There’s a fundamental problem with work instructions today. For too many manufacturers, the process can be a disconnected mix of documents, screenshots, slides, data, paper, and emails that form a kind of ‘spaghetti bowl’ of files and information.
The time required to manage and update that volume of content is time consuming and error prone.
Hurry up and Wait
In the typical work instruction process, manufacturing engineers and process planners need to wait until all the data is completely released before they start authoring documents. This “hurry up and wait” scenario delays production and causes a workload imbalance. Using software that is built for change means that manufacturing instructions can begin before final release and be updated to reflect the released data set and any changes that might have.
Quality also suffers when work instructions are created manually in a way that the data becomes disconnected. Maintaining these documents becomes virtually impossible when engineering changes are made, and it is not uncommon to have instructions on the shop floor that don’t represent the parts that need to be put together.
Slow to Fix
Most of time, these problems are very out in the open. Manufacturers are aware of them, but many have been slow to fix them.
We’ve found it’s mostly due to misperceptions as to the amount of work and expense involved.
Making the move from manual to automated, electronic work instructions is an idea that can get quickly lumped into the category of “digital manufacturing,” where initiatives are seen as behemoth projects requiring significant change management.
The truth, however, is very different.
Not all digitization projects are complex and arduous. In fact, some can be broken out into smaller, manageable projects that can be acted upon now, and deliver a very short time to payback.
Modernizing your work instructions process is one such example. Using purpose-built authoring software, authors can create and update work instructions with more clicks and less text, and directly share technical data (including 3D models) right to shop floor operators with a fraction of the manual effort.
It gives manufacturers a faster path to value, with an approach to digital transformation that makes sound business sense. This way, you’re utilizing a software platform that enables you to build basic solution components as you start, then and add on solutions and capabilities in stages.
We expand upon this greatly in our new eBook, The Direct Path Principle: How to Sidestep Complexity in Electronic Work Instructions for Immediate KPI Gains.