The Importance of Good Work Instructions

Work instructions

Let’s say you are a manufacturing company bringing a brand new product to market, have you ever asked yourself how to market it easily? What about untrained assembly workers? How do foreign-language operators get to work quickly and efficiently? In other words, how do you ensure that workers will effortlessly understand your products? The answer lies in the company’s work instructions.

Good work instructions are the foundation of everything. Well-defined work instructions ensure that operators can do their jobs to the best of their ability. As an employer, that not only saves you a lot of time but also pays off in the long run in a better atmosphere and work environment. So get to work!

Interested in how to write effective manufacturing work instructions? Make sure to check out our blog post for additional tips, tricks, and hacks for making effective digital work instructions.

How do you build good work instructions?

Without the typical assembly instructions from Ikea, you will never realize your dream kitchen. The same goes for drafting your work instructions: there are a number of elements you need to take into account:

1. Work with categories

Logically, you can’t publish endless lists of work instructions. It is best to divide them up according to article category and work item. In addition, it is best to provide each work instruction with a clear title. The title must make it immediately clear what the work instruction is about and convey the main message. You will notice that your operators will want to read on.

2. Don’t use ambiguity

Ensure consistency in your work instructions. If you always give instructions in the same way it creates clarity for your employees. They recognize the common thread and can immediately get to work. This ensures that they will actually use the instructions in practice.

3. Create overview

A work instruction is accessible and easy to use. Before you start drafting the sentence, determine the target. Then place your target at the beginning of the instruction. Then divide the different steps of the work instruction into small intertitles. This will help you maintain an overview.

4. Pay attention to the language level

Just as a teacher wants to teach his students: is it clear to everyone what it says? Does everyone understand what is meant? Does everyone have a good command of the Dutch language?
Work instructions should be available in multiple languages for the safety of each operator. The more flexible a work instruction can be adapted, the more efficient it is for the operator.

Golden tip: instead of writing the work instruction yourself, you can also write it together with the users.

What not to forget

Pictures and videos to support

A picture says more than a thousand words, right? And with work instructions, this is certainly and definitely the case. Pictures with instructions and video lessons are faster and easier for employees to understand. Therefore, go for visual support for your work instructions.

Symbols for clarification

Pictograms and symbols are often everywhere on the production floor. After all, because of their signaling effect, you immediately see what you need to pay attention to or where protection is needed or not. That is why we also like to use symbols when drawing up work instructions. Operators get an immediate idea of what they need or what is at risk.

Add checks to the work instruction

In our previous blog post, we already cited the importance of digital auditing. It is more and more clear that you can no longer separate audits and checks from work instructions. During the execution of instructions, operators could enter values or certain parameters. As well as using checks to indicate whether the product has any defects or scratches. A digital approach to auditing opens up a world of new possibilities:

  • The audit can be performed on any mobile device (remote screen, tablet…)

  • The product meets all quality standards because changes to the audit are always tracked

  • The result of all previous audits can be consulted easily, at any time and by anyone.

  • You get a transparent planning of all future audits, with automatic reminders

Training and learning modules

Finally, we would like to mention the importance of training and learning modules. New tasks require new skills, and thus training. An LMS (learning management system) serves as a motivator for operators to keep work instructions alive. This not only gives them insight into their individual skills but also gives them a direct overview of modules and instructions they still need to learn.

Why are work instructions so important?

Manufacturing companies only have a future if humans remain a central factor in production. Why? Because man is simply the most flexible machine the employer has. Work instructions guarantee knowledge within an organization. In addition, they offer enormous support on the production floor.

The operator is central at Azumuta. We want to facilitate their work with our software and keep the balance between digitalization and the human aspect.

With Azumuta you have all your work instructions in one place. Besides digital work instructions Azumuta offers many more possibilities, such as integration of digital audits and checklists, an LMS, etc.

Do you have any questions about digital work instructions or would you like more information? Contact us.

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