Do you want to facilitate and reduce the training time of your new recruit on the job? You would like to stabilize the quality and the rate of your production? Designing efficient work instructions is a key element to reach your objectives.
With the goals of reducing time-to-market, achieving profitability as quickly as possible, and coping with the high turnover of the last few years, manufacturing companies must focus on their work methods and processes.
Let’s understand together the importance and the characteristics of a quality work instruction in your company.
What is the Purpose of Work Instructions?
Perpetuate the company's know-how.
Improve quality and efficiency.
Reduce training time.
Clear and effective work instructions make it easier and faster to get the hang of the job and improve competence.
With high turnover in manufacturing companies, good work instructions allow you to significantly reduce the training time of your new employees. This way, they will be up and running quickly by becoming familiar with the company’s processes and procedures. A work instruction allows you to train a new employee efficiently, but also – and above all – to execute the work in a consistent, qualitative manner, in compliance with health and safety standards, and at the required pace according to the established standard time.
What is Good Work Instruction?
The importance of a corporate culture focused on continuous improvement.
First, implementing a good work instruction is possible if the company culture is anchored in a continuous improvement approach. The use and updating of these instructions must be a priority within the company.
The company’s management must support the importance of these tools to mobilize everyone in the company. It is crucial to have the involvement of everyone to keep the teams engaged and keep these instructions up to date.
Characteristics of a quality work instruction
- Follows a standard design format.
- Is written and updated by qualified and trained people in terms of format, working method, and updating. Remember that the standard must emerge from the best practices.
- Integrates into the company’s culture to obtain the assimilation and commitment of all. Be aware that this will not happen overnight, this assimilation is progressive.
- Allows for easy retrieval of information as well as all key aspects, such as safety and quality.
- Keeps a decent level of detail to avoid too frequent updates and the creation of repeated variants.
- Adapt its form to the qualification of its audience. Be sure to find the right balance between precision and accessibility by all your employees according to their respective qualifications. For example, an experienced operator will be satisfied with a simple list, while a less skilled workforce will find an explanatory video more useful.
Once your work instructions are standardized, go digital !
As long as you’ve successfully structured your work instructions, you can move towards 4.0 by investing in digitizing them. However, this logical sequence requires you to do a lot of preparatory work. Before passing the course of digitalization, you must standardize your processes, and you must be up to date in your methods and methodology of work. To get to this level, you need a process for delivering updates that is reliable and functional. Hence the importance of a corporate culture focused on continuous improvement.
Despite the rigor they require, digitized work instructions will facilitate the management of your documents. Easy to execute, saving time and efficiency, 4.0 facilitates access to information as well as instant updating. The standardization of your display will allow you to keep the same visual references according to the different workstations.
In a context of labor issues, work instructions are particularly important. By allowing you to train your new employees faster, you ensure that they can perform quality tasks as soon as they arrive. Thus, work instructions are essential elements to ensure the efficiency of production also as the quality of products in your manufacturing company, despite the shortage of skilled workers.
However, once you have identified its importance, look at what is meant by good work instruction. It can be of quality and effective only if it is integrated into the culture of the company. It is intended to be kept up to date by qualified staff and to be adapted to its audience and provided with a sufficient level of detail. Only once your process is standardized, you can go further and move towards 4.0 with automated instructions. Be careful, to get to this level, you need a reliable and functional update distribution process.
Merkur supports you in the analysis of your needs, the deployment of a global continuous improvement process, in the definition of methods, in the drafting and implementation of your work instructions, and up to the training of your teams. Contact our experts.