5 good practices to write effective work instructions

Any organization relies on efficient and quality documentation to be able to work and move forward. In the industry, the essential documents are made of various natures and, among them, the work instructions are true repositories for all the company’s actors : the operators, of course, but also the auditors and the decision makers, among others.

But, how to make sure that the instructions that we are asked to create are efficient and used ? Here are 5 best practices to reach the perfect work instructions…

1. Keep it simple !

Simplicity and efficiency often run together in the industry world. In a nutshell, it implies to relieve the document of any superfluous information, of any data which, not only encumbers the support, but risks in addition to cause trouble to the user by inducing him in the confusion and / or the error.

It also needs a minimalist and uncluttered structure in the creation process including only the elements of instruction and the references that are necessary for the manufacturing / production / exploitation stage.

2. Write clear and accurate documents

Clarity and precision. These are the two words you need to remember when it comes to improving efficiency, time and reducing the possibility of errors. You’ll have to describe the operations that will be carried out through clear and precise visuals in order to eliminate any interpretations that the reader may have, who is thus truly guided in the accomplishment of his mission within his position.

This also makes further clarify job-to-job linkages possible in all their different aspects: concerned posts, the expected time of passage at each post, the order of intervention for each post, linkage conditions, means of transfer from station to station.

3. Go Paperless !

Relying on supports that are both reliable, practical and easy to update is vital for a company’s members. Here, the goal is to reduce or even eliminate errors and malfunctions, especially because of documents left in their old versions. We need to be clear about that : It’s undeniable that classical paper format can no longer satisfy this type of requirement and that digital media have been favored for several years, and this, for several reasons : centralization of information including an easier access to it and especially for mobile screens (tablets, smartphones …) and, mainly, for a security matter.

Adopting paperless / dematerialization for the creation of the work instructions meets the same requirements and the same logic in work environments digitizing, which characterizes the 4.0 industry.

Discover how SKF has digitized their work instructions

4. Make the work instructions one of the company quality system pillars.

The QMS (Quality Management System) as defined by the ISO 9001 standard focuses on the development and maintenance of effective quality documentation. The work instructions are one of the essential components of a quality documentation, which the standard mentioned above symbolizes in the form of a documentary pyramid at the top of which is the quality manual. This is why the work instructions become the pillars of an organization’s ability to achieve its qualitative objectives.

5. Put yourself in the user’s shoes

When you create a work instruction, it seems obvious that it is necessary to think of the person that will consult them. It is only by putting yourself in the user’s shoes, but also by involving him in the development and taking into account his observations gathered in the field, than you can write a document as close as possible to reality.

6. (Bonus) Use a digital work instructions software

One proper way to write effective work instructions is to use a dedicated software. Picomto is a digital work instructions software which allows you to create visual and interactive work instructions. Do not hesitate to contact our expert to know more about our solution.