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By: Ben Baldwin
March 3, 2022
Who reaps the benefits of going digital? Or in other words, who can use VKS?
Even though we have experienced the first full decade of industry 4.0, we are still only beginning to uncover the benefits of digital operations. The power to connect workers, systems, tools, and machines has proven to change the landscape of modern manufacturing. But many companies fail to understand the potential of the digital tools at their disposal.
Do you know how to fully utilize the best potential modern technology has to offer?
Any industry can use VKS. If you have work that needs to be followed carefully, then digital processes are extremely beneficial. Whether you are a factory, a hospital, or a construction site, VKS helps companies capture and share best practices through standardized work instructions. And there has been no other time in history where this is needed more.
Within the manufacturing industry in the US, there is a workforce turnover rate of approximately 37%. And in 2020, the average U.S. job tenure of people in manufacturing was only 5.1 years.
In this type of environment, companies must begin implementing smart tools to remain competitive and achieve optimal quality and productivity.
To showcase the power of work instruction software and the benefits of going digital, we headed to VKS’s sister manufacturing company CMP and staged a little friendly competition between two experienced assembly operators. The competition (or test) was a time trial where each operator needed to build 5 products in as little time as possible while not making any mistakes.
Each operator needs to build 5 finished products, apply labels, and pack them in boxes for shipping. The operator that finishes the work first with no errors will be declared the winner.
Ready, set, go!
From the time chart to the right, we see the operator with VKS was faster in every round. In the first round they were able to complete the assembly in 80% of the time it took the other operator. After this, both operators got significantly faster but the operator following the guidebook maintained the lead.
But there was a problem. The operator without VKS forgot to apply the labels, which took an additional 118 seconds to correct the mistake on all five products. Adding to this, he failed to close the boxes properly with the required tape and folding procedure. Add another 300 seconds to fix the previous boxes.
The final results show that the operator with VKS did the job in nearly a third of the time without any mistakes.
But don’t feel too bad for the operator without VKS. At the end of the day, it was the experience of operators like him that enables other operators to perform their tasks without error. VKS empowers industry leaders to effectively share knowledge and expertise among the whole workforce.
You could argue that the competition had something to do with the operator making a series of mistakes. However, the industry is under more pressure to build faster than ever before. This pressure opens the door for mistakes, miscommunications, and defects. Tools like VKS are needed to remove this pressure and achieve new levels of fabricating and assembling products with confidence, speed, and precision.
Though this was a fairly small assembly job, we can extrapolate 2 major factors when working with larger assemblies.
The bigger the task, the greater the time impact: In the competition, we saw the difference of a few seconds. But for jobs that take longer to fulfill, utilizing work instruction software shaves days off of the production schedule.
More time equals more opportunities for errors: Jobs that require a lot of hours to produce also have the added potential for more inconsistencies. Giving operators process guides that provide key knowledge when they need it is invaluable for manufacturing and beyond!
Read More: The 10 Biggest Manufacturing Trends for 2023
VKS is first and foremost a tool for the people within your operation. Since workers are the core of any company, strengthening them is the fastest way to achieve success.
They occupy numerous roles in a wide variety of industries, and though it may be impossible to list every role that can use VKS, let’s go over the key roles in manufacturing and beyond that stand to see the greatest benefits of going digital.
Operators are the members of your team who produce the goods that add value to your business. They are directly involved with how value is created on your shop floor. For this reason, they are some of the first people to see the benefits of going digital.
With detailed instructions providing accurate knowledge, operators are empowered to perform their tasks with greater accuracy and production insight.
But the role of operator extends far beyond the strict production of goods. In other industries, operators provide key services that build value. This includes positions such as hotel concierge and merchandising representative.
Did you know that Watchfire Signs, a leading manufacturer of LED billboards, uses our work instruction software on the shop floor as well as in their marketing department?
Whatever the product or service, VKS is a flexible tool that enables operators of any kind to reap the full benefits of going digital with enhanced knowledge and confidence.
Production trainers use VKS to add value to their training curriculum while expediting the process. Instead of one trainer focusing on one employee or giving sub-standard training to a group of people, trainers can leverage digital work instruction software to train multiple people through an interactive classroom setting. Once this is accomplished, new hires go out on the floor and follow a set of instructions that enables them to produce value sooner than normally possible.
Chesterton, a leading manufacturer of high-quality mechanical seals, was able to enhance their training curriculum by using VKS to orient employees in a classroom and then train them on the shop floor with guidebooks made for their new hires. With this setup, newer employees were able to add production value while still in training.
Adding to this, STEM Field schools are adopting digital processes to enhance the productivity and the knowledge assimilation of their students. Often, teachers are vastly outnumbered by their students. But with VKS, no student is left without direction. This has lead Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre (CVCEC) students to go from building 11 to 88 stairs per semester.
Managers and supervisors provide direction for their teams and colleagues. With a keen understanding of the bigger company vision, they support and lead their teams towards new goals and performance.
Sometimes, tracking performance, let alone leading innovation, can be hard. For sagacious leaders that desire enhanced knowledge and insight, it's hard to look past the benefits of going digital. Using tools like work instruction software enables leaders to gather key knowledge and performance data while tracking where successes and failures are generated.
Key leadership responsibilities like tracking KPIs, root cause analysis, connecting with workers, continuous improvement, and achieving new levels of quality are simpler and more effective than ever with digital platforms!
Management personnel use VKS to connect with their workers and their operation in a meaningful way.
Guidebook authors are the people who document the process with text, pictures, videos, and more. They also set up the smart forms and data capturing elements that enable operators to pass on valuable information to their supervisors and managers.
These can be shop floor operators, quality inspectors, engineers, or anyone with an in-depth understanding of how the job is done. The benefit of going digital for these people is the simple way they can relay ideas and instructions to operators.
Need to provide technical drawings and specs on the unit? Create a link to the required material within the guidebook.
Need to present something in a 3-dimensional context while keeping the descriptions concise and easy to read? Display pictures and videos to provide context and accurate representations for easy assimilation.
Need to automate processes that make everyone's life easier? Use VKS Smart Forms, Rule Engines, and ToolConnect that autonomously perform valuable actions in the background.
These modern digital innovations of the industry enable a dynamic and flexible method for people to create and read instructions while gathering useful data.
Reviewers scrutinize the guide books written by the authors, making sure they are clear, relevant, and accurate.
This task is best performed by trusted and experienced operators that work on the shop floor. They know the process in and out and will be able to tell authors if the documented process is feasible with how the job is actually done.
Another method of reviewing guidebooks is to perform a Gemba Walk. Go to the floor with your team and see how the operation is done in real-life. Use this knowledge to understand your operation and see if the process makes sense for you and your team.
One of the key benefits of going digital is that reviewing and continuously improving your established processes is fast and easy. With VKS, editing individual guidebooks or mass updating the appropriate guidebooks in a group is only one click away. No need to hunt down and replace paper records with every improvement.
In short, anyone who wants to bring their operation to the next level should seriously consider the benefits of going digital with their standardized work practices.
When ushering in the new generation of workers and enhancing the skills of the existing workforce, digital processes are the present and the future of modern work. With a digital resource that is always available, does not degrade, is easy to improve, and enhances the knowledge of all involved, there is an infinite list of benefits that the industry is still discovering.
To put it succinctly, digital work instruction software enables leaders and workers around the world to enhance their skills and potential in a way that truly benefits their team and operation. And VKS is excited to continue finding new innovations of Industry 4.0.
Read Next: The 10 Biggest Manufacturing Trends for 2022
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