Lean Tools for process improvement

 

Work Instructions

 also known as Job Instructions, Operation Instructions, or Visual Work

A work instruction template makes it easy to train people better and faster

Visual Work Instructions

This popular tool is usually called Work Instructions, Job Instructions, or Operation Instructions,

and it is also known by the name Visual Work Instructions —

which more vividly describes what makes this so effective as a training tool:

People learn better and faster
when they can see both written instructions and pictures

Sample Work Instruction template

sample work instructions example

Sample Work Instruction example

If your company doesn't already own a license, you can Download this Work Instructions template now


Bookmark=why

Why and When to use Job Instructions

A work instruction template is ideal for

You also own templates for

  1. Analyzing and improving a process
  2. Making the flow of work visual
  3. Predicting risk and preventing mistakes
  4. Supervising and auditing
  5. One-on-one live instructor training

Learn how to choose the right standard work templates


Work Instructions for Product Families

What if Our Items are Similar but Different?

What if most the steps are the same for most of the items in a product family,
but a few things are produced just a little differently from the others?

How do we handle this?

Option 1) Write vague instructions

Rely on tribal knowledge for people to "just know what's different".

And then be willing to live with the increased rework, and the reduced quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

Option 2) Make separate Work Instructions

Make a separate Work Instructions document for every item in the family.

And then be willing to live with the non-value-add time that it will take to reproduce the identical steps in 10 different documents, and the inevitable mistakes as those documents slowly get out of sync with each other.

Option 3) Use your Systems2win template

Work Instructions template

In the 'Show' column next to each Step, leave it blank for steps common to every product in the family, or enter the part number (or other ID Code) for only those items that have that Step.

And then when you click the button to Generate Report, it will correctly hide or show only the correct Steps for each item in the family, and will correctly renumber and reshuffle the Steps...

so that you can easily maintain detailed Work Instructions for every product in a family.


What if we don't make products?

medical manufacturing office

Improve ANY process
in ANY industry

A 'Product Family' can also be a 'Service Family'.

Perhaps most Steps are the same for a group of hospital procedures, but just a few things get done differently for this type of lab test vs. that one.

Or perhaps most steps are the same for processing back office transactions, but just a few things get done differently for this type of purchase order vs. that one.

EVERY process can (and usually should) be documented with thorough Work Instructions,

and 'Product Families' are a pretty common challenge faced by just about everyone.


Bookmark=Training

Training

How to use your
Work Instructions template

Work Instruction Training Video

Additional relevant training

Also learn how to use the many other templates
that come bundled with this Work Instructions template

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Help

Work Instructions video

 

Bookmark=begin

Before you begin

Video: How to Find Help & Training for any Systems2win template

Complete the Quick Start Training

Users of this template are expected to have already completed
the Quick Start Initial Training
so that you know the fundamentals for how to use
and find help for ANY Systems2win template.

Familiarize yourself with the training for this template

  • on this training web page
  • on the Sample and Help sheets in your template
  • how to switch languages (if English is not your native language)

Your leaders should have already

  • personalized your master template

    for YOUR company's desired headers, dropdown lists, shapes...

  • Coaching

    Every lean tool needs
    a corresponding
    Lean Coaching System

    organized your systems for folder and file naming

    because you won't want to change folder and file names
    after you start making hyperlinks between related documents

  • trained you

    using your Cross Training Matrix and your other Lean Management Systems,
    your leaders should provide one-on-one mentoring
    for how to use any lean tools and methods

    (rather than just giving you a template, and saying "use this")

Get Oriented

Because this is the only Systems2win template that is not WYSIWYG,

(what you see is what you get)

you will want to first become familiar with the sections of the workbook where you will do your editing.

