As industry 4.0 initiatives continue to evolve, it becomes increasingly challenging to assist your team members to focus on work, communicate effectively, and be productive without causing any redundant human error. To increase efficiency and productivity, many organizations are turning to work instructions software to help their teams stay aligned and focused on their goals. However, with so many options available on the market, it can be difficult to determine which software is the right fit for your organization. That’s why we’ve created this buyer’s guide to choosing work instructions software. By the end of this guide, you will have a clear understanding of things you need to take care of as a buyer of work instructions software. You will learn why it’s necessary to digitize your work instructions and how to choose the best digital work instructions software.
So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
What are Work Instructions?
In every industry, there are specific instructions that must be followed by workers. Be it to perform a particular process on the machine, install a machine, or any cleaning process. Work instructions have become an essential part of many industries like automotive, manufacturing, aviation, healthcare, and many more. Work instructions provide clear and precise steps to perform an activity.
Furthermore, these work instructions assist in training, maintaining procedures across the entire team, and, most importantly, reducing possible human errors.
Taking it a step further, organizations could go with digital work instructions to truly optimize the workflow, reduce errors and enhance consistency. However, there are other reasons too to digitize your work instructions.
Why Should You Digitize Your Work Instructions?
For the smooth functioning of operations, it is essential to have digital work instructions. Working with it makes the work easier and faster. These clear and concise work instructions help in enhancing the efficiency and productivity of frontline workers at the workplace. As a result, organizations can enjoy a higher quality of work, and workers face less difficulty while operating machines.
For years, paper-based instructions were provided to field workers. These paper-based are often difficult to update and read; hence they were replaced with digitized work instructions. Following are some reasons why organizations should digitize their work instructions:
The Rise of Industry 4.0 and Smart Factories
Industry 4.0 is all about making industries smarter and more automated. This helps to achieve deeper analysis opportunities and increased efficiency for all. This fourth industrial revolution is quickly changing the way of work done by frontline workers.
Moreover, with digital transformation, businesses need to adopt and incorporate new technology into their everyday operations. Digital work instructions are one way that can improve your organization’s operations and allow workers to perform their tasks easily and accurately.
The Need for Better Worker Engagement
Employee engagement is one of the most important indicators for businesses to be successful. Today’s workers want to give 100% in their work and are very enthusiastic about the organization they work for. Most importantly, they are more productive and satisfied when they are engaged in their work. By creating digital work instructions, tedious tasks can be eliminated, freeing up workers to focus on more important tasks.
Shortage of Skilled Labors
Workers are retiring, which has led to a shortage of well-qualified and skilled labor. Many new workers face issues learning how to operate the machine properly. Hence, with the help of digital work instructions, detailed digital SOPs can be created to train workers. Even those workers who are not experienced can complete their tasks correctly with clear and concise work instructions.
Capturing Tribal Knowledge
Tribal knowledge refers to the information, expertise, and abilities that are passed from one generation to another. This information frequently remains with employees rather than being recorded or documented. This might become an issue if employees leave the firm and take their skills and experience with them. As a result, losing tribal knowledge can be detrimental to the organization. However, organizations can capture these skills and knowledge with digital work instructions and ensure that the information is not lost. Interactive work instructions can act as a valuable resource for organizations that can be used in providing training to new workers.
What is Digital Work Instructions Software?
Digital work instructions software is a SaaS-based application that enables organizations to create step-by-step instructions to guide workers through complex or repetitive tasks. This software is designed to improve the accuracy and efficiency of industrial operations by delivering interactive work instructions directly to the operator at the point of use. By using a visual work instructions software, organizations can easily document, update and share work instructions with team members quickly and effectively. These instructions can be easily accessed on tablets, laptops, or even through smart glasses. The flexibility in creating instructions and being easily accessible makes digital work instructions a game changer for industries.
