Work instructions are an essential part of manufacturing operations, providing step-by-step guidance for operators to carry out tasks safely and effectively. However, not all work instructions are created equal. In fact, some can do more harm than good. Here are 7 mistakes to avoid when creating work instructions:
1. Don't Use Vague or Ambiguous Language
Vague or ambiguous language in work instructions can lead to confusion and errors. For example, a phrase like "tighten the bolt" could mean different things to different people. Be specific and clear with your language, using exact measurements and precise terminology.
2. Don't Neglect Visual Aids
Visual aids, such as diagrams, images, and videos, can make work instructions easier to understand and follow. Neglecting visual aids can lead to misunderstandings and errors. Be sure to include clear and concise visuals to complement your written instructions.
3. Don't Make Assumptions About Operator Knowledge
Assuming that operators already have knowledge of certain tasks or equipment can be a recipe for disaster. Not everyone has the same level of experience or expertise. Always provide thorough instructions, even for seemingly simple tasks.
4. Don't Ignore Safety Precautions
Safety is always a top priority in manufacturing. Neglecting safety precautions in work instructions can lead to serious accidents and injuries. Be sure to include clear and specific safety instructions, including personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements and hazard warnings.
5. Don't Overcomplicate Procedures
Overcomplicating procedures can lead to confusion and frustration for operators. Keep your work instructions simple and straightforward, breaking down complex procedures into manageable steps.
6. Don't Forget to Update Instructions
Manufacturing processes are constantly evolving. Failing to update work instructions accordingly can lead to outdated or inaccurate information. Be sure to review and update your work instructions regularly, and communicate any changes to your team.
7. Don't Assume Everyone Learns the Same Way
People have different learning styles, and not everyone learns best through written instructions. Be sure to incorporate different types of media, such as videos, to cater to different learning styles.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can create work instructions that are clear, concise, and effective, leading to safer and more efficient operations.
I've spent my career in Manufacturing, and can't stop trying to make things more efficient. At home, I am a master Lego builder with my son.