Watch the Work Instructions Intro video

 

This is the only Systems2win template that is not WYSIWYG

Work Instructions template

Only the final
generated report
is WYSIWYG

(What You See Is What You Get)

You do your editing on the Master Data Entry Sheet

(the sheet that appears when you select 'Systems2win menu > Open a Blank Sheet')

When done editing, you will click the button to 'Generate Report',

which will generate the final report
that you will then distribute to your users
as either printed paper or as a PDF

(and that final report is WYSIWYG)

Get Started

Systems2win menu > Systems2win templates

Find and open your template

Find and open your Work Instructions template (WorkInst.xlsx)
in the same way that you find and open
your other 150+ Systems2win templates.

Save your working document, following the usual
document storage and naming conventions
established by your leaders.

If English is not your native language

Switch to your language, just like every Systems2win Excel template.

Open a Blank Sheet

Systems2win menu > Open a Blank Sheet

When you're ready to start doing your own real work...

click the button to 'Open a Blank Sheet'

Excel Ribbon bar > Systems2win tab > Open a Blank Sheet

This blank sheet is where you will do your real work

(not on the Sample sheet)

Rename your new sheet

Multiple Sheets

It is common to have multiple sheets in one workbook.

Perhaps one sheet for every product in a product family.

Perhaps one sheet for the 'Run' cycle, and other sheets for 'Setup', 'Palletizing', 'Inspection', etc.

Bookmark = header

Enter your Header Data

Work Instruction template header fields

On a copy of your blank 'Template' sheet,
scroll to the right to find the section
where you enter your header data

(near the top of the page)

If your leaders haven't yet personalized your master template

(as described in personalize section near the bottom of this page)

then you will want to hide header rows that you don't need

(Hide unused header rows; don't delete them)

Data shared by all sheets in the workbook

Header fields marked with an asterisk (*) must be edited in a table on a shared sheet.

VC sheet tab

The training video shows the shared data table on the VC sheet.

In the newer version,
the shared data table is found on the DV sheet.

In the ID Table on the DV sheet

Data is required in the top row, for either:

  1. The overall Product Family, or...
  2. A simple process or product

    (that doesn't have any optional ID codes in the table below)

Data is optional in the table (below the gold column headers) for:

  1. Products or parts in a product family
  2. Any types of services or customer deliverables

Work Instructions ID Table on the DV sheet

Learn more about how to use your shared worksheet for Version Control

 

Time Study Templates

Observe the process

Observe the process,
using one of your Time Study templates

Document your Work Instructions

Start with Major Steps and Key Points

To help to clarify your thinking about how to train someone for how to perform the process

perhaps start by using a concept borrowed from the TWI Job Instruction Method
to start fleshing out your Job Instructions with only:

  1. Major steps (in bold)
  2. Key points (in red)

with no other instructional details (yet)

Flesh out the details

After outlining the major steps and key points

add more details (using normal text)

For paragraphs within a cell:

ALT+ENTER

Don't leave any cells blank in the 'Instructions' column

because Step numbering will stop when it reaches the first blank instruction.

(It is okay to leave a cell blank in the Steps/Images column, but not in the Instructions column)

Tip: If you want an Instructions cell to appear blank...

enter a single character (such as a period), and make the font color white to disappear.

Job Instructions example

ISO work instruction template

To make some instructions stand out

You can use fonts and colors and shapes to make some instructions stand out

perhaps to visually highlight different types of information,
such as safety tips, supplies and materials, personal protective equipment, etc.

Perhaps your leaders personalized the 'User-Defined Training' section of the Help sheet on your master template
to provide guidance for unique ways that your organization uses of fonts, colors, and shapes?

Copy your Favorite Shapes

Work Instructions - Favorite Shapes

copy shapes

from the top of the Master Data Entry Sheet
(that you're working on)

or from Systems2win menu > Copy Shapes

For long work instructions

Although you should usually keep your instructions brief...

  1. You can MANUALLY resize row height to make room for more text.

    (by simply dragging the row separator line beneath the row number in the grey margin on the left)

    Do not use Row Autofit

    or your pictures will be distorted when you copy or move rows

    If you accidentally use row autofit, simply manually resize row height.

