Visual SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)
Visual SOP is a system that aims to instruct and guide people to perform specific operations, in order to limit the maximum waste of time and performance.
The need for this type of instrument arises from the awareness, proven by scientific evidence, that we perceive the images before anything else, and then we share them through language: a few well-used words associated with images, reach the goal much better and faster than many pages of written text.
In a Visual SOP system, information is spread through images accompanied by a few key words: the image represents and the word describes.
How Visual SOP was born
Visual SOP is one of the activities foreseen by the World Class Manufacturing (WCM).
It allows you to convey information concerning, in particular, areas such as:
- Quality control
- Operating istructions
Like all the WCM tools, it is born to fight waste. In this case, waste of time, the time of a series of people working in the company: the engineer who is responsible for drafting the (voluminous) manual of instructions; the operator who must “put up with” the manual, especially if he is newly hired; also waste of money, because the error opportunities multiply where you cannot follow step by step the process of your duties: 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:
- simplify the training and transfer of knowledge,
- improve transparency and compliance,
- allow automation,
- reduce costs by avoiding expensive breakdowns.
- replace long and and hard-to-use paper manuals
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 thinking process seems to exist without a perceptive process: through images we give meaning to information and we are able to process it. In few words, we learn.”
This is why Visual SOP improves knowledge transfer, optimizes processes, and ultimately saves money.
The necessary hardware for a Visual SOP unit consists of:
- a touch screen monitor
- a mini-computer (ex. NUC)
- an ethernet connection
Monitors and mini PCs are connected through:
- Power supply cable
- HDMI cable (to view information)
- USB cable (for the touch function)
The contents visualized through the Visual SOP are organized in «playlists».
The playlist is identified by workstation, category of articles and articles.
Through the playlists, the contents are structured and sorted according to a precise and functional sequence.
The contents can be:
The contents are interactive. They flow automatically, according to a pre-established time and sequence. The operator has the possibility to pause the flow of contents.
The graphic interface
The Visual SOP interface, consists of a large area, located in the middle of the screen, dedicated exclusively to displaying contents. On the right, there is the menu that allows you to move between the categories of content taht compose the playlist. At the bottom of the screen there is a menu with different functions: navigation, remaining display time, maximizing the screen.
Visual SOP configuration
The Visual SOP can be configured directly from the main menu of the IMPROVE 4.0 platform.
Each content can be placed in a category, which will be freely customizable.
Each playlist can be associated with:
- a workstation
- an article
As already mentioned, the contents can be pdf, images, videos and links. It will be possible to organize all the files in folders, in a sort of a content repository.
Benefits of using the Visual SOP
Here are the main benefits, in detail:
- Improves training and knowledge transfer: routine operations can be assigned to junior staff, thus freeing up managerial personnel who can then deal with higher priority tasks.
- Compliance checks will be more manageable, because the documentation is already in place. Documenting SOP becomes a key project for an audit.
- Higher transparency: visually documented processes can more easily respond to the most common business demand: “Why does it take so long?“
- Cost savings: Work can be assigned to a lower level of support costs; IT operations will be more effective and therefore expensive failures will be avoided.
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NeXT is a software house that produces and sells softwares developed to provide information and aggregate data to company management, supporting its operational decision making.
NeXT can guarantee excellent quality service, unique in the whole industry, thanks to agent-based technology programming.
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