A Work Instruction is defined as a detailed sequence of steps that an employee needs to follow each time they perform a task. Work instructions should be standard in order to maintain and improve productivity, quality and safety. Normally, they offer a documented process sequence to perform each task in the most efficient manner in the designated cycle time.
Work Instructions facilitate us to remove some of the conflicting issues or misunderstandings so that an employee can better perform the designated tasks in an appropriate manner. The rationale of a Work Instruction is to manage steps in a coherent format so that an employee can easily follow them independently.
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Generally speaking, almost all people tend to follow “Work Instructions” of some form or another throughout their daily routine. Work instructions are essential for creating when the process is quite involved and involves many activities. They are a type of a document that will help you organize a single task usually performed by one individual. If the process involves few tasks the “work instruction” can be included within the procedure without distracting from the individual’s understanding of the overall process. The purpose of creating that document is to explain the process to the reader.
Work Instructions can have a key impact on the effectiveness of the management system in an organization. For instance, suppose that instructions are difficult to follow, by employees, therefore, they will inaccurately implement those steps. Thus, optimizing Work Instructions can direct an organization towards a more effective management system.
Those persons who are highly educated or skilled they may require very little time to grasp the knowledge in the light to effectively perform tasks or process. Work Instructions may be created in various forms depending on the organization as there is any such specific format that should be applied for all organizations. Therefore, when first deciding on how to construct the system, evaluate what format the instructions are currently taking.
Unproductive Work Instruction
An unproductive Work Instruction may have the following consequences:
- Nonconformance may arise
- Loses in sales of the product
- Decline in customers
- Poor revenue
- Cause confusions amongst employees
In addition, an ineffective work instruction can have too much or too little information. A Work Instruction that provides an opportunity for many interpretations or multiple meanings will be implemented incorrectly. It should also be taken into consideration that once employees have been providing appropriate training on the QMS system, work instructions and procedures are what most employees depend on.
Characteristics of Effective Work Instruction
A realistic work instruction is trustworthy by the employees and is normally at the heart of standardized best practices. So, work instructions that are realistic (in other words, they are credible) employees accept and trust them. Work instructions lose credibility when middle management initiates a change and deviates from standardized best practices. For work instructions to be credible, employees must believe that they define the one, single, proper way to perform a task.
A clear work instruction can be easily understood by the employees with little effort. Illustrations or other graphic supports should be immediately visible and the worker should not require going to any other location for supporting information.
When work instructions contain superfluous information that is not directly linked to the operation, they become useless..
When work instructions are located quickly and easily, they are easily accessible. When we lay emphasis on the word “Quickly” it normally means within seconds whereas “easily” refers to a retrieval system that employees are aware, recognize and have conviction. Ideally accessible work instructions should make employees aware of work instruction, the latter should be visually displayed as a job aid in the workspace itself.
A suitable location for the application of the work instruction should be identified so as to avoid a typical employee’s struggle to find the work instruction and look for other alternatives such as trial and error, guesswork, and questioning an associate or supervisor. While these options may yield the correct result, they reduce the relevance and value of the job instructions.
Job instructions that are consistent follow a style standard designed particularly for processes and work instructions. Terminology must be rigidly consistent such that the same word implies the same thing every time. There must be no undefined acronyms or ambiguous technical terminology. All instructions should be written in the same manner so that the user knows where to go for information such as needed tools or control settings.
Consistent work instructions also require that the material used for employees training is consistent with provided job aids.
In the absence of effective user-focused job instructions, we compel workers to rely on a variety of ineffective alternatives such as guessing, trial and error, rumor, and tribal knowledge information transmission. Variation, departure, decreased production, and wasted potential are unavoidable outcomes.
Effective work instructions must be a basic first step in achieving the intended quality advantages of standard best practice.However, in almost all organizations, work instructions have a slight correlation with this basic focus.