Industry 4.0 >> Visual SOP

Visual SOP

The Visual SOP aims to instruct and guide the operator to perform specific tasks, with the intent of limiting waste of time and performance.

Scientific evidence proves that we perceive images before anything else, and then we share them through language: a few well-used words, associated with images, achieve their purpose much better and faster than many pages of written text.

The image represents, the word describes.


Visual SOP is one of the activities foreseen by the World Class Manufacturing (WCM).

It allows you to convey information regarding, in particular, areas such as:

  • Security
  • Quality control
  • Operative instructions

Like all WCM tools, it was created to combat waste. In this case, waste of time, the time of a number of people who work in the company: from the engineer who is responsible for drawing up the (voluminous) instruction manual, to the operator who has to “digest” that manual, especially if he is a new employee; we should talk about waste of money as well, because the error risks increase noticeably where you cannot follow the process of your tasks step by step: how much damage can be caused by an incorrectly performed action?

The purpose of the Visual SOP

The purpose of the Visual SOP is to:

  • Avoid writing long paper manuals
  • Streamline training and knowledge transfer
  • Improve transparency and compliance
  • Promote automation
  • Reduce costs, avoiding important mistakes/anomalies

The principle on which the effectiveness of a Visual SOP system is based is perfectly described by the words of Rudolph Arnheim (German art historian and psychologist): “No thought process seems to exist without a perceptual process: through images we give meaning to information and are able to process it. In short, we learn.” This is why Visual SOP improves knowledge transfer, optimizes processes, and ultimately saves money.

The hardware

The necessary hardware for a Visual SOP unit is:

  • A touch screen monitor
  • A mini computer (e.g. NUC)
  • Ethernet Connection

Monitors and Mini-PCs are connected through:

  • Power Cables
  • HDMI Cable (To view information)
  • USB Cable (For the touch functions)

The content

Content conveyed through the Visual SOP is organized into actual “playlists.”
The playlist is identified by location, item category and articles.
Through the playlists, the contents are structured and ordered according to a precise and functional sequence.
The contents can be of different formats:

  • Pdf
  • Immagini
  • Video
  • URL

All the content is interactive. It scrolls automatically, according to a predefined time and sequence. The operator has the possibility to pause the scrolling of the contents.


The Visual SOP interface is composed of a large area, located in the center of the touch screen, dedicated exclusively to the visualization of the contents. On the side, on the right, there is the menu that allows you to move between the various categories of content that make up the playlist. In the lower part of the screen there’s the navigation menu useful to move from one content to another, the display with the remaining time to display the next content and the button to display the content in full screen.

Benefits of using the Visual SOP

Here are the main benefits, in detail:

  • Improved training and knowledge transfer: routine tasks can be delegated to junior staff, freeing up senior staff who can then take on higher priority tasks.
  • Compliance audits will be more manageable because the documentation is already in place. Documenting SOPs thus becomes a key project ahead of an audit.
  • Increased transparency: visually documented processes will be able to easily answer the most common business question, “what’s taking so long?”
  • Cost savings: Work can be assigned to a lower level of support costs; IT operations will be more efficient and therefore costly failures will be avoided.

"What the eye has seen the heart does not forget."

– Proverb

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