Yes, creating work instructions is a long and grueling task to fulfill; however, great instructions are absolute game-changers that can significantly benefit your company’s production. Manufacturing work instructions guide you and your business toward consistent improvement. That’s why work instructions are considered the cornerstone of every manufacturing company.
This article will introduce manufacturing work instructions and why you should entice people within your company to use them.
What are Manufacturing Work Instructions?
A manufacturing work instruction is a document that details how a process should be performed. The difference from other documents, such as drawings or procedures, is that it uses simple language and contains less technical detail.
Work instructions are used throughout the plant, so EVERYONE knows what to do. This makes it easier for operators to follow their work instructions, thus upholding quality and safety standards. It also helps them reach the required output, saving time and money.
Using pictures or diagrams, manufacturing work instructions should be simple and easily understood. The procedures that they document should also be written in a logical sequence with all important information included.
If you or your workers refer to a work instruction while performing a task, everyone within the company should be able to carry out their job without referring elsewhere. For the work instruction to be effective, everyone must follow them when performing tasks for consistency throughout the plant.
Are Manufacturing Work Instructions Important?
YES! Manufacturing Work Instructions provide the standard way to do a task and should be used by everyone involved. They make sure that:
- Everyone is doing the same thing in the same way (consistency)
- Mistakes are caught quickly before they become an issue (everyone follows the rules)
- Processes are efficient and effective (no time wasted)
- Accuracy of the process is maintained, increasing quality and production output
- Employee satisfaction remains high (Operators feel comfortable with what they need to know to do their job).
Manufacturing work instructions ensure an efficient and smooth operation through documentation. The more time spent on them, the more streamlined everything will run, saving time and money in the long run. In addition, they are also easy to change and should be considered. So, tweak whenever necessary. Also, make sure your manufacturing work instructions are visible throughout every part of the facility.
How To Encourage People To Use Manufacturing Work Instructions?
Encouraging people to use manufacturing work instructions is crucial for maintaining consistency, quality, and safety in production. Here are some strategies to promote the adoption of work instructions among team members:
Emphasize the Importance
Communicate the benefits of using work instructions, such as improved product quality, reduced errors, increased efficiency, and enhanced safety. Help team members understand that following these instructions is vital for the success of the company and their individual performance.
Involve Team Members in the Creation Process
Engage operators, technicians, and other team members in the development of work instructions. Their input will help create more accurate and relevant instructions, and they will also be more likely to follow and promote them if they feel a sense of ownership.
Provide Proper Training and Orientation
Offer comprehensive training on how to use the work instructions, including hands-on demonstrations and opportunities for practice. Ensure that everyone understands the instructions and feels comfortable using them.
Make Work Instructions Accessible
Place work instructions in easily accessible locations, such as at workstations, on mobile devices, or within an internal company website. Ensure that they are available in multiple formats (e.g., print, digital, video) to cater to different learning preferences.
Promote User-friendly Instruction Designs
Create clear, concise, and visually appealing work instructions using simple language, step-by-step guidance, and visual aids. The easier they understand and follow, the more likely team members will use them.
Establish a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Encourage feedback and suggestions for improving work instructions from team members. This will help keep the instructions up-to-date and relevant and reinforce the importance of following them.
Incorporate Work Instructions into Performance Evaluations
Make adherence to work instructions a part of the employee performance review process. Recognize and reward those who consistently follow the instructions and contribute to improvements.
Lead by Example
Managers and supervisors should demonstrate their commitment to using work instructions by following them and promoting their use among team members. That way, your work instructions for manufacturing processes will be used throughout the facility.
Monitor and Assess Compliance
Regularly assess the extent to which work instructions are followed and promptly address any issues or concerns. This may involve conducting audits, observing team members during work, or reviewing production data for signs of non-compliance.
Share stories and examples of how using work instructions has led to positive outcomes, such as reduced errors, improved efficiency, or increased safety. Recognize and celebrate the achievements of individuals and teams who consistently follow work instructions.
By implementing these strategies, you can foster a culture where using manufacturing work instructions becomes a normal and valued part of the production process. This will ultimately lead to better product quality, enhanced safety, and increased efficiency across your organization.
What to Include In Your Work Instructions
Manufacturing Work Instructions should include the following elements and factors:
- The task to be performed (identify what is going to be done)
- The standard for doing it (how it is going to be done)
- Location of the task (where it will be performed)
- The role and responsibility of each person involved in performing the task
- Tools needed for doing the task.
- Parts, instruments, or equipment must be used to complete the process.
- Process parameters(conditions, settings)
- Emergency information for when things go wrong (Second-in-command, plant shutdown procedure.)
- Critical Safety Information (Gas detectors, fire extinguishers.)
If necessary, you can also include diagrams in your manufacturing work instructions. You can tap into the Engineering department and have their skills and expertise help you with incorporating these diagrams.
