With June 1st Children's Day approaching, many parents will buy their children puzzles toys as gifts, which is regarded as educational and parental relationship promoting. Contemporarily with the development of China, LEGO’s sales maintain double-digit growth consecutively in China. LEGO Group's earnings report in 2016 has pointed out that the company's revenue in China increased rapidly by double-digit growth, while the previous report in 2015 showed that revenue grew 40% year in China market, about twice the global average growth rate. Besides, the market segments of LEGO has been more small compared to the initial development period, and the themes as well as sizes are broad. But how to make consumers like it and inspire the sense of accomplishment and desire of further challenge after they once buy and build one structure immediately? A detailed assembly guide is vital. A good assembly guide can allow a 3-year-old child who only learn numbers to assemble fragmented dozens of various building blocks into a unique small building or a vivid roadster. There is no doubt that the writers have tried their best.
这不禁让我想起了工厂内每天基本的作业需要用到的流水线作业指导书。每家企业在制定作业指导书时总是反复强调目标是确保动手能力和理解能力最差的人都能参照作业指导书一次性加工出合格的产品。但实际结果往往是不如人意，很多新员工要花费很长的时间来完全理解作业指导书的内容，有时作业指导书与实际也不一致，在中国待了10多年的美国咨询专家Renaud Anjoran是这么说的“难道作业员们在主管们演示给他们作业方法后仍然不会做吗？ 是的，的确如此。我们发现很多质量问题的根本原因在于不完善的作业指引及不够细致的现场培训。因此，要获得最佳的效果，派一个工程师去观察作业流程，准备作业指导书（如果可行的话同作业员工一起），并培训他们如何使用”。早期我也是亲自编过作业指导书给员工使用的，后来做国外的项目转移到国内（本土化生产），也翻译并一步一步培训过国外使用的作业指导书给员工使用，其实很多时候也清楚在很多的工厂，作业指导书的要点并没有很好的解释给员工。
This reminds me of the assembly line work instruction used in everyday basic work in factory. Each company, when producing the work instruction, repeatedly stresses that the goal is to ensure that the staff with poorest operation and comprehension ability can process the acceptable products after referring to the work instruction. However, the actual results are often unsatisfactory since it takes many new employees long time to fully understand the contents of the work instructions. What’s more, sometimes operating instructions and the actual work are not consistent. US consultant Renaud Anjoran, who has stayed more than 10 years in China, says: "Won’t the operators know what to do after their leader has shown them? Well, not always. We have found poor work instructions and poor training on the shop floor to be the root cause of many quality issues. So, to get the best results, send an engineer to observe processes, prepare WIs (if possible, together with the workers), and train operators to apply them.” At earlier time, I had written the work instruction for workers, and later during project transformation to China (localization), I also translated the work instruction and trained local workers step by step. In fact, it is clear that at most time the key points of work instruction have not been well explained to workers in many factories.
If one person has visited too many factories, then he/she will have good intuition , knowing only at a glance whether the factory take the work instruction as a form or in real implementation. Like the old saying, devils are in details. For example, are the work instruction applied for a wide product ranges or each product model specifically? Does It has a good structure and layout? Is it revised in the last 2 years, or never? Are there any confirmation of examination and approval? Has it ever been read by others? Is it hanged horizontally or vertically to present to the staff for easy reading? Are details included?
According to the definition of Baidu Encyclopedia, “work instruction” is the standard for correct guidance of standard work procedures to work operators. Work instructions are based on the parts table and the work combination. With the order of the work, it means to specify the key points of work, safety and quality related to each staff. It records the machine configuration of a person's work, the cycle time, the operations sequence, the standard stock level, and specific methods of quality inspection in different places. If the operator works in accordance with the work instruction, he or she will be able to actually, quickly and safely complete the operation. ” With my personal experience, there are at least the following notes:
1. The working instruction is also a procedure, but its object is a specific activity, while the object of procedure describes systematic quality activities.
Procedures are often involved in multi-functions, multi-positionss and multi-links, but the work instructions are more concerned only with a part of the procedure; procedures emphasize the interaction of the process, functions and coordination required. Work instruction, which is a supplement to the procedure, highlights the details, methods and the standard. Secondly, the working standard of a job is different from the work instruction, it is the standard for the responsibility, rights, scope, quality requirements, procedures, effects, inspection methods, appraisal, reward and punishment methods and other aspects of work. It may have similarities with the work instructions, but the content of its emphasis is different. Not all of the instructions are required to specify the duties, authority, appraisal and rewards and punishments and other content; in turn the conditions and standards that should be included in work standard is not necessarily in work instruction.
2. Not necessarily every station or every job requires a written work instruction, but the principle is if " the consistency of quality can not be guaranteed without a work instruction”, then it is necessary.
