With the advent of industry 4.0, manufacturers have numerous ways to address the long-standing challenges, including how to improve efficiency and save on costs. A paper-based work instruction is becoming inefficient because it can lead to misinterpretation, errors, and delays in the production process. There is a lack of scalability and adaptability in the current system, which makes it difficult to incorporate new technologies and comply with new rules and regulations. As a result, it’s crucial to have electronic work instructions in place that can deal with these issues and streamline production.
In this blog, we take a look at Electronic Work Instructions, their importance, and how to create them. Let’s dive in!
What are Electronic Work Instructions(EWI)?
Electronic work instructions (or EWIs) are a digital replacement for paper-based work instructions. To help workers understand the task at hand, they typically include detailed instructions, illustrations, and even graphics or sometimes videos. Software and mobile devices make it simple to create and distribute EWIs, giving workers instant access to the latest and most accurate data. EWIs also facilitate better communication and teamwork so that workers can easily access and distribute procedures regardless of their physical location.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of EWIs.
Why Industrial Enterprises Need Electronic Work Instructions?
One of the key features of Industry 4.0 is the use of electronic work instructions (EWIs) in industrial enterprises. EWIs are digital documents that provide step-by-step instructions for manufacturing and production processes. They can include text, images, videos, and interactive elements such as augmented reality (AR) overlays that enhance understanding and facilitate learning.
There are several reasons why industrial enterprises need EWIs with the advent of Industry 4.0:
1. Reduced downtime
Reduced downtime is experienced as a result of EWIs being used for maintenance and engineering change orders. Digitally accessible and meticulous instructions empowers the technicians to respond faster to issues.
2. Improved communications
Error reduction and enhanced communication are two additional benefits of centralized document management systems, which enable the easy distribution of documents throughout the organization’s various locations and departments.
3. Closed-loop manufacturing and quality processes
Data sharing and product quality improvement are simplified by EWIs’ compatibility with other closed-loop manufacturing and quality processes, such as corrective and preventive action management and audit management.
4. Failure mode and effects analysis
When used in conjunction with closed-loop manufacturing and engineering processes, EWIs can also be integrated with failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) procedures to help identify and mitigate potential problems.
5. Reduced waste/scrap
EWIs can help in lowering scrap rates and improving product quality by facilitating better communication and collaboration between manufacturing and engineering teams. This further contributes to sustainability.
6. Easier communication of regulatory changes
EWIs can assist manufacturers in rapidly distributing information about changes to shop-floor processes and ensuring that personnel are aware of them and are also following them, which would be extremely helpful in navigating regulatory environments that are both dynamic and complex.
7. Faster new product introduction process
The time it takes to create, test, and release a new product can be cut in half by improving the flow of information and cooperation between manufacturing and engineering teams.
8. Reduced risk and improved efficiency
Automatic notifications for both shop floor and engineering staff can reduce the risk of non-conformance or compliance issues and increase productivity.
Overall, EWIs offer a wide range of benefits to manufacturers looking to improve their operations, including improved communication, reduced downtime, and increased efficiency.
Now, the question is how you can create them?
How to Create Effective Electronic Work Instructions?
Creating effective EWIs is essential for manufacturers looking to improve communication, reduce downtime, and increase efficiency. Making effective electronic work instructions should include following points:
1. Keep it simple
To create effective EWIs, it is best to stick to short, easy-to-understand instructions. Avoid using highly technical or specialized language that may be beyond the understanding of some employees. Use plain English or local languages so everyone on staff can understand and follow your instructions.
2. Use visuals
Include images, diagrams, and videos to illustrate your points in EWIs better. Employees who have trouble reading or understanding written instructions may benefit significantly from the use of visual aids. Manufacturers can create EWIs with interactive 3D models of equipment and machinery using augmented reality (AR) technology, providing workers with a more realistic and interactive way to see, understand, and perform maintenance on the equipment.
3. Make it interactive
Electronic Work Instructions (EWIs) that allow users to interact with the content are often more successful than static EWIs. Animations, 3D models, and other interactive elements can be incorporated into EWIs to help in understanding better. Using augmented reality (AR), for instance, manufacturers can design interactive EWIs with animations showing how a particular operation or task should be performed, allowing for a more practical method of instruction. In addition, AR can be used in the manufacturing industry to develop interactive EWIs that feature virtual manufacturing process simulations, allowing workers to learn and practice the task in a risk-free setting.
