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By: Mathieu Samson
April 2, 2020
Each company needs to face a number of change cycles in its timeline. Any crisis with the degree we are currently facing will present a greater challenge, but that does not mean we cannot adapt effectively. As a result of COVID-19, industries all over the world are trying to maximize the number of employees that can work from home.
To help with this transition, we created a guide to show you how best to optimize your remote work experience using the VKS work instruction software. On top of being a great way to keep employees productive off-site, VKS also contains a myriad of tools that let users monitor, coordinate, and effectively communicate with each other.
When creating a guidebook remotely, it is important to keep in mind the essentials of starting with quality material. You want to create a guidebook that is rich in pictures and videos, ideally taken from the point of view of the operator. This is the best method to convey a certain process and will greatly reduce the on-boarding training of new employees or staff covering for their colleagues.
Creating such guides without being onsite is possible but requires some resourcefulness. If you already have a large photo and video database, then it is time to dive in it and use it. If you don’t have access to such a database, reach out to those still onsite and see if a colleague can help you gather the material you need.
If you are unable to access any conventional guidebook material, keep in mind that a lack of pictures or videos does not mean a lack of content. For example, you could make use of your technical drawings or 3D models and insert screen captures of those as your steps.
You can also verify if there are similar steps in other Guidebooks and import those into your current instructions. You will find that you likely already have pictures of tools, PPE, generic parts, machinery, control panels, and production lines elsewhere that can be reused.
For steps lacking visual support, we suggest adding a Text step and depicting what the operator can expect to see. This way, you can still add important elements on this step such as attachments, forms, alerts, etc. Once you regain access to your material, you will already know what pictures are missing to complete your Guidebook, and it will be only a matter of replacing the text steps with the appropriate images.
More than ever, employees will be in situations where they will need to learn new processes rapidly. Perhaps they will need to cover for their colleagues that cannot be on site, they might have to take on production from a sister site that has temporarily closed down, or their company might shift their production focus to help fight the crisis. It is of utmost importance that the knowledge is transferred adequately, and that it is properly assimilated.
Using guidebooks as training material is a great way to efficiently pass on information while avoiding the need for classrooms. Operators can learn how to assemble a new product from virtually any location without needing to come into close contact with other employees. In addition to training operators on the assembly process, guidebooks can also be used to transmit information on safety procedures and maintenance procedures throughout the entire company. Training on how to thoroughly disinfect a workstation, as well as a company’s policy on maintaining social distancing in the workplace are good examples of how every member of the company can benefit from remote training.
As with a regular guidebook, using a mix of images and videos will help you transmit your message more efficiently than with just text. Once again, if you don’t have the material on hand, reach out to others or dig into your resourcefulness. With the ability to add everything from links, to pdfs into your training procedures, you can adapt them to meet the learning needs of a wide variety of people.
Creating an informative training guidebook is the first step, now it is time to ensure that the information transmitted was well received. To assist you with this task, we suggest adding questionnaires at the end of the Guidebooks. This can easily be done via the Forms feature, where you can ask multiple choice questions, confirmations, detailed answers, and more.
This does not stop here though. By using our Rule engine, you also have the possibility to make that questionnaire interactive. Wrong answers can be caught and then send the user automatically back to the correct section of the training to review.
Since timing is critical, you can also configure your form to submit a notification automatically as soon as the questions have been answered correctly.
Being physically away from your peers should not affect how fast you communicate. In fact, an online message is already quicker than having to walk around the facility floor, which in this case it would put the operation on pause. As said in our previous section, timing is critical. Since most of the production team is already online and working with VKS why not take advantage of that?
The Footer Text option located on VKS’ Organization page is an efficient way to display a 150 character message to every user with access to VKS. This option can be used to send out company-wide reminders, alerts, or even messages of encouragement.
The easiest way for operators to communicate with teams is through the “Send a message” feature. This feature is available within published guidebooks and allows operators to reach out to a desired person or department.
Using this method, the user can send messages without needing an actual email account, but more importantly, they do not even have to think about the specific person to communicate with. You can already pre-define the list of groups that can receive those messages.
Forms are a great communication tool that allow guidebook authors to collect information from the operators. Form fields can be configured to be optional or mandatory, allowing you to ensure that critical information will not be forgotten.
As for the nature of the information collected, it can be anything from scanned-in serial numbers, to an operator’s assessment of an assembly experience. Picture fields can also be included in the forms, allowing the operator to share what they see with you. Forms can be created to allow users to report broken tools, or to attest to the quality of a product.
For your convenience, there are of course certain pre-configured forms such as non-conformance report forms and efficiency check forms. Take some time to examine the different options and learn how to create forms that help encourage the communication flow.
Shared Forms are also a very effective tool for you to easily share important information with the current users. They can be easily applied to 1000’s of guidebooks without requiring the guidebook to be republished. You can configure them to instantly deliver important messages, and new rules to follow as soon as a guidebook is opened.
Once a form is saved, the information it contained can be found in the guidebook’s production report. In addition to the information in the form, the report also contains the name of the user that completed the form, the guidebook in use, the product name, the work center, the job information, the current progress, etc.
Long gone are the days of needing to be present on the shop floor in order to monitor production. Now thanks to a variety of features, you can track your company’s production data from anywhere in the world.
As a supervisor or manager, you want to be constantly aware of the progress of current jobs in order to react quickly to unplanned events. Don’t worry, if you cannot be on site, we can help you accomplish this remotely.
VKS lets you track the advancement of ongoing operations in real-time, all from the comfort of your home. A simple look at the Work Orders section will give you a quick overview of ongoing processes. This way you can easily see if a job is running behind and react accordingly, before you miss crucial delivery windows. This view will even give you a count of current Non-conformances that have been reported.
In case you need more details, a simple click on a job report will show you information regarding when the job started, its cycle time, efficiency, captured data, and the specific details of those non-conformances.
While you are away, it is imperative you keep a good control on the quality of your operations. Thanks to one of our most useful features, the previously mentioned shared forms, you can easily accomplish this task. Using shared forms, you can instantly assess if operators are following their process correctly.
Monitor your Key Performance Indicators using VKS’ intuitive KPI feature and configure a visual representation of the ongoing data that is being collected. Our software contains a multitude of KPIs you can create and customize depending on your needs. All you have to do is add one of our KPI widgets, change its filters, and you are good to go!
Process control charts can also be created within VKS to help you monitor important assets. This allows you to remotely keep track of information that is vital to your production line.
The API can be an invaluable tool when it comes to retrieving information remotely. Use it to retrieve information and data that you can then export to excel to create your own customized charts and graphics. Production report information can also be exported to excel and used in much the same way.
No matter where you are, VKS ensures that you have access to all the data you need to keep things running smoothly.
It is times like these in which the flawless transmission of knowledge and the implementation of best-practices are paramount. This is the perfect time to get to know VKS better and learn about how its versatile features can help you surmount any obstacles you are facing. Regardless of where you are, VKS is able to give you the tools to transmit knowledge your team needs, and to collect the data you need to properly assess the status of operations.
If you have never worked with these features before there is no time like the present. Even if your company’s production is currently reduced, nothing is lost by optimizing your VKS operations for when things return to their regular pace. Take the time to see what features exist and how they can benefit you.
If you don’t know where to begin, remember, our customer success representatives are here to help you. Whether it be for a technical question or a concept question, they will be happy to help you turn VKS into the tool you need to surmont any production challenge that dares to cross your path.
Produced in collaboration with Sylvie Couture.
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