How Digital Work Instructions Can Help you Implement Kaizen.


Kaizen is a Japanese word that means “change for the better.” This process improvement philosophy forms the backbone of all lean manufacturing methodologies. Standard work is at the heart of Lean and Kaizen. In fact, Taiichi Ohno, the creator of lean manufacturing, once said “there is no kaizen without standards.”

7 February 2022

But how much change has actually taken place when it comes to creating, sharing, and implementing work standards? Like many other aspects of today’s modern workplaces, standard work also needs to go digital. 

Work instructions need their own dose of Kaizen.

In the past, most companies would document standard operating procedures and instructions on paper or PDFs. But that’s changing. PDF and paper-based instructions are cumbersome to work with and sift through. They also result in high costs. We have seen beverage companies lose an average of $7 billion per year in productivity, due to poor work instructions. Safety issues related to work instructions cost businesses in the EU about €467 billion annually. Bad work instructions are unempowering and end up lowering employee morale too. 

Luckily, this doesn’t have to be the case. Tools like SwipeGuide enable employees to access instructions through QR codes, near-field communication (NFC), or direct links. Long gone are the days when you had to frantically look through a manual to find a specific set of steps to complete a task. Today, you can simply click on a topic, identify the instructions you need and click on the specific step, which you can complete with visual aids like short videos and gifs. 

In other words, work instructions have changed for the better. 

How, in turn, do digital work instructions enable Kaizen?

There are crucial ways digital work instructions can help you successfully adopt Kaizen. Here are some benefits SwipeGuide customers typically experience: 

Tap into your team’s collective intelligence.

Continuous improvement is key to Kaizen. But it's hard to achieve it when updating standards is a struggle in itself. SwipeGuide makes it easy to crowdsource critical operational knowledge from your frontline team. Using feedback collection systems, you can easily identify what needs to be improved. Then, you can seamlessly make changes to your standard operating procedures and instructions. 

Scale standard work with ease.

SwipeGuide makes it easy to share best practices across lines, teams, and sites in order to increase business resilience and build consistency across your operations. Instructions that are accessible on mobile devices or wearables are also easier to locate when they’re needed, and easier to follow. In fact, it takes about 20% less time to complete a task with SwipeGuide. 

Elevate your team’s performance.

Digital work instructions powered by SwipeGuide significantly reduce safety hazards, downtime, and quality issues by promoting a culture of continuous improvement. Our customers have been able to reduce operational downtime by up to 33%. Manufacturing companies using SwipeGuide have also seen improvements of 39% in First-Time-Right. This represents significantly less waste of raw materials, a significant reduction in defects, and better-tasting products for customers.


The SwipeGuide Effect 2

Ready to drive Kaizen with digital work instructions? 

As with any process improvement methodology, your team needs to own and internalize Kaizen for it to deliver the benefits. Empower them with SwipeGuide to facilitate the change.


Gloria crafts content about how the world’s top companies are rethinking how to write digital work instructions. Check out the rest of her articles to learn how innovative work instruction software can improve manufacturing processes.

7 February 2022