    Link Icons

    Use your Systems2win
    Link Icons
    to link to related documents

    Default Row Height = 127.5

  2. If this document will be used electronically...

    you can add hyperlinks to related documents

    and you can even make active hyperlinks in your ISO 9000 controlled PDF's

  3. You might refer to one of the Comments text boxes
    at the top or bottom of the document.
  4. Use a text box to utilize unused space in the Image column

    How? Copy the 'Text box - clear background' shape

    (found in the Favorite Shapes at the top of the page)

    and then either use that text box instead of an image,
    or group the text box along with another image

    (See example on the Sample sheet of your template)

Add Images

Work Instructions Add Image button

After selecting a cell in the wide column,
click the 'Add Image' button to insert a picture,

which might come from your camera,
or from a computer screen shot

Image Size — as it appears to the human eye

The image will be automatically sized to fit

with default width of 2.1 inches or a default height of 1.7 inches.

To re-size an image

Simply drag the bottom right corner of the image

If this is a regular image, the proportions will remain correct when you drag the bottom right corner.

If this is a text box, shape, or a grouped shape, then you will need to manually keep proportions correct.

If you made the image bigger than the current cell height...

Do not manually re-size row height to fit image height

Instead, click the 'Renumber Steps' button
which will automatically increase row height to fit the new image height.

If you made the image smaller than the current cell height...

then it is okay to manually re-size row height.

And if you need more or less room for Instructions, it is also okay to manually re-size row height.

Never use Row Autofit

or your pictures will be distorted when you copy or move rows

If you accidentally use row autofit, simply manually resize row height.

Default Row Height = 127.5

Image Size — as it affects the megabytes of your Excel file

When adding images to your Work Instructions template,
it is VERY important to first use your favorite image editing software to reduce image file sizes

so that the megabyte file size of your Excel file does not become unmanageable.

Learn how to use Excel as a Drawing Tool

You might want to schedule an hour to study our online training and videos
to learn how to use Excel as a drawing tool

so that you know how to add arrows and shapes to make your illustrations more clear.

Optional — small shapes

To make your illustrations and instructions even more easily understood...

you can optionally add small drawing shapes, arrows, circles, text labels, safety icons, tool icons, etc.

using Systems2win's Shapes, Excel's standard Drawing Tools, and your own custom shapes.

Systems2win menu > Copy Shapes

Systems2win menu > Copy Shapes

Don't Rotate images

If you need to rotate an image, you should use your favorite image editing software (such as Microsoft Paint).

If you use Excel to rotate an image, it will mess things up when you 'Generate Report'
(unless the rotated image is part of a Group)

Grouped shapes

job intructions grouped shape

Each cell can have unlimited small shapes, but only one big image...

unless you Group multiple pictures and shapes together

so that they are treated as one big shape.

(for example a picture within a picture, side-by-side pictures, a picture with a text box, arrows pointing to something within a picture, etc.)

Tips for Grouped Shapes

If you get the error: Permission denied (bFillArrayWithImageData())

then you probably forgot to Group some of your shapes.

Copy, Move, or Delete a Row

To copy a row

Use Insert Copied Rows, or Right-click > Shift Down and Copy

Then select Systems2win menu > Renumber Steps

To move a row

Right-click > Shift Down and Move

Then select Systems2win menu > Renumber Steps

To delete a row

Be sure to delete any shapes first, before deleting the row.

Caution: If you delete a row without first deleting the shapes,
the shapes will still exist as squished invisible images
that might mess things up when you Generate Report.

Step Numbers

Renumber Steps button

Step numbers are auto-regenerated
every time that you click the button to 'Renumber Steps'.

Skip Steps

What if you want to skip step numbering?

(Perhaps you want to use an extra row to provide additional clarification, or training for a complex sub-step, or an alternative way to do something for special situations...)

Simply enter text in the Images column

Auto-numbering will skip any cell in the Steps/Images column
that contains text that does NOT start with the same text as the Step Label field on the VC sheet.

The default Step Label text is "Step",
but you can change the word(s) for the Step Label that appears before the number,
(perhaps you prefer the word "Task", or perhaps some other language). Learn more.

