In an industrial environment undergoing rapid digital change, the digitalization of work instructions is essential to enable companies to motivate their teams, improve safety at work and, above all, boost operational excellence. The digitization of work instructions should, however, be seen as a necessary investment, but one that brings many benefits to the company.
It is important to know that when we talk about digitization, we are not talking about transforming paper documents into PDF documents. It is rather about the creation of dynamic digital instructions. Let’s find out!
Digitizing work instructions: what does it mean?
To begin with, digitization of work instructions consists of writing, storing, distributing and updating them in a digital format and no longer on paper. In traditional factories, work instructions are usually kept in binders in the production manager’s office. Whenever an operator or technician needs to consult them, he or she would have to leave his or her station and move to the production or maintenance manager’s office, search the documents and look for what he or she needs. In this way, production stoppages multiply, causing great losses to companies.
Industry 4.0 is intended to be a connected factory where all stakeholders are interconnected with each other and with the internal server that contains all the industrial documentation they will need.
The digitization of work instructions facilitates the work of the operators, giving them immediate access to all the documentation they will need to perform their tasks. This eliminates the risk of lost productivity and non-compliance. Operator training is thus facilitated and knowledge transfer is more interactive.
It is not enough to transform them into PDFs, but to use dynamic media.
It’s simply not a matter of scanning paper documents and turning them into PDF documents. The shift to digital format allows more flexibility in the creation and management of industrial documentation. So why settle for a rudimentary format?
The creation of a dynamic format allows the operator to be integrated into the process of continuous improvement of work instructions. He would then feel more involved and could help the company achieve operational excellence. In fact, creating and maintaining work instructions in a dynamic format makes it easier to update them, thus avoiding the application of old directives that could cause production stoppages or non-compliance.
What are the costs of digitization?
Of course, digitizing work instructions comes at a cost. In fact, it must be considered as an investment, taking into account the benefits that will be derived from it.
First of all, it is necessary to invest in digital work instruction software. It will make it possible to create dynamic work instructions that are easy to understand and apply, to keep them for any possible updates and finally to share them with all the operators or technicians who need them. In this way, the occupants of decision-making and organizational positions will have a more global and real-time vision of the consultation of work instructions.
To allow operators and technicians to consult digital work instructions, it is necessary to equip them with connected objects. These may be tablets, PCs, connected glasses, etc. The investment in these devices allows the operators to be autonomous in carrying out their tasks.
Besides creating and updating digital work instructions, time must be spent on training staff in their use. Knowing that in a factory, there are people at all levels of education or even intellectuals. We must take this into consideration and try to create digital work instructions that can be assimilated by everyone. Then, you have to spend time training the different people involved until they become totally autonomous.
What are the benefits of this?
Benefits in terms of quality and productivity
Digitizing work instructions should mean creating clearer and more efficient instructions. In fact, the paper format has many drawbacks, among which is the fact that the paper can easily deteriorate, especially in an industrial environment. Moreover, when we think of the paper format, we can only imagine textual instructions with a few explanatory diagrams that could further complicate understanding.
Thus, the transition to digital format means that the work instructions will move to a more dynamic and intuitive format, which facilitates the understanding and application of such instructions.
In this way, the operator becomes more autonomous in carrying out his tasks, which reduces machine downtime, travel and parameterization errors. As a result, quality and productivity are significantly improved.
By improving quality and productivity, you can only improve profitability. In fact, with digital and dynamic work instructions, the risk of errors and non-conformities is reduced. Thus, with fewer returns, the company can make great savings and earn more.
The transition to digital is the watchword of this century. If the company wants to attract young talent, this is the argument it will use to do so. Young technicians or engineers would not be fascinated by a company whose management is rudimentary. The introduction of new technologies, virtual reality and augmented reality would appeal to young talents who are more comfortable with these work tools.
Invest in digital work instruction software
Picomto is a digital work instruction software. It is a financial investment as well as in terms of human resources and time, but it is important to know that by switching to digital and dynamic work instructions, the company will make its investment profitable through gains in quality, productivity and saving of time and resources.