Why Use Digital Method Sheets in Manufacturing?
Skilled labor is hard to find, that is because the work operators do can be very complex. Whether it is assembling or running a machine, there is a great deal of technique involved. Each element of a process requires precision and speed, there is little time for trial and error. Digital Method sheets are intended to be a clear set of instructions designed to assist operators in completing a task on time. Unlike technical prints that lack sequence of actions, the purpose of digital method sheets is to capture the tribal knowledge that experienced operators create. These work instructions need to provide a clear understanding of technique, safety concerns, and quality expectations. Scout Systems has developed a step-by-step Designer application (learn more about our HQ suite) that helps you capture that valuable knowledge and display it in such a way that any operator could fill in for another.
What to Include in Digital Method Sheets
When you first start to document your process it's best to work with your operators directly. They build the product. Using imagery and notes from their process provides valuable insight. Casually watch what they do and occasionally ask questions. If the production line isn’t too busy, attempt to build the product yourself with the guidance of the operator - you will quickly learn that you do not possess the same skillset that they do! Note each task that is deemed difficult, or has a critical tolerance, and be sure to record the action needed to successfully complete a step.
Using high resolution, color photos in your electronic method sheets provides clarity for the operator. We recommend you show the operators the photos you intend to use in order to gain feedback. Digital work instructions are designed to maximize content availability - you can provide your operators with a vast amount of information in a very simplified layout.
If your organization uses Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), be sure to cite any relevant information to protect your operators. Other safety notices, such as wearing gloves, or warning of hazardous materials should be clearly noted. Our Compass application can be easily programmed to show your operators safety or defect warnings prior to any step.
Finally, test your digital method sheets with your operators. They should be able to successfully build a product right away. Treat these method sheets as a living document - one that should always be updated and improved. Digital work instructions eliminate many concerns regarding revision control. Upgrading to electronic method sheets gives you the peace of mind to know your entire facility is using the same standard process when building your product.
Digital Work Instruction Perks
Moving from standard method sheets to digital work instructions provides increased quality and reduced labor while providing many other reasons to feel good about making the switch.
All of your work instructions are documented with quality imagery, easily reviewable, and able to be updated instantly.
Digital method sheets allow you to place warnings specifically at the step of concern, as well as set how frequently they appear.
Operators can select their native language and all digital work instructions will automatically be translated.
Digital method sheets give you the ability to record production data (including non-valued added work) in real-time.
To learn more about setting up your facility's work stations with digital work instructions, or to read about the multiple other benefits digitizing your documentation provides, take a minute to dig into our HQ suite of applications (including valuable Report generation) or our Compass digital method sheet application for operators.