Work instruction templates enable companies to share knowledge faster with their workforce. With an intelligent standardized method, companies can speed up and optimize how they initiate and maintain their standardized processes.
In a nutshell, work instruction templates empower companies to standardize how they standardize.
The subject of standardizing your standardization methods may seem a little out there, but it is an incredibly worthwhile venture. If your work instructions are hard to implement, maintain, and continuously improve, then how effective can they be?
Since work instructions are a long-term strategy, you need smart and effective methods. Work instruction templates are a major aid in this endeavor. The right templates enable companies to achieve standardization across all their operations consistently. But the wrong templates can be more trouble than they're worth.
With this in mind, let’s explore the capabilities of work instructions and their templates to find the right solution for your business.
The Power of Work Instruction Templates
Work instruction templates enable companies to perform various functions in an optimized manner. They help companies:
- Kickstart standardization methods
- Decrease work instruction creation times
- Update hundreds of instructions simultaneously
- Share complex knowledge quickly and effectively with the workforce.
- Ensure that all standardized methods are standardized no matter who is building the instructions
With this list of capabilities, it's no wonder why companies in need of standardization are looking to implement work instruction templates.
But how do you know which templates will suit your business?
Not all Work Instruction Templates Are Equal
First and foremost, standardization is good at any level. It enables businesses to identify and share their best practices with the workforce and achieve higher levels of quality with every process. And using a set of templates can help kick-start how you document your procedures.
However, not all work instruction templates are set up for long-term success.
While a quick Google search will show you a number of standardization methods and supposedly free options, each one may not be what your unique operation needs. Similarly, companies can opt to use Word, PowerPoint, or a series of PDFs to standardize their methods, but often their efforts fall flat. Without a purpose-built system that allows you to get the most out of your templates, workers and supervisors can grow tired of a system and method that’s hard to understand and even harder to update.
To make your work instruction templates as effective as you need them to be, they need to meet the exact needs of your organization, ensuring that workers can easily follow them and authors can quickly create and update them.
4 Core Elements of Good Work Instruction Templates
So how do you choose the right work instruction templates? And how can you optimize the process to ensure you get the most out of your work instruction solution?
When looking at work instruction templates, it is useful to look at them from two perspectives.
- How easily can workers understand the process instructions?
- How quickly can authors create and update the instructions?
The best work instruction templates and platforms possess 4 core elements that enable businesses to optimize how workers receive knowledge and how authors create/update them.
1. Design & Function
The first element of a good work instruction template is design. Workers need a comprehensive design that directs their eyes to crucial elements of the work instruction. For this reason, visual elements and cues within your work instruction templates should be systematically placed near the center and take up most of the screen. Any additional information that is not directly crucial to the process should be placed on the side.
Workers can easily access and view the information at any time, but it doesn’t steal attention away from the main process.
Our work instruction software takes care of the design for you. With a proven design built by manufacturers and used by companies all over the world, VKS provides your workers with an easy and comprehensible layout while also allowing authors to create and add interactive elements.
Users can toggle between different viewing modes to suit the process and their needs. If the goal is to focus on a specific procedure, users can augment the design and toggle Distraction Free Mode. On the other hand, if users want to maintain a view of their performance and/or track their placement within the guidebook, VKS can display the thumbnails and expand the info panel.
2. Duplicate Work Instruction Templates
Aside from the design and function of your work instruction templates, you’ll want to easily replicate your work instructions if you have a number of similar processes.
In this case, you can create one basic work instruction that has the required structure along with the preliminary safety measures and standard operating procedures (SOPs). Then you can use this foundation to tailor each individual guidebook to suit the specific product and/or process.
Duplicating work instruction templates easily cuts your work instruction creation times in half or more. Work instruction authors only need to fill in the gaps to create a whole new process. All key measures, process sequence order, and company best practices are already within the work instructions, including all smart forms, alerts, and rule engines.
