Why Standardized Work Instructions are Integral for Continuous Improvement

Integrating Standardized Work Instructions (SWIs) onto the shopfloor leads to improved manufacturing consistency, quality, efficiency, safety, compliance, and training effectiveness. The result is higher productivity, lower costs, and increased customer satisfaction for manufacturers – all benefits that help in continuous improvement goals.

Manufacturers not using SWIs today for work and training rely on paper documented historical knowledge and workforce know-how, leaving them open to knowledge transfer losses when documents are misplaced, or not kept up to date, and when senior workforce experts leave or retire..

If work instructions are not detailed enough or are presented in a document that is out of date, errors are created or critical steps are missed. ShiftWorx SWIs are kept updated on-the-fly, they are saved by the operator as tasks are completed, and instantly available for supervisory review ensuring the job’s progress status or its completion.work instructions

Further, workforce training is improved as tutorials or action steps are delivered in a step-by-step sequence; and with safeguards in place to protect from errors occurring, whereas the task must by completed as described, without error, and ultimately with the users sign-off, directly linking who performed the task, at what time, and to what extent of quality.

SWIs Are Integral for Continuous Improvement in Manufacturing for Several Key Reasons:

Establishing Baseline Standards

Standardized work instructions define the best-known method for performing a particular task or process. They provide a baseline standard against which performance can be measured and improvements can be made.

Promoting Consistency and Quality

By ensuring that all employees follow the same standardized procedures, these instructions promote consistency in output quality. Consistent processes lead to predictable results, making it easier to identify deviations and areas for improvement.

Facilitating Training and Onboarding

Standardized work instructions serve as valuable training materials for new employees and provide guidance for existing workers. They help ensure that everyone understands expectations and performs tasks correctly, leading to higher levels of efficiency and productivity.

Enabling Continuous Monitoring and Feedback

With standardized work instructions in place, manufacturers can continuously monitor performance against established standards. Feedback mechanisms allow for the identification of deviations and opportunities for improvement in real-time.

Fostering a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Standardized work instructions create a framework for identifying inefficiencies and suggesting improvements. They empower employees to contribute to the continuous improvement process by providing a clear reference point for identifying areas in need of optimization.

Supporting Lean Manufacturing Principles

Standardized work instructions align with Lean Manufacturing principles, such as waste reduction and value stream mapping. They help streamline processes, eliminate non-value-added activities, and optimize workflow efficiency.

Driving Operational Excellence

Over time, continuous improvement efforts guided by standardized work instructions lead to increased operational excellence. By systematically addressing inefficiencies and implementing best practices, manufacturers can achieve higher levels of productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction.

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work instructions

Since SWIs are digitized, they are accessible from the cloud on any web browser on any device – their usage is unlimited, although common shopfloor documents include:

  • SOPs
  • Checklists
  • Templates
  • Images and Videos
  • Work Instructions
  • Safety Inspections
  • Training Tutorials
  • Web links


The ShiftWorx SWI Solution

ShiftWorx includes work process templates that are designed for timely, repeatable work – instilling workforce accountability that maximizes error reduction. SWIs, and manufacturing Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) documented instructions enable workers to perform routine manufacturing tasks accurately.

In summary, standardized work instructions are integral to continuous improvement in manufacturing because baseline standards are established, consistency and quality are promoted, training and onboarding is facilitated, continuous monitoring and feedback is enabled, and a culture of improvement is fostered – all benefits that ultimately support Lean manufacturing principles, and drive operational excellence.

Anthony Borges, Director of Marketing, FreePoint Technologies Inc. | Automation.com Feature Article


ShiftWorx software provides a ‘holistic’ shopfloor management platform that features a fully-modular suite of products including production scheduling, standardized work instructions, digital andon and manufacturing notifications – solutions that when applied in whole or in succession affords manufacturers a production optimization solution backed by Toyota Production System (TPS) consulting expertise.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today for a complimentary consultation and demo specific to your Industry or shopfloor requirements!

ShiftWorx Digital Transformation Solution

Measure First

Start realizing continuous improvement with
ShiftWorx software featuring patented
technology that ensures all-encompassing data visibility.

