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VKS 6.5: The 4 Updates That Will Enhance Your Operation

By: Ben Baldwin

January 11, 2023

 VKS 6.5: The 4 Updates That Will Enhance Your Operation

To give you the most advanced processes the industry has to offer, we are proud to announce the arrival of VKS 6.5. We’ve made your chosen work instruction software better with new capabilities to enhance your digital experience and aid your workforce.

In VKS 6.5, we’ve established 4 new updates:

Each one of these items has a lot to offer your operation so let's dive in!

Update 1. Customized Text & Label Annotations

Our first update enables users to see and assimilate process knowledge through an enhancement of the diversity of colors and font sizes you can use within your guidebooks.

To enable the best level of comprehension and visual guidance, guidebook authors can customize Text Annotations & Label Annotations with the following 3 key options:

  • Multiple Text Colors: Change the color of your text as well as the color of the text box.
  • Range of Font Sizes: Make your text larger or smaller depending on the needs of your visual instructions.
  • Bolded or Unbolded Text: Catch the eye of your operators by bolding specific text and instructions.

Each of these enhanced options gives you greater control and flexibility of your operation while aiding your workforce quickly assimilate knowledge.

How the Customized Text Feature Works

Within Organizations Settings, your admins create a set of approved color palettes and font sizes. Your guidebook authors then choose from these predefined color and font size palettes to highlight specific information, customize guidebooks, and optimize text recognition with any image or background in the guidebook.

Use Case 1: Give Greater Recognition to Your Text

Take yellow annotations, an industrial favorite for relaying text on complex backgrounds. The color naturally pops out when layered over almost any image.

But what if you have a yellow background or a yellow product line? Your annotations and labels might not pop out the way you want them to.


This new update enables you to optimize text visualization and comprehension in any environment. Simply change the text box and text color to ensure that your manufacturing personnel easily see the information they need to safely and efficiently get the job done.

Use Case 2: Categorize Colors to Highlight Specific Information

With this new option of color palettes and font sizes, guidebook authors can also highlight and categorize specific information for the user, such as safety steps, inspection points, etc.

For instance, in the below image, the guidebook author has increased the font size and changed the font color to emphasize a specific safety point for the operator.

safety annotations

This allows the operator to quickly recognize certain instruction steps and their function within the guidebook. If there’s an important quality step, the operator knows this before they’ve even read the text. If there’s a specific safety concern, the operator will intuitively be aware of the potential dangers simply due to the color of the Text Annotations & Label Annotations.

Update 2. Optimized Work Order Information

Within the VKS 6.5 update, our Work Orders page has received 3 new updates that enable you to obtain and visualize more information.

  1. Work Order Search
  2. Work Order Details
  3. Operations Details

1. Work Order Search

First, the Work Order page has been optimized with a new interface. You can now choose to search for work orders using either the advanced or the new compact search fields. This added functionality enables you to find what you need faster while still being able to enter more advanced options and specific information.

work order search

The search page has also been given two tabs:

  • Launched: Search for work orders that have been started or completed.
  • Upcoming Operations: Find operations and work orders that have not been started.

This segmented approach enables 2 key benefits for your employees:

  1. Allows managers to gain a live view of work order statuses.
  2. Enables shop floor operators to select their work center and quickly see a list of upcoming jobs.

For instance, users with Admin status can bookmark specific “welding” search criteria for all your welding workstations. Anytime a welding workstation is opened, our work instruction software populates a list that details the appropriate work order and operations data immediately. The required jobs are already on the screen, enabling your teams to find their work orders faster.

Did you know you can optimize your Work Orders page with URL strings?

Based on your chosen search criteria, program specific workstations to immediately open with the desired search parameters and results.

Users with Admin status can bookmark specific “welding” search criteria for all welding workstations. Anytime those workstations are opened, our work instruction software populates the appropriate work orders, enabling your teams to launch their work faster.

Visual Cues for Work Orders

The populated list has also received new visual cues to help users quickly determine the status of each work order.

Users quickly see if a work order and/or operation is Completed, In Progress, Closed, or Canceled. Operators can also expand each work order and review crucial information right from the Work Order search page before launching the work order.

visual cues

If personnel want more information, they can launch the new Work Order Details & Operations Details page.

2. Work Order Details

With the new Work Order Details page, you and your employees see the complete routing structure for any specific work order, giving your team insights into work order status and expected/completed quantities and operations.

work order details

This page functions as a digital traveler, allowing you to monitor your work orders over multiple operations. In the above picture on the first line, out of 12 available quantities, 6 welding operations have been completed with zero rejects. This means that 6 products are ready for assembly which is presented in the Assembly operation line. But since no products have been assembled, there are no available quantities ready for packaging.

