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bad instructions

Why Bad Instructions Cost the Top Manufacturers Billions

Bad instructions on the shop floor can cost your business millions. Good news. The solution is a lot simpler than you might think.

3 minutes read
Published on 4 March 2019 Updated on 24 April 2023

Take a minute to imagine your ideal factory floor.

  • What are the workers doing?
  • How are the machines running?
  • Are processes crisp, well-defined, and efficient?

We’re betting that the answer is yes.

We want our manufacturing processes to be efficient. Why?


It’s simply the bottom line. You know that each minute of unplanned downtime, inefficiency, and misunderstanding in manufacturing can cost your business thousands upon thousands of dollars.

The most likely culprit for these errors? Bad instructions on the shop floor.

We decided to look into exactly how much each of these could be costing your business. We did our research, and what we found was rather shocking. Check it out below.

cost of bad instructions


So, what are you doing to fix these problems?

There’s a good chance it’s what everyone else is doing. You adopt lean, efficient processes. You practice manufacturing philosophies such as Kaizen and Lean Six Sigma, and you implement safety into the core of your company.

These ideals should indeed form the foundation of an agile and successful business. But there’s a simple way to leverage digital transformation to alleviate these pain points and gain a competitive edge over your competition.

Digital work instructions have a proven impact on every element listed above in our infographic. They have the ability to increase efficiency and productivity, while reducing safety risks and cost to serve.

The negative effects of  bad instructions


1. Productivity.

Digital work instructions increase productivity because they let workers know exactly what they need to be doing, anywhere in the workplace. Downtime is incredibly expensive, and Intelligent instructions have the power to reduce it by increasing the efficiency of product changeovers in a manufacturing environment. After the implementation of digital work instructions, we’ve seen product changeover times decrease from five hours to just two.

bad instructions lost productivity

2. Safety.

An undertrained employee is a liability.

Your modern workforce needs a training solution that can scale with the rapidly changing technology you implement on the factory floor. Updated machines and procedures need consistently updated instructions. Digital work instructions allow your training procedures to adapt to innovation in real time.

The less an employee knows about current Standard Operating Procedures, the more likely they are to hurt themselves or others. Make sure you’re closing the knowledge gap by replacing bad instructions with effective Digital Work Instructions.


3. Morale.

Effective, effortless training and user-friendly instructions aren’t just for the sake of your bottom line.

A streamlined training process and effortless processes on the factory floor can make a huge difference in the lives of your employees.

Training sucks, and bad instructions are frustrating and hard to use. The weight of inefficient processes and knowledge distribution can only add to the stress of your workforce. Don’t let frustration, low morale, and inefficient training hamper the growth of your most important asset, your hard-working employees.


4. Knowledge.

Tribal knowledge is a phenomenon that plagues businesses who lack a comprehensive digital solution for storing and sharing company knowledge.

It’s a way of describing essential information that is not stored in a central, easily accessible system. Instead, knowledge lives in the heads of a few key employees. It’s shared in a random and unstructured way via word of mouth from employee to employee.

Digital work instructions give you the power to efficiently capture the most important knowledge circulating throughout your workforce, and keep it secure forever. Not only does an effective work instruction platform allow you to capture this knowledge in real-time, but gives you the ability to keep it updated and distributed at a moment’s notice.

Digital work instructions are the logical choice for enterprise companies looking to scale effectively with the amazing new trends in manufacturing. They allow anyone to reduce cost and safety risks, while simultaneously increasing efficiency and the ability to capture essential knowledge.


Want to learn more?

👉 Simplify Access: How to share instructions via QR code.
👉 Our top Inspirational Kaizen Quotes.
👉 How to gain the benefits of TPM for continuous improvement.

TPM Manufacturing

Picture of Chris

Chris loves to share his expertise on future-proof work instruction software for frontline teams in manufacturing. Particularly, how digital, visual work instructions can make a lasting impact on motivation, productivity, and operational excellence culture.

Published on 4 March 2019