Add Rows

To add a row

Click the button to 'Add Rows'

Work Instructions buttons in the Systems2win menu

This feature is new as of June 2015.

If using an older version, simply copy an existing similar row.

To add a Page Break Header Row

When and why to use a Page Break Header Row

When you click the button
to 'Generate Report',
there will be a page break wherever you inserted a Page Break Header Row,Work Instructions Page Break Header Row
and at the top of that new page, you will see whatever you entered in your Page Break Header Row.

How? Click the button to 'Add Row'

then select the radio button
for 'Page Break Header Row'

then edit the large merged cell

You can resize this row, enter multiple lines of text, use every formatting trick you know, include images...

You cannot, however, leave a Page Break Header Row blank. It must contain at least one character of text.

If your leaders personalized your master template

with a library of several types of rows commonly used in your organization,

then they should also provide you with one-on-one mentoring
for how and when to use each of those (user-defined) types of rows.

If this advanced personalization capability sounds interesting, contact us to learn how

Bookmark = show

Hide/Show Rows

Optional feature for Product Families

Do you have Product Families?

with products that are very similar, but slightly different?

No? Then simply don't use (or hide) the 'Show' column,

and when you select Systems2win menu > Generate Report,
choose the radio button for 'All Rows' or 'As Is'

work instructions Hide Show Rows

Yes? Then you will save a lot of time

and reduce a lot of errors
by using the 'Hide/Show Rows' button

to quickly hide or show rows
containing work instructions that are used by some
(but not all) products within your product family

work instructions hide show rows dialog

 

When you click the button to 'Hide/Show Rows'

you have the choice to select the radio button 'Show All Rows'

or 'Show Selected Codes'

to show only rows that contain
the code that you select from the dropdown list
of codes that you or your leaders defined on the DV sheet

Which rows get hidden and unhidden

Work Instructions 'Show' column

In the 'Show' column...

  1. if the cell for that row is blank,
    then the row is shown
  2. if the cell contains a match
    for your currently-selected 'Show' code,
    then the row is shown
  3. if the cell for that row starts with !NOT,
    then the row is shown only if your currently-selected 'Show' code
    is NOT one of the codes the follows !NOT

If you are using a keyboard that does not support English characters, then there is an undocumented feature that allows you to specify some other phrase other than '!NOT'. Contact Systems2win for assistance.

Step Renumbering

When you use the 'Hide/Show Rows' button,
notice that it also automatically Renumbers Steps based upon which rows are now unhidden.

Bookmark = report

Generate the Report

work instructions - generate report

Click the 'Generate Report' button

to automatically create a work instructions sheet
in WYSIWYG format (what you see is what you get)
to be easily printed. (or distributed in PDF format)

You usually DO NOT EDIT any generated report sheet,
because all of your changes will be lost
the next time that you 'Generate Report'.

Page Setup

The auto-generated sheet will copy all of your Page Setup decisions from the source sheet

including your personalized page footer, Landscape vs. Portrait, etc.

If not using 8 1/2 x 11 paper, you can change your paper size

you can print on ANY size paper that Excel supports.

(perhaps use your plotter to print wall paper?)

If you are personalizing your master template,

be sure to configure Page Setup the way you want it to be for your default settings

When you click the button to 'Generate Report',
you then choose one of four radio buttons:

Work Instructions - Generate Report radio buttons
  1. 'As Is' generates a single report worksheet
    with the rows that are currently unhidden

    You will want to manually rename
    the new worksheet that gets generated.

  2. 'All Rows' generates a single report worksheet for All Rows

    (including rows that might currently be hidden)

    The name of the generated sheet is the same as the name of the source sheet, but followed with '-R'.

