Chirag Yadav

Chirag Yadav

February 10, 2023 9 minutes to read

Work Instructions vs Guidelines: How They Help to Achieve Smarter Workflows?

Work Instructions vs Guidelines: How They Help to Achieve Smarter Workflows?

In the age of industry 4.0 revolution, streamlining operations has become crucial for companies to remain productive and successful. According to a recent study, companies that use work instructions report a 68% increase in operational efficiency and a 50% reduction in errors and rework. These numbers demonstrate the importance of work instructions and the impact they can have on an organization’s bottom line. 

However, despite their benefits, many companies still face challenges in their operations, such as miscommunication, misunderstandings, and inefficiencies. This is where establishing both work instructions and guidelines can make a significant difference. By clearly defining procedures and expectations, companies can overcome these challenges and create a more structured and organized workplace.

In this blog, we will delve into the differences between work instructions and guidelines and explain the importance of both in streamlining industry operations. 

What are Work Instructions?  

Work instructions help you accomplish a task, process, operation, or specific job. They are precise instructions you can represent through visual images and aid your workforce in real time without hassles.   

These work instructions include step-by-step procedures for your frontline workers to conduct audits, inspections, MROs, and troubleshoot complex machines and equipment. It is a well-detailed process to guide workers to complete complex tasks within a limited time.   

Digital work instructions are also compatible with your devices, be it a computer, tablet, laptop, mobile phone, or other wearables, so you can use them anytime, anywhere. The step-by-step instructions give detailed yet crisp information on effectively completing an operation.   

Work instructions include:  

  • Visual data like flowcharts, images, and 3D AR annotations to help the workforce understand better  
  • A sequential or chronological order to guide your workforce  
  • Provides specific assembly and manufacturing instructions to decrease downtime  

Work instructions are documents that clearly and precisely describe how to complete and optimize a business process without any hassle. They help you complete complicated tasks effortlessly.    

What are the Guidelines?  

Guidelines are the best practices that an enterprise should adopt to complete its business tasks, processes, and procedures. They are general statements, recommendations, or administrative instructions to achieve policy’s adjective by providing a framework to implement procedures.   

Guidelines are similar to rules. Any organization can issue them to make the actions of its employees or manufacturing units more predictable and ensure high-quality products. It’s a plan or explanation guide to determine a course of action in a particular setting.   

These guidelines are frequently updated to streamline specific processes in a set routine. They help you create an efficient environment for your workforce to learn and grow. They help a business set high standards for their workforce’s safety, productivity and efficiency. However, it depends on the enterprise to adopt them.    

Guidelines are:  

  • Changed frequently based on the working ecosystem and are reviewed more frequently  
  • Not mandatory, they are like an organization’s suggestions to optimize their business process and procedures.  
  • Steps to set up best practices for researching the industry, finding the competitors, communicating industry standards and compliances to employees, setting metrics, managing changes, and evaluating the guidelines followed by the enterprise.  

To conclude, Guidelines serve as the roadmap to drive best practices in doing business and solving an issue. They are established by authorities such as s government, regulators, companies, and self-regulatory organizations (SRO).  

Work Instructions VS Guidelines: The Actual Difference

Many still need clarification on work instructions and guidelines and use them interchangeably. They often write work instructions and call them guidelines. The main reason for that can be that both help in the standardization of business, but even so, there is a stark difference between them.   

Knowing the difference between work instructions and guidelines will help you understand and document a better process for your enterprise. It will help save you all the downtime and extra cost you may incur in delivering a process or solving an issue. With better work instructions and guidelines, you will be a better organization.

Guidelines and work instructions are both tools used in factory operations to give workers clear and consistent information. But their scope, intent, and amount of detail are different.

Work instructions are detailed, step-by-step instructions that describe how to complete a work. They are frequently employed in settings of manufacturing where precision and accuracy are essential. The order in which procedures should be completed, the necessary tools and materials, and any pertinent safety advice are all part of work instructions. Guidelines, on the other hand, offer a larger overview of a process or method and are more generic in nature. While leaving some leeway for interpretation and judgement, they are meant to offer guidance and support. Best practices, suggestions, and recommendations are frequently included in guidelines.

In a factory operations, work instructions are typically used as the primary source of information for performing a task, while guidelines are used as a supplement to provide context and additional information. Both work instructions and guidelines are important for ensuring that tasks are performed consistently and correctly, and for facilitating continuous improvement in the factory operations.

