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Why Standardized Work Instructions are Integral for Continuous Improvement

May 1, 2024 | Anthony Borges, Director of Marketing, FreePoint Technologies Inc.

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If work instructions are not detailed enough or are presented in a document that is out of date, errors are created or critical steps are missed.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.

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.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

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.

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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!

Learn More About the Full-Suite of ShiftWorx Products!

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ShiftWorx Software

It all starts with getting your shop floor assets cloud-connected; featuring patented data extraction and visualization technology, ShiftWorx impacts continuous improvement actions instantly with smarter decisions, faster! Book a demo today.

Standardized Work Instructions

Standardized work instructions provide full-accountability in work instructions delivery, whether it’s preventive maintenance, assembly instructions, quality control or more, traceability reduces errors. Book a demo to learn more!

Digital Andon System

Digital Andon improves shop floor communication and production uptime by ensuring operational or quality issues are addressed quickly! Wireless and easy to integrate – expedite the resolution of production and quality problems today.

Production Scheduling Software

Spreadsheet or paper-based job schedules are difficult to manage, maintain, distribute, and access, which is costing you money. Maximize operational throughput with production scheduling software.