    For example, if the name of your source sheet is "Inspection",
    the name of the generated report sheet is "Inspection-R"

If you have Product Families

with products that are very similar, but slightly different

then you will save a lot of time and reduce a lot of errors
using the next two options

  1. 'Rows that contain this code' generates a single report worksheet
    for the code that you select from the dropdown list

    The name of the generated sheet is the same as your selected code
    (which might be your part number, or a shorter code that corresponds with your long part number)

  2. 'All Codes' generates multiple report worksheets with the click of a single button

    One sheet for 'All Rows', and separate sheets for every part number
    that you defined in the 'Show' column on your DV sheet

Make these Work Instructions easily available

These Job Instructions need to be EASILY accessible to the workers that need them.

If short...

the entire report might be laminated and taped to the wall in front of the worker,
so that he or she can easily glance at it whenever needed.

Work Instructions

If longer...

the report pages might be put in clear plastic sleeves in a three-ring-binder mounted in a way that allows the worker to easily flip pages.

or be made available in PDF format
so pages can be displayed on a computer screen.

If even longer...

then it is often wise to consider breaking the process into shorter sub-processes.

If this is a controlled document

perhaps ISO 9000 or FDA or any other type of controlled document

Controlled documents (usually) need to be in a non-editable format
(such as printed paper or a PDF)

Use your Systems2win Excel template to create and edit the document,
and then either print it, or create a PDF to distribute to your users.


Bookmark = advanced

Advanced Training

for your Work Instructions Template

Revision Control

Use the Revision Log ('RevLog' worksheet) to summarize changes over time

Whenever you make a change to a workbook that has a Revision Log:

  1. Make an entry in the 'RevLog' sheet.
  2. Save an archive copy of all old versions of your document

    following your company's Document Storage and Naming conventions.

And ALL related documents need to be kept in sync:

This Visual Work, as well as any other process documentation,
such as Standard Work, Layout Diagram, Standard Procedure, training videos, etc.

Long Processes

If possible — split them into smaller sub-processes — small enough for a worker to digest in a single training session.

Or perhaps have the worker learn a segment of the job, while the instructor completes some other aspects of the job for a while until the learner is ready to take on more.

Or perhaps the only option is a very long and attentive mentoring relationship — with close supervision for an extended time period.

Note: The licensed version supports a maximum of 500 Steps, and the Trial version is limited to 10 Steps.

Other Standard Work Templates

Training Matrix

It is common for a single process to have multiple types of documents for standard work

ideally stored in a single folder - in order to avoid breaking hyperlinks between related documents -
as described in our online training for suggested Document Storage and Naming Conventions

It is common to use a Cross Training Matrix

to keep track of who needs what training, and how are they coming with that?

Standard Work sheet

Although your Work Instruction template has columns for user-defined fields,
they are almost never used.

Why would you want to waste your valuable time re-inventing formulas when there is already a template that has all Standard Work Analysis formulas pre-programmed?

Continuously Improve

Use the scientific method

to continuously improve best practices

Establish a culture

where workers and process engineers work together to continuously improve methods to reflect the very best practices that can be scientifically proven to minimize time and cost while maximizing quality and safety.

When ANYONE has an idea

there needs to be a quick, thorough, and fair evaluation of their idea using the scientific method: hypothesize, test, analyze, implement, and extend.

If the proposed method proves to be better

then it should be taught to all other workers — so everyone can do it the better way.


Bookmark = personalize

Personalize your Work Instructions Template

Your leaders might have already personalized your master Work Instructions template for:

Personal art

Your personalizations
get found and transferred
each time you upgrade

  1. Your desired Header fields

    Do not delete, insert, or move... but you can hide:

    * rows in the header section at the top of the (hidden) Template sheet
    * columns in the ID Table on the DV sheet

    Optionally rename any header field

    Following the instructions for how to edit text using User Substitutions

    (Think hard before doing this. And bounce your ideas off from Systems2win first.)

  2. Your desired header that appears at the top of each printed page

    The row at the bottom of the header fields is the row that will appear at the top of each page

  3. Your default dropdown lists (on the DV sheet)

    Including the special fields for Default Row Height and Step Label

  4. Your own conventions for how to use colors, fonts, and shapes to communicate different types of information

    Simply edit the User-Defined section of the Help sheet.

