Recently, we have received many questions regarding the digitalization of work instructions. The questions often concern what is important when choosing a system, the advantages of different systems, which screens should be used, and how they can be used effectively.
At Solme, we have extensive experience in digital data management for production technology (digitalization), and we see digital work instructions as a simple, concrete, and profitable area to start with.
Through years of dialogue with those working on the digitalization of work instructions, we have identified two development phases. We call them the “Method Phase” and the “Interactive Phase.” By understanding these phases, it becomes easier to see the benefits of digital work instructions.
Method Phase, Development Phase 1 The first development phase occurs during the transition from paper to digital format and publishing work instructions on screens.
In this first phase, it is important to find a system support that improves the work method as much as possible, is user-friendly, and has a clear structure that is easy to follow. This helps to create a standard for the execution of work instructions and minimizes the risk of incorrect information or outdated information.
Other important factors are that the system can reuse and auto-generate information. Images, text, and processes are automatically updated with changes such as new variants or new articles. By using a system that combines these functions and standardizes the process, a lot of time is saved, risks are minimized, and availability increases for the user. Read more here!
Interactive Phase – Development Phase 2
The second development phase occurs during the transition from a digital format to a more interactive format. In this phase, it is good to look at a system support that focuses on UX design (user experience) and improves the interactivity between the digital work instruction, system support, and operator. This is to use needs-adapted information and reporting processes as much as possible for the operator.
We think systems that can use film are good, as film is an effective means of knowledge transfer. This is because film has higher information density than images and contributes to a better understanding of contexts.
If the system has a web interface, accessibility and flexibility for those who administer work instructions are also increased, as the system can be easily updated in real-time regardless of where the administrator is and where the work instruction needs to be published.
It is also important that the system can set up processes for traceability and control, creating a sense of security for the operator and minimizing the risk of mistakes. Using this type of interactive and information-dense system during training should also reduce the training time.
Overall, it is about finding an interactive system that, on a personal level, helps the operator complete their work as quickly and safely as possible. At the same time, the system should be able to integrate with the existing methodology for creating work instructions, thus saving time and quality-assuring the administrator’s work.
When developing features in AVIX to generate work instructions, aspects of quality assurance, standardization, and streamlining have been the focus. When it comes to our web-based publishing tool for digital work instructions (Shop Floor Viewer), we have focused on interactivity and flexibility for the operator.
Guest speaker Johan Palm shares more from his perspective. Johan works as a production technician and NDMS Coordinator at Nordan AB in Tanum. The Tanum factory manufactures windows and doors.
Nordan AB uses AVIX to reduce setup times, balance and level out production flows in the factory.
Johan explains that they are in development phase one (Method Phase) and use some simple digital methods to get the right instruction for the right product.
To take the step towards becoming more digital, they have started to review the method for their instructions. The purpose is to minimize the risk of old instructions being used and to increase the use of instructions among the operators. An important factor to increase usage, Johan believes, is that the instructions should be easy to find and quick to retrieve.
Today, Johan films the processes and generates the work instructions in AVIX. To further customize the instruction, they open the file in Excel and continue working on the file.
One feature they add in Excel is the ability to build the instruction as a form. The purpose is to ensure that the operator completes each step of the process by gradually filling in a digital form. Digital forms can be created in Excel or there are free tools available from Google or Microsoft. This method can also be useful, for example, for maintenance on a machine. Many times, the operator only completes half before shift change, so the next operator wants to know what is left.
Another method they use is to create clickable deep links in the instructions. When the operator clicks on a link, a new page with more information appears.
This has been effective when the operator needed clarification of the instruction and during training.
QR codes linked to instructions and information are another linking method they use. This allows the operator to use the camera on a phone or tablet to scan the QR code and get the correct instruction on their screen.