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Industry Trends

What are Guided Work Instructions?

Nathan Field
Head of Customer Marketing and Brand

This article is one of our favourites from around the web. We've included an excerpt below but do go and read the original!

Original source:
  • August 3, 2023
  • Industry Trends

Scaling operations for OEMs and service providers is no small feat. Unique industry hurdles require tailored solutions, and Guided Work Instructions (GWIs) have emerged as a powerful tool to standardise service delivery, elevate performance quality, and streamline resources. 

What are Guided Work Instructions?

You are likely familiar with the general concept of Work Instructions. A work instruction provides a consistent set of guidelines that a team member must follow when performing tasks to achieve desired results.

A Guided Work Instruction adds the layer of hyper-specific learning content and access to expertise to assist in the completion of the task.

Did you know: HINDSITE, the leading Guided Work Instruction platform, is specifically designed for mining OEMS, advanced manfucaturers and their frontline employees.

The theory of guidance

It’s true that some tasks might only require simple written instruction. The benefits of guidance in the context of task completion however are numerous, and the table below outlines several.

Efficiency In-task guidance can lead to quicker task completion. By having a guide available during the task, learners can avoid getting stuck or making unnecessary mistakes, thus leading to more efficient work.
Learning Retention In-task guidance often includes step-by-step instruction and immediate feedback, which can help learners to better understand and remember the material. This is because it engages the learner in active learning, where they are making decisions and getting immediate feedback on those decisions.
Confidence When learners can see their progress and understand what they're doing right, they are likely to feel more capable and motivated. This increased confidence can, in turn, lead to better performance.
Reduced Cognitive Load By offering assistance during the task, it can help prevent learners from becoming overwhelmed, allowing them to focus on key elements and better understand the task at hand.
Facilitates Skill Transfer Real-time guidance provides context for the application of skills, which can enhance the learner's ability to apply these skills to different but related situations. This is a critical component of effective learning and skill development.
Promotion of Meta-Cognitive Skills With real-time guidance, learners can develop an understanding of their own learning process, learning to monitor, evaluate and regulate their own cognition. This is important for becoming a more independent and effective learner in the future.
Error Correction Mistakes are a natural part of learning. However, without guidance, learners can practice and reinforce incorrect methods. In-task guidance helps catch these mistakes early, before they become bad habits.
Scaffold Learning In-task guidance follows the educational concept of scaffolding – supporting the learning process with the aim to help the learner eventually achieve independence. As the learner gains competence, the guidance can be gradually withdrawn or opted out of.

The challenge however that OEMs face in the context of scaling is how to provide guidance en mass. How does one expert scale impact without the drain of time associated with classroom learning, travel or team expansion?

Three pillars to guidance

The Guided Work Instructions approach centers around the Workflow, and is supported by a Visual Content Library and Remote Expert Assistance. Together, these three pillars provide the basis of guiding frontline teams through each task and ensuring quality.

Let’s break down the need for each pillar.

Workflows: Overcoming inconsistent execution

Inconsistency in task execution is a common stumbling block for scaling. Diverging procedural paths followed by different workers can result in variable safety and productivity standards. Such inconsistency not only inflates operational costs and risks safety, but it also impinges on customer satisfaction - a significant bottleneck to scaling.

The traditional approach to combating inconsistency is either static Standard Operating Procedures or a team culture that encourages turnover.

Workflows such as the ones in HINDSITE are designed to combat inconsistency head-on. They provide step-by-step procedures for every task, instilling a uniform high standard across your workforce, irrespective of their individual expertise levels.

Whether servicing complex machinery or conducting meticulous site inspections, these workflows standardise processes, markedly enhancing service consistency and quality.

Context-aware instructions

The ultimate benefit to using workflows is that you can accommodate for different conditions and scenarios by using branches. A branch is a string of instructions that stem from a decision that the user makes.

Picture a worker servicing an autonomous blast hole sensor. Through HINDSITE's Workflows, they receive guided instructions, ensuring consistent, accurate, and safe task completion regardless of the worker's individual experience. If at some point they respond ‘No’ to a critical safety check, the workflow can take them down the path of rectification before proceeding further.

What is the difference between a Standard Operating Procedure and Guided Work Instructions?

GWIs get rid of the grey in SOPs that can come about due to personal interpretation or situational factors. A well-organised SOP will tell you what to do, who should do it and when, given a triggering event. GWIs will show a frontline worker not only how to do it with step-by-step instructions, but also the best way to do it given know-how in your organisation.

Visual Content Library: Demonstrable know-how

The second component to an effectiveGuided Work Instruction is the Content associated with each step.

In the mining and METS industries particularly, the risk of knowledge loss when experienced workers retire or change jobs is significant. Vital expertise accrued over the years can evaporate unless effectively captured, disseminated and communicated.

Workflows in HINDSITE integrate your own curated rich Visual Content Library, ensuring the preservation and sharing of vital operational knowledge. This expert-generated library, filled with bite-sited video guides, illustrative diagrams, and more, becomes a reservoir of institutional wisdom.

When linked with each step, bite-sized opportunities for learning become de-stigmatised and ensure that not only the task is correctly communicated, but also the culture and approach of the expert. 

Video: the powerhouse of communication

Video plays a significant role in the absorption of information, and is the primary method that we recommend guidance be provided in Workflows. Video content is visually engaging, it communicates non-verbal cues and it allows the communicator to channel far more context into an instruction than on paper.

Consider a seasoned mine worker with specific expertise in calibrating a complex piece of machinery. With HINDSITE's Visual Content Library, they can record a step-by-step video tutorial. This guide then becomes part of the organisation's collective resource, and can be both accessed via specific workflows or by just browsing the library on-demand.

If frontline team members are familiar with the calibration activity, they can continue without watching the microlearning. But if they even have a miniscule sense of doubt as to their memory of the task, the content is available to guide them.

Remote Expert Assistance: Direct access and scalability

The third component of a successful Guided Work Instruction set up is what Eddie McGuire (or Regis Philbin if you’re in the States) would call ‘Phone a friend’. If all else fails, rely on your go-to.

Despite detailed instructions, the need for on-the-spot expert guidance cannot be avoided. Providing such immediate assistance can be a challenge, particularly in remote or difficult-to-access locations such as in underground mines or remote sites.

Workflows on HINDSITE come equipped with a Remote Expert Assistance feature to tackle this challenge. It allows your workforce to connect with industry experts in real-time, enabling them to solve problems quickly and continue their tasks with minimal disruption.

Suppose a junior geologist encounters a puzzling rock sample analysis. With the ability to call an expert mid-workflow, they can instantly connect with a senior geologist, ensuring the task progresses accurately and safely.

If that call is particularly useful as a demonstration of the task, it can then be saved into the aforementioned Visual Content Library and made available in the workflow for future geologists.

In conclusion, a successful approach to Work Instructions needs to involve a concept of guidance.

Balanced on the robust pillar of Workflows and augmented by a Visual Content Library and Remote Expert Assistance, Guided Work Instructions bring a transformative approach to the efficiency, consistency, and scalability of your service delivery and assembly operations.

With such a tool at their disposal, your frontline workers are empowered to deliver consistently high-quality service, thereby driving your organisation's growth and competitive edge as a customer-focused operation.

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Ready to scale your know-how?

HINDSITE gives your frontline Guided Work Instructions to standardise a high level of service. This allows OEMs to scale operations and compete based on service delivery without additional resources.

Let us know how we can reach you and we'll give you a ring to explore whether HINDSITE is the right fit for your team.