasks are carried out and ensure consistency throughout the entire factory, or even across multiple factories.

However, traditional paper-based SOPs often fall short in terms of effectiveness.

Manufacturers should not use paper SOPs and rely on Digital SOPs for several reasons, including:

  • Paper SOPs can easily become outdated, lost, or damaged, leading to confusion and mistakes among employees. Digital SOPs, on the other hand, can be easily updated and distributed to all employees, ensuring that everyone is working with the most current information.
  • Paper SOPs are difficult to track and monitor compliance. Digital SOPs can include built-in tracking and reporting features, making it easy to monitor compliance and identify areas for improvement.
  • Paper SOPs are not easily accessible to employees working in the field or on the factory floor. Digital SOPs can be accessed on mobile devices, making it easier for employees to follow procedures while working in the field or on the factory floor.
  • Paper SOPs are not easily translated into different languages, which can make it difficult for organizations with a diverse workforce to ensure that all employees understand and follow procedures. Digital SOPs can be made available in different languages, making them accessible to a wider range of workers.
  • Paper SOPs are not easily integrated with other systems, such as inventory management or quality control systems, to automate tasks and improve efficiency. Digital SOPs can be integrated with other systems, which can help to improve overall efficiency and productivity.

Studies have shown that well-designed SOPs can serve as a motivator for operators. The stakes are much higher here. You need to have a solution that creates a real impact and helps you effortlessly follow the procedures while maintaining a safe and efficient working environment. By using optimal Digital SOPs, manufacturers can see a significant improvement in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), safety, and operator performance. Thus, digital SOPs are your solutions, as it helps your workers engage with your task and help them with step-by-step SOPs that include direct instructions, images, and 3D AR annotations to support your workers.

How do you Create Digital SOPs?

The first and foremost step in building a Digital SOP is to set a style and layout. From fonts, spacing of documents, information, and virtual elements – everything needs to come together to build a framework that is easy to understand your workforce.

These are some of the common things that your Digital SOP template, should consist of:

  • Title: Every digital standard operating procedure should have a title depending on the outline of the process.
  • Introduction: Some enterprises like to give a small introduction about the mission of a particular procedure. It completely depends on your wish – you can either do it or entirely ignore this section.
  • Scope of SOP: This section covers the purpose of SOP and the process it covers to follow the steps of compliance to certain safety guidelines and code of conduct for your workforce.
  • Contacts: Every SOP should include the people it is intended to. It should include a list of roles, their responsibilities, and contact information of coordinators and teammates
  • Glossary: If SOPs include any acronym or specific language, then you can include a glossary too.
  • Step-by-step instructions: This is the most crucial step, where procedures are broken down into steps with all the relevant information. It can include visual representations of steps, flowcharts, equipment, and machinery to give a better insight to your worker.
  • Checklists: Itemized checklists are easier to follow by your workforce. Thus, you can design some of your SOPs into a checklist format as it helps in enhancing the productivity of your workforce.

Tips to Create Efficient Digital SOPs for Industrial Training

Here are a few tips you can consider while creating digital SOP templates to run your operations seamlessly:

  • Identify your audience to ensure who you are addressing with your SOPs – an experienced or new frontline worker. In the case, of an experienced workforce, you can use more technical terms and in the case of new workers, you can use a glossary to make them familiar with industry jargon.
  • Break your step-by-step SOPs in sequential order, so that nothing feels out of place. Do not forget to include images of the equipment tools, and videos to make these steps more interactive and easier to follow through.
  • Be clear and concise with your work instruction. Use simple language and be very brief with your explanation. For example, if you want your worker to clean the machine after use, you can instruct it, “Wash the machine after every use.”
  • Receive feedback from your workers, experts, supervisors, and admins so that you can create better SOPs for your enterprise. When in doubt reach out to an expert or industry leader. Also, add pro tips wherever necessary.
  • Create an SOP template and follow it through. Make sure to include more visual elements to it. Find the format that is best suited for your enterprise and stick to it.
  • In today’s digital workplace, your SOPs need to be compatible with your devices so that you can easily share them through a link and use them on your wearable devices like smart glasses.
  • Keep your SOPs updated as per the new guidelines shared by the government, industry leaders, and experts. Outdated guidelines and standardized procedures will only make it hard for you to reach your optimum productivity.

Create Digital SOPs with Plutomen Workflow

Plutomen Workflow is a digital work instruction solution that allows you to create engaging instructions, SOPs, and checklists for your industrial training program. The platform provides a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to create, edit, publish, and share digital SOPs to your workforce. You can use a variety of multimedia elements, such as videos, images, and animations, to make the procedures more engaging and easy to understand. Plutomen Workflow can also be accessed and integrated with smart glasses such as RealWear so that your frontline workforce can operate your tasks handsfree without holding any application or device. Additionally, the platform provides built-in tracking and reporting features, which allow you to monitor compliance and identify areas for improvement.

A leading Enterprise Efficiently Increased their Production Rate using Digital SOPs

To understand how Plutomen Workflow can be used to create digital SOPs for your industry, here’s a success story of one of our clients:

The Client

Our client is a renowned manufacturing company that specializes in producing high-precision parts for the aerospace and defense industries. The company recently acquired a new, state-of-the-art piece of manufacturing equipment, which was designed to improve the efficiency and precision of its production processes. However, integrating the new equipment into the existing production unit proved to be a major challenge for the company.

The Challenge

One of the main challenges faced by the company was the lack of proper training and procedures for the new equipment. The employees were not familiar with the new equipment, and the company did not have any standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place to guide them. This led to confusion, mistakes, and a significant amount of downtime as employees struggled to learn how to properly operate the equipment.

The Solution

To resolve this issue, the company decided to implement digital SOPs for the new equipment. By using Plutomen Workflow, the company created a detailed digital SOPs that included step-by-step instructions, images, and videos to guide employees through the process of operating the equipment. The digital SOPs were designed to be user-friendly and easy to understand, even for employees with limited technical knowledge. Additionally, the company provided training to employees and made the SOPs available on mobile devices, which allowed employees to access the procedures while on the factory floor.

The implementation of digital SOPs had a significant impact on the company’s operations. The number of mistakes and downtime decreased significantly, and the company saw an increase in the efficiency of the new equipment. The company also saw an improvement in compliance and monitoring, which helped to ensure that the equipment was being used correctly and safely. As a result, the company’s Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) increased by 25%.

Create step by step SOPs Work Instructions and Checklists in Manufacturing

Hiren Kanani

Hiren Kanani

CTO, Cofounder of Plutomen

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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