The work order details page enables managers and supervisors to monitor crucial work order information from anywhere at any time.

3. Operations Details

The new Operation Details page enables users to gain quick access to all information regarding the various operations on your shop floor.

Workers and other personnel can use this page to review key operational factors like

  • BOM (Bill of Materials)
  • Tool Lists
  • VKS Variables

What this means for you is that you can now see detailed information and review whether your tool lists or BOM information derives from VKS or an external system like an ERP!

operations details

Update 3. Live Tool Lists

Another key update in VKS 6.5 is the ability to push Tool Lists to your digital work instructions.

Just as BOM information is available within your VKS guidebooks, Live Tool Lists give your workers the exact tool types and locations they need when setting up machinery for any job.

tool lists

Tool Lists can be funneled into your VKS guidebooks based on the corresponding work order from your other integrated systems. For instance, your ERP sends detailed tool information to VKS so that users can see all required information within their guidebooks, greatly decreasing machine setup times and work instruction authoring.

Use Case: Import Tool Lists from CAD-CAM Systems

This new feature enhances guidebook integration with CAD-CAM systems.

For example, when performing machine setup on a metal bender, Tool Lists provide operators with the correct tool ID and location for every job, enabling organizations to use one dynamic guidebook for all metal bending setup procedures.

When an operator is setting up a machine, the correct Tool List is pushed through the API into VKS.

pro tip

Pro Tip: If you’re not using another integrated system, tool lists can also be added manually, giving you complete flexibility and control to suit your specific needs.

Update 4. Autosave Smart Forms

Autosave Smart Forms allows manufacturing teams to gather valuable data without any human interaction. This automated process allows your operators to focus on their work while VKS takes care of various functions in the background.

Here’s how it works:

Guidebook authors create VKS Smart Forms that are programmed to autofill with predetermined information while users follow their work instructions. And during this process, VKS records the exact time the data was captured.

This feature can be used to streamline and automate the following actions.

  1. Capturing PIF (Product Identification Form) data
  2. Collecting time studies data
  3. Use of VKS variables and configuration codes
  4. Notify leaders early for required inspections

Use Case 1: Expedite How You Launch Work Orders

When opening a guidebook in VKS Pro or Enterprise, operators are presented with a PIF (Product Information Form) where users identify factors like the Order number, Quantity, Total Production Time, and Setup Time.

product information form

If the work order is retrieved from an ERP through our API, this information is already on the screen, which means the operator doesn’t have to manually enter these specifications. However, they still need to click save to progress to the next step.

Autosave Smart Forms remove the need for this interaction and allows the operator to launch into their work immediately while the PIF is saved automatically in the background.

Use Case 2: Gain Variability Without Direct Interaction

This capability also enhances configure-to-order processes and VKS variables. Guidebooks with multiple built-in processes will often require users to confirm the configuration code for their specific build. Once users confirm the configuration code, VKS displays the relevant steps.

While operator confirmation may be necessary for some instances, Autosave Smart Forms give organizations the flexibility and control to remove a part of the process.

VKS variables

With this feature enabled in your configure-to-order form, users advance to the next applicable steps based on the work order information and configuration code without any interaction from the user. This new feature allows the operator to move on to the next section of the guidebook in one fluid movement.

Use Case 3: Conduct Time Studies

After production is finished, organizations can use Autosave Smart Forms to perform time studies and gain a granular view of their process flow.

For example, organizations can track how long it takes for workers to progress from step to step, gather components, perform their prechecks, or any other action.

As users go from step to step, Autosave Smart Forms generate checkpoints through the guidebook. As the form is automatically saved, a time stamp is created. These time stamps can be sent to business intelligence software, such as Power BI, to perform time studies on the individual actions of workers, the complete process, and other time-sensitive factors

Use Case 4: Notify Leaders Early & Mitigate Periods of Waiting

mitigate waiting

When training new personnel or developing a new process, in-process inspections are an effective way to monitor quality. But when users are ready for an inspection from their supervisor, they often need to wait for the person to come to them.

However, you can use Autosave Smart Forms to greatly mitigate this period of waiting.

Guidebook authors can create an Autosave Smart Form that notifies the supervisor that an operator/workstation is ready for inspection. This smart form can then be placed at step 8 of 10, giving the supervisor time to get to the workstation and ensuring that the operator is not stuck twiddling their thumbs.

Continuous Improvement Is a Way of Life!

Since the industry is always advancing with new technology and methods, we strive to keep VKS at the forefront of the possibilities of work instruction software.

We’re proud to offer this new update so that you can consistently seize knowledge, gain insight, and pursue growth at every moment.