Machine Connection

Gain complete visibility of your manufacturing operations using ShiftWorx software. Connect to any process or any machine, regardless of its age, type, or brand and experience the full-spectrum data visualization from shop floor activities.

Activity Monitoring Visualization

ShiftWorx software uses patented data visualization technology providing manufacturers. real-time KPI dashboards displayed at operator workstation touchscreens and on large screen shop floor monitors. Dashboards and reports are fully customizable; easily create and drag and drop tiles to prioritize visual information.

Operator Narration Input

Operator feedback tells a richer story. ShiftWorx software solution provides an easy-to-use toolset to record various downtime reasons, show machine utilization and throughput, and identify all quality issues, waste, production capacity and efficiencies. Operators can now proactively benchmark data against the current state and review the data, shift-by-shift.

Production Tracking

Tracking machine, or process activities, can illuminate key areas of machine performance such as; downtime causes and uptime cycles, correlations between jobs, operators and waste. Calculating production yields through SKU’s and work order tracking can be accomplished with real-time machine status and/or operator progress.

Now Analyze

Using ShiftWorx software data, can help manufacturers
understand performance inefficiencies to reduce leaving
profits on the shop floor.

Manufacturing Reports

Continuous improvement measures are revealed
from historical data. ShiftWorx software features
manufacturing KPI dashboard and report templates
to provide quick visibility of machine or operator
performance. Create new custom dashboards and
reports specific for your needs.

Examples of Common Reports:

  • Uptime / Downtime
  • Downtime Explanation
  • Counts
  • Status Codes / Time Counts
  • Scrap / Waste
  • Operator Notes
  • Operator Hours per Machine

Advanced Analytics

Dig deep into your data with ShiftWorx’s real-time
logic engine to create custom reports. Manufacturers can
align their raw data to build custom expression reports
in the exact format any manufacturer requires by utilizing
powerful software like Microsoft Power BI. More reporting
options provide an even greater wealth of actionable
insights to Make Smarter Decisions, Faster!

Then Improve!

Once its known where opportunities exist for optimization, specific actions can be implemented to reduce downtime, and maximize organizational communication.

Production Scheduling

Optimization of planned production uptime and downtime
ensures the most efficient operation of machinery, tools, and
processes. ShiftWorx software production scheduling
module allows you to easily schedule jobs specific to
machines or operators and track the status as activities progress.

Digital Checklists

Go paperless, reduce time and expenses due to shop floor communication errors, and in-turn increase efficiency with ShiftWorx digital work instructions. Accessible from any device, the Digital Checklist module delivers itemized documents assigned to a specific employee, operator, or team that are tracked to account for activity completeness with required step verification. Digital Work Instructions are customizable and can be created for preventative maintenance, assembly instruction, quality control procedures and more.

Digital Andon

Maximize production uptime and quality control with instant actions and alerts that resolve problems as they happen. Customizable Andon call buttons can be configured to any operator touchscreen; and configured to be displayed prominently on shop floor large screens. Escalate more complex issues by triggering email or text notifications. Easy-to-use and integrate without the additional costs or equipment associated with traditional wired Andon systems.


Problem escalation and production reporting to any device any time. Enable messages by email or Short Message Service (SMS) text messages to send critical messages or to alert when specific criteria are met. Use ShiftWorx Notifications module to identify when a machine is due for preventative maintenance, the machine is off, or not performing as expected. Notifications can also deliver reminders or links to ShiftWorx digital work instructions.

API Integration

ShiftWorx software features a public API, a powerful tool that allows your machine and process data to be accessible across different systems. API enables you to send data across the various business systems in your manufacturing organization including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP’s), Material Resource Planning (MRP), Quality Management, and other systems.

What Our
Customers Say

About ShiftWorx!

“Feature rich management system with exceptional ROI. Easily deployable by anyone with reasonable ability to follow directions. Dashboard visuals require less setup than many other systems and are focused on real business needs. The price is extremely affordable, and you’re not forced to use proprietary hardware beyond that which is needed to communicate to the cloud backend.”

“Feature rich management system with exceptional ROI. Easily deployable by anyone with reasonable ability to follow directions. Dashboard visuals require less setup than many other systems and are focused on real business needs. The price is extremely affordable, and you’re not forced to use proprietary hardware beyond that which is needed to communicate to the cloud backend.”

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