The importance of good work instructions is not to be overseen, especially not when you're in the manufacturing industry or when you offer services that require your employees to do certain complicated tasks. If you want to guarantee that they understand what they need to do and how best to go about doing it, then you’ll need digital work instructions created with the right tool or with the help of a template for writing work instructions.
Here’s how to write effective work instructions using this free work instruction template.
What Are Work Instructions?
What is a work instruction? What are they for? And how are they different from normal instructions, policies, procedures and SOPs ?
Digitizing work instructions offers several benefits. Work instructions are often an afterthought for many organizations, but digital work instructions can help you reach your organization’s goal of becoming more productive and efficient. With an effective approach, you can create instructions that are cost-effective, scalable, and easy to use.
Providing clear digital work instructions will result in:
- increased efficiency;
- increased safety;
- enhanced accuracy in producing a product.
Don’t waste time writing a lengthy list of instructions that do nothing but confuse your team members—use a simple tool to provide clear direction that can save time and money.
Example of Successful Digital Work Instructions
There are many challenges in writing effective work instructions. For example, if you don’t take a methodical approach to create them, you could end up spending a lot of time only to have your instructions fail or be ignored by employees. In addition, if your instructions are too generic, employees might not be able to follow them correctly every time. The best way to solve these problems is by taking a step-by-step approach that will help you create well-written work instructions faster and easier than ever before.
How to Write Work Instructions?
Write clear, simple instructions to help your employees work safely and productively. Whether you are writing directions for an assembly line or simply walking an employee through a one-time procedure, your instructions should be clear and easy to follow. Remember that mistakes on the job are costly for everyone involved. When you write effective work instructions, both new employees and experienced workers have a better chance of performing their tasks correctly—and safely.
If you’re an experienced professional, you know how to write them effectively and efficiently. But fear not if you’re a newbie in writing work instructions. In no time at all, we’ll have you creating effective work instructions as if they were second nature! Here are some tips to get started.
The first tip to creating work instructions is choosing which type of documentation works best for your particular job. Use digital work instructions to help coworkers, operators, or others who are unfamiliar with a certain task or how to use the equipment correctly. Once you’ve chosen between paper and digital documentation, it’s time to move on to step two.
Write your work instruction steps. Create individual instructions for each step in your process, including screenshots and video’s. Here are some general tips for writing work instructions:
- Make sure you explain each task in detail. Step-by-step instructions are vital to avoid confusion that can lead to errors.
- Also, make sure your language is clear and easy to understand by all members of your team — each sentence should be written with readers in mind, not just yourself or employees who already know what needs to be done.
- Do not use acronyms or industry-specific language.
- Provide comprehensive details on how things are done, use visuals and symbols.
And once you’ve finished creating your work instructions... Track it! Use a tool like Azumuta to organize your work-instructions library so users can easily find them later. This will help eliminate any guesswork when they’re ready to execute tasks down the road.
Last but not least, make sure your work instructions are comprehensive. Even if one or two employees leave before training is complete, new hires should still be able to pick up quickly.
Make sure to check out our blog post for additional tips, tricks, and hacks for making effective digital work instructions.
Since every business works differently, simply use an automated tool or edit the template (see below) to make it fit your company. If you decide to create something entirely new instead, make sure there’s always consistency between your words and images; once again: provide enough detail so they clearly understand what needs to be done, but don’t overload them with unnecessary information.
Move from Paper-Based to Digital Work Instructions
There are still some companies that like to create work instructions on paper, but digital work instructions are more efficient. It allows users to search for what they need when they need it; in addition, digital files can be easily organized and edited, ensuring that everything is up-to-date. Another advantage of digital work instructions is that you can assign permissions levels, allowing only relevant personnel to edit or even view certain documents. Let’s take a look at how you can leverage technology to your advantage in creating effective workplace documentation.
In Azumuta, the base of every instruction can be find in the “Explore” section. It might be helpful to imagine the “Explore” as the entire "paper booklet" for a product or factory zone - different workstations/machinery. It consists of every subject, instruction, and step that indicates how a series of different tasks can be performed effectively in a plant or with a particular machine.
An article category or a factory zone
In many cases, a work instruction relates directly to an article. If a work instruction includes guidelines on the manufacture of a specific article or article category, a work instruction can be created directly under the "article category" in Azumuta. In some cases, work instructions do not relate directly to the manufacture of an article, but to a factory area or machine. This is often the case when work instructions contain guidelines on a procedure to be followed during an audit, maintenance, error messages, and use of a machine.
Once the article and factory structure has been defined, you can create work instructions and link to specific article categories and zones in Azumuta. The biggest advantage of digital work instructions is that they can be easily updated and distributed to employees. Digital work instructions allow for very easy updates, whether it’s a simple typo or an update to a whole section. These digital files can also be easily distributed to all employees at once, allowing for easy updates across a company without a lot of hassle.
Add instruction steps to a work instruction
Once a work instruction has been created, the various steps within this work instruction can be created.
Write clear instructions. It should be a single sentence, and it should contain each necessary step in order from beginning to end. Tip: If a work instruction consists of a large number of steps to follow, you can categorize it by instruction blocks.
Instruction step editor
In the “Editor” section, you can add visuals and extra information related to a particular step. The work instruction editor consists of the following tabs:
- General: In the tab General, the text related to the work instruction step is placed.
- Time study: A theoretical estimation of the duration of a work instruction step can be entered in the tab Time study.
- Equipment and Symbols: Here you can select the required equipment and/or tools for a particular work instruction.
- Parts: Select the required parts for the Bill of Material (BOM) for a particular work instruction, is the part tool not yet in the parts library? Add new parts.
- Visuals: Within Azumuta you can add (multiple) photos to a specific work instruction. Images linked to work instructions can be clarified using visual elements included in the operation description sheet editor.
- Checks: Within Azumuta it is possible to add different types of checks to a work instruction.
- Revision History: A work instruction can be changed quickly and easily. When changes are made to a work Instruction, the current version of the work Instruction is automatically saved as 'Draft'. This draft version can be converted to a new official version as a new revision official version.
Share work instructions
Within Azumuta a link to a work instruction can be shared. In this way, people without an Azumuta account can also view specific work instructions.
Using Work Instructions with Azumuta
Remember that a work instruction is a digital document, created by workers for other workers, that describes how a task or process should be performed. These instructions include details on everything from material requirements and safety precautions to storage guidelines and quality-control measures.
Always consult with your team when writing work instructions; they will understand best what needs to be documented. Finally, remember that no two processes are alike. Ensure work instructions cover every aspect of a process and use examples where applicable. Not only does it help better illustrate proper procedures, but it also makes training more hands-on and engaging for employees at all levels.
Ready to make the transition from paper-based work instructions to digital ones? Using a digital format offers many benefits. From making editing and revision easier, saving money on paper, and increasing employee safety, it’s no wonder everyone is jumping onto the digital train. Learn how Azumuta delivers higher productivity and better efficiency on the factory floor.