Digital work instructions software can be used by industries in many ways according to their procedures. As it is easy to create, organizations can create work instructions for several circumstances, such as:
- Instructions for usage and installation
- Procedures for controls, quality assurance, and inspections
- Safety measures instructions
- Checklists and maintenance procedure
- Worker training
- Monitoring and recording performance, measurements, and maintaining KPIs.
Digital Work Instructions Software – Market Insights
As per the research, the global work instruction software market was valued at US$ 551.41 million in 2021 and is projected to reach US$ 1468.41 million by 2027; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.4% from 2020 to 2027. Such a huge rise is not surprising as it provides various benefits for organizations.
The need for worker training to enhance productivity is driving the use of advanced technology solutions across industries. Digital work instructions software allows users to create and share step-by-step instructions for business operations. Moreover, the need for work instructions among workers to complete their tasks effectively and independently across industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, automotive, oil & gas, and field service are just a few that benefit the most from visual work instructions.
Features of Digital Work Instructions Software
Features are essential for using digital work instruction software; hence they should not be avoided. Usually, electronic work instructions feature depends on industries or use cases. However, some features are available regardless of industry or use cases. Aesthetically, Digital Work Instruction should include the following features:
- Easy & Intuitive Design: The main purpose of creating work instructions is to streamline the procedures, which involve instructions for workers to operate the machine. As a result, the work instructions should not be too difficult to understand. An organization should make sure that the software has an easy and intuitive design so that workers understand the steps easily.
- Embed with Visual and Multi-Media: Digital work instruction software should offer embedding images, and videos, to assist workers. Operators who are offered easy and step-by-step SOPs embedded with video or images allow the operator to perform their tasks more accurately and on time.
- Allow Customizable Permissions: Look for digital work instruction software that allows customizable permission to both user and operator to execute a specific instruction. Through this, organizations can assign permissions to workers to create instructions, ensuring that standardized tools and formats are applied consistently.
- Version Control: Ensure that DWI allows making changes in the existing process without losing the previous data. Also, the software should allow the user to view or roll back to historical versions as required.
- Notifications: The software should notify the users as and when certain new changes are made in work instructions. Through this, everyone will be aware of the changes made in the instructions as their shift changes.
- QR Code Access: Users can scan QR code on their machine to get all important data. This saves the time of workers, and the information is available quickly.
- Data Analytics: This allows users to capture & analyze critical device information with a powerful dashboard. To gain most of the system it also enables them to monitor adoption goals and opportunities for improvements.
- Inspection reports: A good work instructions software should allow users to access and download detailed inspection reports, in order to track the performance of inspection process.
How to Choose the Right Digital Work Instructions Software?
Choosing the right digital work instructions software can be challenging for organizations. Moreover, it is no denying that digital work instructions are the first things organizations consider in Industry 4.0 initiatives. With the right software, it can be an easy win for the organization and have a great impact on operations. Hence, to help you make the right choice, we have shared some criteria to consider while choosing digital work instruction software.
User Friendly and Easy to Adopt
The very first thing that should be considered in digital work instruction software is that it should be user-friendly & easily adaptable. Both creators and executors should easily access the software. Usability should be your topmost priority. There are two reasons behind this:
- The software can be used while your field technicians and operators are busy with their other tasks like installing, inspecting, or anything else.
- Usually, field technicians and operators are not very aware of the software. Complete industry operations can be hindered by confusing settings. Hence, work instructions software should be user-friendly, not burdensome.
While considering these criteria, ask yourself the following questions:
- How complex is it to create digital work instruction?
- Does the software supports media uploads (Especially images, docs, and videos)?
- Is it possible for the creator to copy and paste information?
- How easy is it for users to locate and access work instructions?
- How easily can a user start through work instructions, follow the SOPs and complete the instructions?
Many departments within the industries are going to benefit from digital work instructions. This includes quality control, manufacturing operations, assembly, and even maintenance. However, the way to access work instructions might differ. It is possible that your quality control department may prefer to access the system on a tablet or smartphone, and on the other hand, manufacturing operation may prefer to work hands-free via smart glasses. While assessing software, remember that different use cases need different devices.