4. Test it
Conduct pilot tests with a small segment of employees and compile their feedback before releasing the final EWIs. You can evaluate how well the instructions are being followed and whether or not they need to be revised based on the results.
5. Regularly update and review
It is important to review and update the EWIs on a regular basis to ensure that they are accurate and up-to-date because processes and equipment are constantly evolving, and new upgrades are coming every day. In this way, manufacturers can be sure that everyone on staff follows the proper protocols and that no miscommunications occur.
6. Make it accessible
Make sure that all employees can quickly and easily access the EWIs. They should be kept in one place and made accessible to workers via mobile devices and computers.
7. Use standard format
Adopt a standardized format when making EWIs, and make sure they all look the same and use the same format and language. By doing so, they’ll be less difficult to read and comprehend.
8. Provide training
Training on how to use the EWIs is crucial and should be provided. This will ensure that the instructions are being followed and will also help employees understand how to use them.
Creating efficient EWIs is an ongoing task that necessitates cooperation among several divisions, such as production, engineering, and quality assurance. Manufacturers can boost productivity, efficiency, and communication by using these guidelines to design cutting-edge EWIs.
Steps to Implement EWIs in the workplace
The adoption of EWIs can be a radical shift for factories, but it can also bring many advantages. Here are a few steps to help you implement EWIs in your workplace:
1. Assess your current situation
Before implementing EWIs, it’s important to assess your current situation. This includes figuring out what kinds of processes and procedures are already in place, as well as what kinds of difficulties or problems exist.
2. Develop a plan
In order to successfully implement EWIs, it is necessary to first conduct a strategic assessment. Among the details of this plan should be an outline of the processes and procedures that will be modified and an estimate of when these adjustments can be expected to go into effect.
3. Train employees
Employees must be trained on how to use the EWIs for the implementation to be a success. This not only includes how to gain access to and use the instructions but also how to suggest improvements and actively contribute to the EWIs.
4. Test and evaluate
It is important to implement EWIs with a small segment of staff and collect feedback before releasing them to the wider workforce. You can evaluate how well the instructions are being followed and whether or not they need to be revised based on the results.
5. Roll out and monitor
After the EWIs have been thoroughly tested and evaluated, they can be rolled out to the rest of the workforce and monitored. Monitoring the process is crucial to ensure the EWIs are being used properly and efficiently.
6. Continuously improve
Implementing EWIs is not a one-time task; instead, it is an ongoing process that necessitates constant improvement. Maintaining accurate and up-to-date EWIs necessitates regular reviews and updates as processes and equipment evolve.
Create Effective Electronic Work Instructions with Plutomen Workflow
All phases of the EWI process, from creating and distributing guidelines to putting them into practice, rely heavily on technological advancements. Augmented reality is one tool that’s gaining traction in the EWI market. According to Statista reports, the value of manufacturing augmented reality IoT is expected to grow between 90 and 110 billion U.S. dollars by 2030.
Using augmented reality (AR), manufacturers can overlay digital information, such as diagrams and manufacturing work instructions, onto real-world objects. A . smartphone, tablet, or augmented reality glasses will be enough for doing so.
AR in EWIs has many advantages, one of which is providing workers with more engaging and relevant lessons. With this method, workers don’t have to rely on reading instructions off a sheet of paper or a screen because they can see the directions superimposed on the actual piece of machinery or task. It helps in understanding instructions better which leads to fewer mistakes and higher productivity.
Augmented reality can be used to make engaging courses for staff members to complete during their downtime. This is useful for everyone, but it can also help new staff and those learning to use new machinery. By adding a new dimension of interactivity to training, augmented reality has the potential to improve knowledge retention.
In order to reap the benefits of electronic work instructions, Plutomen Workflow helps manufacturers digitize manufacturing work instructions across departments through AR. We also help provide hardware like augmented reality glasses or tablets, as well as software for making and distributing AR content.
To conclude, we can say that EWI, or electronics work instructions, have become an increasingly important tool in the manufacturing industry. EWIs allows for a safer and more accurate assembly process, with less room for human error and more output.
In addition, when EWI is combined with augmented reality technology, field workers have unparalleled ease and convenience at their fingertips, as all the necessary information and guidance they need is displayed in front of them in real-time. More and more businesses will probably start using EWI and AR in production in the coming days.