This is an example of a Work Instruction for operation of a commercial product. Their importance is often over looked. The notable trials at Christmas time and birthdays by parents of children is excellent anecdotal evidence for this. We’re in a hurry or the product manufacturer provides poor instructions and we have stories for later in life about the birthday where mom and/or dad had to assemble a bicycle.
When I was young I build a number of plastic and wood models. From the ‘Visible man’ to a ‘working’ submarine to a balsa model of the Kon Tiki to many aerocraft - I built quite a few models. The instructions played an important part in every project. From sequence to “…insert tab A in slot A…”, the instructions tell what has to be done.
Your internal work instructions are no different, really. The important part is knowing where you should have work instructions and where training or experience negates the need for work instructions. There are no hard and fast rules. It is mostly common sense.
Another aspect of work instructions is how they fit into your overall system. Some companies have exacting software, often databases, which link documentation, make documents available to users and such. Some companies buy canned software and some companies write their own. I have had several clients who hired an outside firm to write their databases to their specifications.
An Everyday Work Instruction
This is the ‘Work Instruction’ which comes with an aquarium heater. It gives the user some basic information. Note that there are graphics (several in multiple languages) in addition to the basic text. There is also a ‘selection’ guide for the purchaser.