How To Create Manufacturing Work Instructions?
Manufacturing work instructions are essential for ensuring consistent product quality, worker safety, and efficient processes. Creating effective work instructions requires attention to detail, clear communication, and collaboration with team members.
When creating manufacturing work instructions, it’s essential to have a quality plan. The plan gives an overview of how things will be done. The work instruction is then used to document the specific details of each process.
Here is an outline of the steps involved in creating manufacturing work instructions:
Collect all relevant information about the manufacturing process, including product specifications, process flow diagrams, safety guidelines, and other necessary documentation.
Identify the Target Audience
Determine who will be using the work instructions, such as machine operators, assembly workers, or quality inspectors. This helps tailor the content and language to suit the needs of the end-users.
Break Down the Process
Divide the manufacturing process into smaller, manageable steps. Each step should focus on a specific task or action required to complete the process.
Create a Step-by-Step Guide
Write clear and concise instructions for each step, using simple language and short sentences. Use active voice and action verbs to describe the tasks. Include any important details, such as measurements, tolerances, or equipment settings.
Include Visual Aids
Supplement the written instructions with visual aids, such as photographs, illustrations, or diagrams. These can help clarify complex steps, show proper techniques, or highlight critical points in the process.
Incorporate Safety Guidelines
Ensure that safety precautions are integrated into the work instructions. This may include personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, hazard warnings, or emergency procedures.
Validate the Instructions
Test the work instructions by having a team member unfamiliar with the process follow them. This will help identify any gaps, inconsistencies, or areas of confusion that may need revision.
Consult with team members, supervisors, and other stakeholders to gather their input and suggestions for improvement. Incorporate their feedback to refine the work instructions further.
Standardize the Format
Establish a consistent format for all work instructions, including fonts, headings, numbering, and layout. This helps ensure easy navigation and comprehension.
Implement and Train
Distribute the finalized work instructions to the appropriate team members and provide training as needed. Ensure that everyone understands the importance of following the instructions and knows how to access them.
Monitor and Update
Regularly review and update the work instructions based on changes in processes, equipment, or regulations. Encourage team members to provide feedback and report any issues while using the instructions.
By following these steps, you can create comprehensive and effective manufacturing work instructions that promote consistency, quality, and safety throughout your production process.
How to Make Work Instructions Work?
The following are key points to ensure that the manufacturing work instructions you create will do their job:
- Work instructions should be written by the person closest to the task to ensure accuracy. They will have more information on how to execute it and in what order, making or breaking the process.
- Ensure that everyone in your plant follows the same standards. No exceptions!
- Make sure that work instructions are updated regularly and kept in a safe place (e.g., near the machine).
- Ensure that there is an ‘owner’ for each part of the operation who can answer any questions regarding it and offer training to new employees if needed. Also, make sure that they are in a safe place (e.g., near the machine).
- Work instructions should be formatted to be easy to read and understand. Present each step in the process in short bullet points containing key information only.
Create Manufacturing Work Instructions Using a Low-code Platform
A low-code platform is the answer if you’re looking for an easy way to create and maintain manufacturing work instructions. Low-code platforms provide features such as visual drag-and-drop editors that simplify defining processes, flows, and forms without any coding experience. They also allow you to easily collaborate with other team members on creating and maintaining work instructions.
DATAMYTE is a quality management platform with low-code capabilities. The DataMyte Digital Clipboard, in particular, is a low-code workflow automation software that features a checklist and smart form builder. This tool lets you create comprehensive manufacturing work instructions that you can use and share with your team.
To create a checklist or form template using DATAMYTE, follow these steps:
- Log in to the DATAMYTE software and navigate to the ‘Checklist’ module.
- Click “Create Checklist.”
- Add a title to your template; select the category where it belongs.
- Start adding items to the template by clicking “Add Item.”
- Define the description of each item, what type of answer it requires, and other relevant specifications (e.g., reference documents, acceptance criteria, limits).
- Assign a team member responsible for conducting the inspection using the template.
- Add signature fields for any required approvals (e.g., supervisors, quality assurance personnel).
- Save the template—you can now access it anywhere, and it will be available for use on any device.
DATAMYTE also lets you conduct layered process audits, a high-frequency evaluation of critical process steps, focusing on areas with the highest failure risk or non-compliance. Conducting LPA with DATAMYTE lets you effectively identify and correct potential defects before they become major quality issues.
With DATAMYTE, you have an all-in-one solution for creating and implementing manufacturing work instructions. Book a demo now to learn how DATAMYTE can help you create and maintain effective work instructions in your production processes.
Manufacturing work instructions are essential for maintaining quality, safety, and consistency in production processes. When creating work instructions, it’s essential to make sure that they are written by the person closest to the task, that everyone follows the same standards, and that they are easy to read and understand. Low-code platforms like DATAMYTE can help you create and implement effective work instructions quickly and easily. Get started today!