The Importance of Interactivity in Digital Work Instructions

The Importance of Interactivity in Digital Work Instructions

Here’s how interactivity transforms the way people learn and work.

Canvas Envision
February 6, 2023

Documentation often falls flat

Manufacturing firms are continuously striving for anything which may give them an edge in an increasingly tumultuous and competitive environment. This has led to a wealth of innovation in operations.

But amid the overall push for digital transformation that has characterized the Industry 4.0 movement, many firms continue to rely on outdated approaches to critical documentation, with hard copy paper and flat electronic documents still in widespread usage.  

Paper and basic electronic work instructions, assembly manuals, SOPs docs, training materials and MRO guides underpin some of the most crucial processes in any manufacturing business. They have been part of the day-to-day manufacturing reality for so long and, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? But it is broke, and it’s costing your business more than you realize.

It’s time to make the shift to interactive digital work instructions.

Why paper on glass is not enough

2D and 3D visualization

Scanning existing hard copy resources to PDF, or using flat documents on screen, also known as the “paper on glass” solution, is not sufficient to meet the new and ever-changing demands of a manufacturing sector in flux.

True interactive digital work instructions (IDWIs) incorporate embedded, manipulatable 3D CAD models, animation, audio-visual instructions, information mapping, real-time update functionality and collaboration features to deliver a dynamic, accessible source of critical knowledge to the end user on demand.

IDWIs have the power to optimize every aspect of your manufacturing business, from hiring, training and retaining employees to after-sales care, and, with the right solution in place, implementing them is much simpler and more economical than most realize.

Interactivity is key

Studies are clear on the benefits of interactive digital work instructions when it comes to the ways in which end users consume information. Workers who have access to IDWIs absorb more information, more quickly, make fewer mistakes and perform better overall.

This is because enriched learning which includes audio and visual elements supported by opportunities for autonomous and interactive experiences frees up cognitive capacity for comprehension and memory-making processes.

This is exactly what makes peer-to-peer on-the-job training so effective – but without the cost and disruption of diverting senior team members to guide new recruits. Interactive digital work instructions are specifically designed to exploit this, leading to a clearer understanding, better retention and more precise implementation.

The key is the user’s ability to interact with the material. With interactive digital work instructions, users can pull up an exact digital replica of the product or sub-component in front of them. They can rotate it, pan across it, zoom in, and pull apart the model to see exactly how it fits together. They can also reference step-by-step audio-visual instructions which explain exactly how to perform the task at hand, moving through processes at their own pace. As a result, they make fewer mistakes and finish the job much faster.  

Breaking the language barrier

78% of manufacturing organizations say that their current work instructions are too text-heavy for their increasingly diverse workforces.

Flat, text-heavy instructions put international workers, some of whom may be second- or third-language speakers, at a major disadvantage. This is a problem given that overseas-born workers represent a significant portion of the available U.S. workforce at a time when the manufacturing industry faces a recruitment crisis.

Visual-first interactive digital work instructions offer guidance that is universally understood and accessible, opening up the hiring pool to skilled workers from anywhere in the world, while setting all workers up to succeed.

The only constant is change

Paper-based work instructions are an Achilles heel the manufacturing industry can’t afford to ignore. Evolving to interactive digital work instructions is simple, economical and, at the end of the day, inevitable. No other solution can deliver the agility needed to succeed in an industry in flux.

So why wait? With a complete solution like Canvas Envision, which is available as a hosted SaaS solution, or can be deployed in your private cloud and fully integrated with your existing tech stack, including PLM and MES, you can transform your operations, mitigate risk, and empower your workforce to excel like never before.

Make sure your teams understand the importance of interactive digital work instructions by forwarding them this article today, or connect with the Canvas GFX team to help you take the first steps towards better product-based content.

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