Here’s an image that represents the difference between work instructions and guidelines:
Difference between work instructions and guidelines

How Plutomen Workflow can Help you Create Effective Work Instructions & Guidelines

Do you want to operate your production, alignment, and all other processes without errors? Well, it may sound impossible, but you can do it by creating step-by-step digital work instructions and following guidelines set by the government, regulators and more to make your workflows more innovative and efficient.  Work instructions and guidelines provide clear and concise information on how tasks should be performed, which helps to minimize misunderstandings and inconsistencies in the execution of tasks. 

Plutomen Workflow, our SaaS-based Digital Work Instructions solution, is used by 100s of frontline workers and OEMs to establish intelligent workflows and eliminate factory related issues. 

Here’s how it can help you achieve smart workflows, more productivity, and less machine downtime:  

Reducing Human Errors  

With Plutomen Workflow, you can create step-by-step work instructions & guidelines that are accessible to all your devices so that you can solve complex issues in no time.  Work instructions and guidelines created with the help of Plutomen workflow reduces the risk of human error. When everyone follows the same procedures, there is less room for confusion and mistakes.

Improving Connectivity 

Furthermore, work instructions and guidelines can serve as an important tool for frontline workers to effectively connect with machines and processes. This helps to ensure that workers understand the proper procedures and protocols, which in turn minimizes the risk of errors and increases efficiency.

With Plutomen Workflow, you get access to all the critical data to conduct better MROs, audits, inspections, and maintain the quality of goods produced. The data helps you make your workflows more effective and simplify the process of daily operations for your workforce. You can make better decisions with improved connectivity to your workforce.  

Increasing Productivity  

Employees and your ROI will feel the effect of an enhanced workflow in your daily operations since the whole workflow is automated, so the information, like checklists, tasks, and time stamps, gets updated organically. You don’t need to send out excessive emails or information on that.   

With Plutomen Workflow, your workforce doesn’t need to wait for approvals as they follow a step-by-step work instruction guide to carry out their operation. They can even access these work instructions directly from the smart AR glasses to connect to an expert or admin handling the operations in real time and get their advice on a specific concern. Everything happens quickly and smoothly.  

Eliminating Redundant Manual Tasks  

According to a report, organizations are losing 1.3 trillion a year due to repetitive tasks. The workforce is feeling mundane by working on these inefficient tasks. Imagine the time and money you can save by putting the same effort into other processes.   

With Plutomen Workflow, you get pre-defined digital work instructions and guidelines. You need to configure the system to trigger steps that will align your tasks, checklists and the process you must follow to conduct them. For example: If you have to align a complex machine and have a set of work instructions that you need to follow, it will be easier to assemble the machine and continue with your other tasks.  

Rising Trust, Transparency, and Control  

Since the duties of all your workforce are listed and assigned with pre-defined checklists, manuals, and work instructions, it becomes easier for you to control the situations. Micromanagement of your admins is significantly reduced since the whole process is automated.   

With Plutomen Workflow, you can squeeze out shadow tasks and move towards a more transparent system. Everything is displayed on the platform with more control over data accessibility. Admins can easily edit and integrate new information. They can choose to display or hold back on sensitive information to specific teams or job roles whenever necessary.   

Improving Work Culture  

With many companies working with remote teams and off-site workers, many emails are exchanged routinely. A workflow platform helps you keep all your data information updated and easily accessible. It also keeps the organization organized and the productivity of your workforce trackable.   

Plutomen Workflow will make workflow management engraved in your company’s culture. It will help you reach your goals much easier, faster, smarter, and more efficiently. As a result, you will receive a streamlined and structured business process that will speed up the process of digitalization and help your enterprise grow.   

So, these are the 6 benefits you can adhere to with digital work instructions and guidelines. They will make your workflows and business processes less chaotic and more streamlined.  So when are you integrating Plutomen Workflow in your system to analyze the performance of your enterprise? 

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Chirag Yadav

Chirag Yadav

VP of Sales and Partnerships at Plutomen

Chirag brings with him 15+ Years of experience in Digital Transformation, and IT Leadership. At Plutomen, he holds deep experience in business with a track record of customer-centric approaches helping them build business transformation.

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