  5. Systems2win menu > Add RowsYour personalized starting point for new rows

    When your users use the button to 'Add Rows',
    the newly added rows will be copied from the master rows
    that you can personalize by simply unhiding the top rows
    in your (hidden) Template sheet.

    (be sure to re-hide those rows
    before you publish your personalized master template)

    You can even have more than 1 type of row.
    Contact us to learn how.

    Bookmark = icons

  6. Transfer shapes?Shapes and icons (see below)

    If the dropdown list is TRUE
    (just to the right of Favorite Shapes)

    then your Favorite Shapes on your (hidden) Template sheet will be automatically found and transferred each time that you upgrade.

    And you can also personalize the shapes that are available when using any Excel document, by following the instructions below.

Personalize your own palette of icons

because pictures are better than words

Your Systems2win templates come with features to make it easy to personalize your templates
to make it easy for your users to quickly find and open your personalized palette of icons. Learn how.

Systems2win Standard Shapes
Safety icons

Examples of icons that can be
purchased separately, and then
used with your Systems2win templates

Link to your own palette of icons

Studies have proven that our brains read and interpret the meaning of pictures and symbols much more quickly and accurately than words.

This is especially true when instructions are being communicated to people that speak different languages.

safety symbols

Examples of icons that can be
purchased separately, and then
used with your Systems2win templates

Systems2win provides a few safety icons to get you started, but many of our customers purchase or create their own set of symbols for things like safety icons, hazardous materials, equipment, tools, and anything else that is better communicated through symbols rather than words.

Once you have purchased or created your own set of icons that are appropriate for your unique industry and needs, then you can easily copy & paste them into any Systems2win template.

A quick Internet search for "safety icons" will lead you to several web sites
where you can choose from a wide variety of symbols to meet your unique icon needs for safety, tools, equipment, materials, supplies, and anything else
that is better communicated with pictures rather than words.

Let us help you

Once you have followed the usual instructions for how to personalize your Systems2win templates

before you distribute your personalized template to your users,
it is a good idea to email it us for a (free) final review.


Bookmark = New

New Features

for your Work Instructions template

April 2016

Better version control for Product Families.

'Add Image' now has choice to add normal size image or wide image.

Can now specifiy your desired Default Row Height.

More things are now automatically found and transferred each time you upgrade:

Which header rows you chose to hide or unhide, what data you want in the header that appears at the top of each printed page, your user-defined Favorite Shapes...

Work Instructions ribbon menu

July 2015

All macro buttons replaced
with menu items in the Systems2win menu in the Excel Ribbon bar.

June 2015

New 'Hide / Show Rows' button allows you to maintain multiple items for a product family in a single workbook - instantly generating updates for all items with the click of a single button.

New button to 'Add Rows' - including the ability to add a Header Row for a Page Break.

Supports larger images, and more diverse ways to handle long work instructions.

Download your free trial to see what's new

June 2014

The old JobInstructions.xls template was replaced with the new WorkInst.xls template —
which has more header fields, and better handling of international paper sizes.

September 2013

Free update to fix the way Microsoft changed the way Excel handles numbered arrays.

March 2013

Major upgrade to support Excel 2013.

March 2012

Improved features for using symbols and icons to supplement words.

July 2011

All Systems2win Excel templates are now available in multiple languages

See more of What's New

 

"Amateurs work until they get it right. Professionals work until they can't get it wrong."

 

This Work Instructions template comes with
many other useful Training Program Design templates
and Lean tools

 

 

 

Call for fast answers to your questions
615-553-2336

 

 

 

 

If your organization has not yet provided a license, you can download your free trial

 

 

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Languages

Systems2win
Excel templates are available
in ANY language

 

Languages available for immediate delivery include:

  • French:
    Instructions de tâches
  • Spanish:
    Instrucciones de trabajo
  • Portuguese:
    Instruções de Trabalho
  • German:
    Arbeitsanweisungen
  • Chinese:
    作业说明