Pro Tip: Go with device-agnostic software to implement across the whole plant.
Look for software that can be easily integrated with existing systems, like MES or ERP systems. This can help in solving issues rather than creating new ones for the organization. Through this, data and information are easily transferred across various platforms. Ask these questions while implementing:
- How easy is it to connect with other tools and systems?
- Can it be integrated with smart glasses?
- Will it allow you to connect with systems like ERP?
When deploying work instruction software, make sure it is flexible and scalable so that it can be used by organizations of all sizes. Moreover, organizations should also think about how digital work instructions can be adopted to meet their unique requirements. You need to ask yourself some questions like:
- Can your business develop along with this software?
- Will the organization that develops and maintains the software be financially stable enough to continue operating years later and provide support?
- Can your operators create multiple departments?
Make sure that the software provides high availability. Users should access digital work instructions software 24/7 from anywhere at any time. This maintains operational continuity and reduces interruptions. This is more beneficial for workers who work remotely.
Secure and Reliable
To protect your data, it is essential to have a safe and secure system. Digital work instructions software should have robust security features that protect your sensitive data. Through this, information remains secure, available, and compliant.
Ready to Try Work Instruction Software as a Buyer?
As leading work instructions software, Plutomen Workflow is positioned uniquely to address everything mentioned in this buyer’s guide. With Plutomen workflow, organizations can effectively create, update, and publish work instructions that can help your frontline teams stay in sync and collaborate effectively and safely. Plutomen’s work instruction software can help standardize these processes by providing step-by-step instructions that are consistent across all workers and shifts.
Here’s how Plutomen’s Work Instruction Software can help frontline workers stay productive and never miss deadlines:
Digital work instructions provide clear and concise instructions, which helps to improve quality. By getting all the data instantly and in one place, organizations can ensure that workers perform their tasks correctly and effectively. Moreover, with Plutomen workflow, workers can access work instructions through AR smart glasses and follow step-by-step SOPs to carry out their operations.
Better Productivity via Upskilled and Engaged Workers
Digital work instructions can assist in eliminating tedious tasks, allowing workers to perform more important and engaging work. With this, firms can ensure that workers can successfully manage all their tasks, whether they are experienced or not, by providing them with simple and concise work instructions.
Visual Work Instructions: Making Learning Easy and Accessible
Providing visual work instructions software significantly changes the learning environment for your workforce. To make training simple, Plutomen workflow allows you to add videos or images. This helps workers to understand more clearly and complete their tasks effectively. Moreover, you can present your work instructions in small steps.
Edit your Instructions and Train your Team Members Easily
The most important feature of Plutomen’s digital work instruction software is that you can create, update and view all your work instructions in real time. You can update or edit work instructions without any hassle and with no disturbance with our AR-based digital work instruction software.
Make Fewer Errors
As your business grows, the need for training also increases; hence, digital work instructions software can be helpful during this time. Because providing paper-based training might be difficult to keep and may include errors that hamper business growth.
While training workers through digital work instructions, any errors in the instructions can be rectified instantly. This ensures that there are fewer chances of faulty products and worker safety is also maintained. Organizations can be sure that their team members are working correctly, ensuring company success.
We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights on what to look for when choosing a work instructions software for your industrial enterprise. With the right work instructions software, you can standardize processes, improve training, minimize errors, ensure compliance, and facilitate communication and collaboration among teams.
If you’re interested in learning more about how work instructions software can benefit your business, we encourage you to explore the options available and book a meeting with one of our experts. We can provide you with specific details on how our software compares to other vendors you may be evaluating, as well as information on pricing options, solution architecture advice, and solution implementer recommendations.
At the end of the day, our goal is to help you make an informed decision and choose the best work instructions software to meet your needs. We look forward to the opportunity to answer all of your questions and provide you with the information you need to make the right choice.