VKS: Effective Manufacturing Work Instructions
Industrial Management and Engineering Group, LLC (IMEG) is an engineering firm established in 2006 which offers cost effective and well-trained resources in industrial, mechanical, manufacturing, and quality engineering.
As a consultancy firm, IMEG helps their clients improve productivity, flexibility, safety, and efficiency, with the ultimate goal of improving each client’s competitiveness and profitability.
When IMEG first heard of VKS digital work instructions, they didn’t just accept another software solution at word of mouth – they tested it against competitors in a month-long study, creating a decision matrix to assess VKS’ capabilities.
“This is the best software,” says Emily Stroh, Director of Engineering, “It’s a very user-friendly digital work instruction solution that also has the capability of collecting data at a relatively inexpensive cost and it's very easy to implement.”
IMEG joined the VKS Partner program in 2018 and has benefitted ever since.
“None of the other solutions we tested could compare to VKS.”
Emily Stroh, Director of Engineering at IMEG
In today’s global reality of worker shortages and supply chain disruptions, “productivity” has come to mean much more than the amount of product manufactured for sale in the least amount of time. There are constant readjustments to account for assembly line discrepancies that have to be taken into account.
Industry 4.0 best practices are becoming the norm in manufacturing, and margins for error are even more tightly regulated, necessitating a multifaceted approach to quality lean production.
Using the VKS platform “turns” the problem of turnover upside-down: With digital work instructions guiding new trainees in the quickest time turnaround on the market, labor costs due to absenteeism are dramatically reduced.
“You could spend a lot of time implementing [a software system] instead of just getting off the ground running. And so we recommend VKS because it is a quick solution that works.”
VKS Partnership: A Mutual Investment for Success
The Microsoft Office suite may be the most well-known overall set of apps and services, but it’s also bare-bones when it comes to manufacturing operations.
“When I hear a customer say, ‘I want you to use a Word document,’ I think, ‘Oh no, please don't.’”
Emily Stroh (also, everyone who’s ever had to move an image in Word)
Choosing a whole new software to aid operations can be overwhelming when considering the many options available. As well, the workforce requires time and support to become familiar with the new system. “The main thing that we want to do is ease the stress of navigating technology,” Stroh adds, “So we provide that support and training and some specific solutions to make it as quick as possible.” Of course, it helps that VKS is designed specifically for manufacturing and with user experience in mind.
After one of IMEG’s clients introduced them to VKS, IMEG decided to test the client’s incredible results to ensure that the difference was attributable to the VKS platform – if these results were replicable, then it could be a gamechanger for their other clients.
Stroh and other IMEG leaders performed experiments and tested the VKS digital work instructions against other management platforms in a time analysis matrix.
In the end, IMEG found that VKS was far superior to other options (including Microsoft Word, Excel, and other work instructions and MES solutions). More specifically, they noted a 50% decrease in training time and a 65% improvement in work instruction creation time.
After seeing the time analysis results, IMEG was convinced that VKS work instruction software would be one of the main solutions they would start recommending to their clients. The benefits of partnership with VKS led to immediate positive returns.
“We absolutely became a VKS Partner. It was a no-brainer and we knew it would be great for all of our other customers.”
Even workers who may be reluctant to digitize operations are ultimately welcoming of the VKS difference.
Stroh says, “Nobody wants to be looked at over their shoulder, like, ‘Are you doing this right?’ But if I hand you the tablet and say, ‘Hey, here are your instructions,’ now you can be self-sufficient — people love that.”
And given the rapid returns of optimized training time, the costs practically pay themselves.
Stroh can attest to the aid of VKS efficiency data when it comes to managerial strategy: “When we implement industrial engineering principles, we often are looking at capacity utilization. Like, do they need to purchase additional equipment? Do they need to have a larger building to support their manufacturing? If you don’t have good data, it’s hard to be able to make assumptions. VKS can tell you reliable efficiency data for those decisions.”
VKS offers partnership to like-minded consulting companies pushing the limits of Industry 4.0, and benefits by having mutual customers set up with expert guidance so that there is a local and familiar touch to client operations.
As for potential partnership itself, just some of the benefits include:
- Commission on licensing fees
- VKS as new multifunctional tool in your toolkit
- Dedicated account managers and support on a first-name basis with VKS
- User-friendly expansion into Industry 4.0 technology
VKS aims to connect with clients who share a similar passion for standardization and industrial continuous improvement. VKS’ like-minded partners reflect the same industrial leadership qualities that VKS has built into the foundation of the software platform.