Many staff or even the factory managers think that the employee has been working at a specific position for a long time and very familiar with the job, but often another employee he / she may not understand well. So I often ask a question, "How long do you think a new employee needs to be familiar with this job?" And a good work instruction is an effective way to shorten this period. The most typical example is the warehouse, without a clear work instruction and 5S, how long will it take for a new worker to remember chaotic warehouse location and inventory numbers?
3. A good operation instruction not only directs the employee to produce the right product, but also contains the idea of lean production – how to produce efficiently and minimize waste.
很多的企业改作业指导书叫SOP （Standard Operation Procedure or Standard Operation Picture),说明清晰的图片是必不可少的。线路板厂的作业指导书基本都能满足图文并茂，但提到细节，却往往列不齐常见的焊锡不良示例，而且很多图片是能小就小，直到小到打印出来就基本看不清到底想表达什么了，其实作为已经相当成熟的行业，只需要从线路板的行业验收标准里截取出那些高清的图片来用于编制作业指导书就够了。其次作业指导书需要包含 标准工时，线平衡，工装夹具，人力需求，人机工程学，品质控制的要点及曾经的失效点，产线的设计，物料的需求规格及数量，物料的配送方式及产品的物流路线，以及基本的5S要求等等。
Many companies refer to the operating instructions as SOP (Standard Operation Procedure or Standard Operation Picture), which indicates that clear pictures are indispensable. Operation procedures of circuit board factories generally can meet the basic requirements of illustrations. However, when it comes to the details, they often fail to list all the bad examples of soldering, and many pictures are too small to be seen after being printed out. In fact, in the quite mature industry, it is enough to take the high definition pictures from the Acceptance Criteria of Circuit Board Industry for the preparation of operating procedures. Secondly, the work instructions need to include standard working time, line balance, fixture, manpower requirements, ergonomics, quality control points and the point of former failures, production line design, material specifications and quantity requirements, material distribution and Product logistics routes, as well as the basic 5S requirements and so on.
4. Safety is the top priority of all operations, but it is often the easiest one to be overlooked.
经常开玩笑说在欧美的酒店里，电视机打开的第一个画面是教客人如遇火险如何逃生，而在国内的大多数酒店则是酒店的宣传片和广告。同样国外的很多作业指导书是将安全注意事项放在每个步骤的第一条，而见过国内相当多的是没有安全注意事项或者在最传统的以文字形式描述岗位作业规范的文件里，它通常是最后一条 – 或许我们的思维方式一直就是相反的吧。
It is usually joked that in European and in American hotels, the first scene for guests to see on the TV is how to escape in the case of fire, but in most domestic hotels there are the hotel's promotional videos and advertisements. Similarly, In many foreign work instruction, the safety precautions are the first of each step, but in home, safety precautions are not included in a considerable number of work instructions, or in the most traditional way, in normative documents written with words, and the safety precautions are usually in the end – perhaps our way of thinking has always been the opposite from the foreigner's.
5. The documents for reference shall be specified in the work instruction.
In my opinion, product standard and engineering standard for reference should be specified in each work instruction, whether it is industry specification or customer specificically, just as the general tolerance needs to be shown in the graph paper. I have encountered a case that an universal bedside lamp is complained by customer due to crack of universal tube. However, the information like how many times to be tested and how to test in the production process has not been included in the work instruction. After careful study, it is found that the company has its engineering standards, but no one carefully read and write it into the work content. Similarly, the setting of the screw locking torque, the meaning of the torque value and the reason for its use are regulated actually but often not included.
6. The work instruction is a dynamic file that requires creative updates.
Work instructions are not based on talks by engineers in the air-conditioned rooms, but based on repeatedly practical operation, observation, and conclusion by operators. Secondly, as the basis for the revision, it is recommended to record some of the key traceability information to be used for update in the future, such as the requirements of temporary changes in the operation, the orders having actual changes and the steps that are complained by customers before trial production and stability. These information are recommended to be written on the either back side of work instruction or on the extra note page.
The development of technology has greatly promoted the convenience of human life on one hand, but causes reduction of intelligence on the other hand. Sellers of X Dong and X Bao try their best to film a series of operation steps and details of every product to customers, in order to prevent them from using the wrong products. Compared to LEGO toys, IKEA furniture is also known for its consideration for customers, because the design, and assembly guidelines are easy to understand. Even the size of the product illustrations in the guidelines is same as the real product, so that worldwide customers of different level can quickly operate. I believe that this should be the principle of the work instruction.
THANKS TO THE CONTRIBUTION OF TRANSLATION BY VOLUNTEER MS. DUMING HE (SYLVIA) FROM GUANGDONG UNIVERSITY OF FOREIGN STUDIES.