Additionally, since the template is stored within one accessible system and possesses a full version history, keeping track of your original templates and their changes becomes easy and extremely reliable.
3. Embedded Guidebooks
Work instruction templates can also be used to embed specific practices into any work instruction, making their utilization a powerhouse for continuous improvement. Companies can update and improve one template and have it automatically applied to all associated guidebooks.
Embedded guidebooks are the next level of work instruction templates, facilitating faster and easier continuous improvement.
Here’s how it works.
Within any company procedure, there are specific guidelines, SOPs, and safety procedures that need to be followed every time. Using VKS embedded guidebooks, authors can embed pre-established practices at any point within a work instruction. This means that they don’t have to re-create safety measures or SOPs every time they make a new guidebook.
But here’s the amazing part. When these safety measures and SOPs are improved, they are automatically updated in all guidebooks that use the embedded procedure. This intelligent process allows companies to improve all their work instructions by only adjusting one file.
Work Instructions Template Use Case: Update Hundreds of Instructions with One Click
For example, imagine that you manage an assembly department that is currently assembling seats for long-distance trucks, locomotives, and lawnmowers. You’ve established over 200 separate guidebooks for your line of seats. While each product is different, each process has similar core procedures such as safety measures and general SOPs.
Recently, you and your team have discovered a faster and safer method to attach the pneumatic components to the base of the seat. This new process is proposed to increase quality and speed up production.
Now, all you need to do is update your guidebooks with the new process. In the past, companies would have to manually find all 200 work instructions and update them individually. Often companies would miss out on the improvement because updating the instructions was just too big a job.
But thankfully, you’re using VKS embedded guidebooks, enabling you to isolate and update the core process across all guidebooks. Once the change has been made, all 200 affected guidebooks are automatically updated with the new process, saving your team weeks of work.
Read More: Did you know that Seats Inc. uses VKS work instruction software? Using digital work instructions, Seats Inc. increased their quality output, ensured ISO 9001 compliance, and provided greater accessibility and communication for their workforce.
4. Shared Smart Forms, Rules, & Pictograms
Similar to the embedded guidebooks, VKS work instructions also allow users to create templates of interactive and informative elements within their work instruction guidebooks. This allows for a great deal of diversity, flexibility, and control when implementing a work instructions template methodology.
- Smart Forms: VKS Smart Forms enable companies to collect process data directly from the shop floor. The smart forms can be filled in manually or autonomously based on your required setup.
- Rule Engine: Based on specific conditions and actions, the VKS Rule Engine enables companies to apply automated processes based on in-the-moment data enetered into the smart from.
- Pictograms: These visual cues help workers and authors quickly convey information such as PPE requirements and safety reminders.
In the case of templates, organizations can create a set of template smart forms, rules, and pictograms and apply them to multiple guidebooks. When these elements need to be updated with new fields and information, every identified element is updated instantaneously.
This level of variability and control within work instruction templates allows companies to push the boundaries of modern manufacturing, paving the way for standardized and intelligent continuous improvement methods.
Pro Tip: Within VKS, users can create Guidebook Sets, a cluster of guidebooks, that allows users to assign shared forms, rules, and pictograms. This template capability makes the application of shared elements fast and simple.
How Will You Use Your Work Instruction Templates?
Work instruction templates are a key tool that allows companies to kickstart and optimize their standardization methods. With the right work instructions template solution, process knowledge is shared faster and improvements are rolled out sooner.
VKS offers an extensive system to make standardization simple yet powerful. Backed by over 50 years of manufacturing experience, VKS work instruction software is made by manufacturers for the manufacturing environment. Our work instructions template system enables companies to get the most out of their standardization efforts while also expediting the process.
Do you want to learn how to make your own work instruction templates that actually work within your unique environment?
Book a demo with one of our industry experts and we’ll walk you through specific implementation strategies to gain a long-lasting benefit from your work instruction templates.