Work Instruction

What is a work instruction?

A work instruction, also referred to as a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), work guide or job aid, is a basic step-by-step guide to completing activities and tasks within processes, procedures and workflows.

They explain how to reach the desired outcome of a activity in a business process. Another name for work instructions is procedures. However, in ISO there is a distinction between those two. A procedure would be illustrating the entire process as a whole whereas, a work instruction is used to demonstrate a single basic step in a process.

What are visual work instructions?

Their graphic nature allows users to see what the end product looks like and what steps they need to complete. Visual instructions not only reduce setup time, they reduce mistakes and allow for the transfer of information from one operator to the next. After all, reading blocks of text are statistically one of the worst methods of transferring knowledge according to the National Training Laboratories. With the current state of the art, producing video examples and more engaging instructions is much easier than ever.

However, their effectiveness is not the only benefit. The most immediate benefit is time-saving. They are produced 70% faster than written instructions.

Another key benefit of using visuals is that generally, they are easy to update. In comparison, paper instructions can be very time-consuming and difficult to change as well as resource-intensive. But, despite all of the benefits many industry observers claim fewer than 30% of manufacturers have adopted visuals in their instructions.

With that in mind, it’s a great investment to introduce visual work instructions to your organisation. These benefits are not short-term, as you expand so does the effectiveness of this software. This is of course, because not only are you producing them more efficiently, but you’re sending these instructions to workers immediately, regardless of location.

Further resources:

How to write work instructions for your business

How to create visual work instructions

Gabriela Delgado

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