When you institute lean continuous improvement, VKS benefits alongside you, and that’s how you know there’s commitment to an equitable partnership.
As for VKS’ first impression on clients, Stroh says, “All of our customers from an engineering and leadership team perspective have been very receptive. They see the value in having consistent work instructions, live data collection, and streamlined training processes.”
IMEG is exemplary in implementing standardization principles for client results. Here are just a few of the game-changing SOPs they’ve implemented with VKS:
- Assembly instructions for sub-components and larger assemblies
- Inspection procedures
- Manufacturing process instructions
- Health & safety guidelines
VKS partners are experts at devising individualized solutions via intuitive software applications.
Due to their modular nature, the VKS software features can be integrated into existing operations in almost any situation. It’s up to you what types of solutions to propose in your clientele.
- For clients who lack in-house technical expertise, partners provide the on site support to institute VKS features and expedite the rollout through content creation services. For example, IMEG has a “dedicated person [on-site] building all VKS instructions where the client doesn’t have the resources to manage it themselves” under certain circumstances
- For clients with teams dedicated to manufacturing operations and work instruction creation, it may make more sense to do a crash-course in VKS basics. After which, department heads can then return to instruct their respective teams while relying upon standardization measures through VKS software
It’s incredibly rewarding to see stable foundations being built for success so quickly and solidly.
Stroh recalls one client who requested a literal jumpstart: “We helped them build their core guidebook instructions, and since then they've been able to take things on their own and have been pretty self-sufficient with their own manufacturing engineering department.”
From the partner perspective, Stroh says, “Getting the opportunity to help implement the software with their team” is rewarding precisely because it is effective. “VKS is easy to use, and over time you can incorporate more details like forms, cycle time collection data, and efficiency features.”
The best way to ensure ease of implementation is to start with the most user-friendly software that allows for quick and intuitive use on the factory floor, which VKS provides.
VKS allows for unparalleled operational flexibility because of its modular nature and real-time analysis.
“We have confidence in VKS software capabilities. There's no question as to whether or not it's going to meet our customers’ needs.”
Conclusion: Proven Techniques at the Forefront of Industry
IMEG can be confident in VKS’ ability to adapt to meet individual customer needs because of the software’s origins: borne from the shop floor, VKS was designed by manufacturers for manufacturers. Therefore, any kink in an assembly line can be eventually smoothed out using VKS capabilities because the software was created to attend to specific issues that block continuous improvement. In the current age of Industry 4.0, every operation can and should be optimized for lean production in order to shave down waste and operate sustainably.
“VKS complements our services and allows us to provide our customers with a work instruction solution that we wholeheartedly believe in. By offering the VKS software solution, we have been able to expand our services, customers, and sales.”
The implementation of VKS within diverse sectors is a success partially due to being built on proven industrial management philosophies like lean production and the rise of the connected Smart Factory in technology-driven manufacturing.
Whether or not your clients already base their operations upon lean production management styles, they will benefit from the following strategies:
- Communicating information using intuitive visuals
- Going paperless and benefiting from real-time updates
- Integrated Smart Forms ensuring continuous quality standards
- Real-time reports of the live status of jobs on the factory floor
VKS helps partners become active leaders in industrial innovation. Also, the VKS software platform doesn’t skimp on the array of tools available for different leadership possibilities. As Stroh points out, “Everyone has a favorite VKS feature:
“Talk to quality? Their favorite part is the inspection data, right? They love to see charts in sections.
If you talk to operations, they like the efficiency data, they want to see if they’re hitting their targets per day.
If you talk to a supervisor they’re most happy to have general work instructions that they can hold operators accountable to.”
Stroh says that IMEG’s main role as a VKS Partner is to be an expert liaison, but in the cases where clients have called up VKS directly with a problem, she says, “We've all had really positive responses from our customers in regards to interaction between them and VKS as a company and the service that has been provided.”
“I can't say that for a lot of other software solutions we use in our business. Other solutions use some customer service email you don’t know personally and you don't get a response for a few days. So VKS customer service really goes a long way for me. Having that right at our fingertips builds confidence in the overall software solution as well.”
VKS is attuned to the extensive needs of manufacturing operations, no matter the area of concern.
You, as a VKS Partner, would also be an expert facilitator of your own design.
You’re not alone at the forefront of industrial innovation. Let’s partner together to give manufacturing clients the best options available, with all the support required for successful implementation.