Revamping SOPs: Adding a Dash of 3D to the Rulebook
July 13, 2023
7 min read
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) ensure our survival - everybody from the operator on the manufacturing line to the end-user of the product. As a consequence, they are long, dull, boring, and everyone is mandated to go through it. Nobody really reads them, and when something goes wrong, we hope nobody gets hurt. While nobody is intentionally skipping it, just like the EULA for any product - tedious with a lot of fine print and jargon that says you’ve made a “business arrangement” with the devil for your soul. You ultimately sign-off on it in the hope that your business arrangement will not be executed.
How SOPs Keep Us Alive?
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are like a safety net, ensuring our well-being at every stage of any industrial process. These are essential for ensuring consistency, efficiency, safety and compliance in all industries and organisations. However, creating effective SOPs can be challenging, especially when dealing with complex, dynamic and high-risk processes in industries that involve a blue-collared workforce with high attrition and rotation rates. Additionally, SOPs require a way to communicate to the employees and ensure that they follow them correctly. Present day SOPs have a static nature - in the form of text, flowcharts, and images. This mode removes emotion (a deeper understanding) from the message and they do not capture the attention of the employees, nor convey the complexity and dynamics of the processes. Furthermore, they may not be accessible or convenient for the employees who need to refer to them while performing their tasks.
SOPs Reinvented with 3D
This is where 3D content with spatial computing creates a paradigm shift by enabling users to interact with digital information in a three-dimensional space, using devices such as virtual reality (VR) headsets, augmented reality (AR) glasses, or smartphones. It transforms the way SOPs are created and delivered, making them more engaging, immersive, and effective.
According to a comprehensive study conducted by PwC on the utilization of Virtual Reality (VR) training in industries, several significant insights were unveiled:
Employee confidence boost in performing tasks increased by 40%,
Training programs were completed in just a quarter of the time compared to traditional methods.
Participants retained information four times more effectively.
Reduction in training expenditures by 52%.
Increase in employee satisfaction levels by 2.6 times,
Reduced employee turnover rates by 70%,
Astounding 275% increase in workforce efficiency
Improvement in quality standards by 300%
Another study conducted by Harvard Business Review says, the implementation of Augmented Reality (AR) can yield significant benefits. It has been found to improve worker performance by 34%, reduce errors by 90%, increase efficiency by 25%, and enhance safety by an impressive 82%.
With Fabrik, We’ve made this work for multiple industries with each having its own unique obstacles!
Here are a few examples that you can try out for yourself as well.
A Clothing Factory that Makes Blazersemploys a large number of workers with low skills and education levels, and often quit or change jobs frequently. This leads to high attrition rates and a lack of trained and experienced workers. As a result, the factory suffers from quality and productivity variability on a day-to-day basis, as different workers perform the same tasks at different levels of efficiency.
The key to tackle high attrition is improving training effectiveness economically. The factory is using 3D simulations created with Fabrik that run on tablets at each workstation (such as cutting, sewing, ironing, and packaging). The simulations show the workflow exactly for workers to perform any task at any station without going through retraining - productivity and quality are retained irrespective of the worker’s skill level.
Consistency and accuracy of SOPs providing clarity of process.
Reduction in quality defects and rework costs by minimising errors and deviations.
Increased productivity levels by streamlining and optimising at each stage of the production process.
Improved employee retention rates due to superior SOPs providing better execution capabilities for its workers.
An automobile component manufacturing linerequires a higher degree of attention and skills due to the complex and hazardous nature of the tasks (compared to the blazer making line). The same blue-collared worker is expected to adhere to strict safety protocols while maintaining attention and focus on the job at hand. However, the workers are often unable to grasp the seriousness required or cannot comprehend the consequences of the likelihood of an injury, ignoring the SOPs and risking their own and others' safety. This leads to a high rate of injuries and accidents, as well as quality and productivity losses. A complex line like this employs a mix of skilled and unskilled workers who operate different machines and tools to perform tasks such as drilling, welding, assembling, painting and testing. And the key challenges they face while creating SOPs are in the difficulty of:
Accommodating for complexity and variability of the line that changes based on component type, model and brand.
Maintaining and updating the SOPs across different machines and tools consistently.
We are deploying virtual reality based training on SOPs and the consequences of mistakes leading to incidents (visualise the gory details). Benefits:
The workers learn faster and better by practising in a safe and controlled environment before doing their tasks in real life.
Reduced waste and rework by providing real-time adjustments and optimizations to the SOPs based on dynamic user feedback
Increased flexibility and customization by allowing the workers to switch between different SOPs depending on the component type, model and brand.
Improved maintenance and documentation by enabling remote access and update of the SOPs across different machines and tools.
According to a study by Accenture, VR training can reduce workplace injuries by 70%, improve employee retention by 40%, increase employee satisfaction by 60%, increase employee performance by 30% and increase workforce agility by 30%
Construction sites are inherently hazardous environments, and safety training is crucial to minimize accidents.Traditional training methods in construction often involve on-the-job training or physical mock-ups, which can be time-consuming and expensive. The projects occur in various different locations, making it difficult to provide consistent and accessible training to all workers. Along with this the jobs often involve operating heavy machinery and equipment that require specialized skills.
We created real-life simulations of various construction scenarios, allowing workers to practice safety protocols in a virtual setting without any real-world risks. This helps improve safety awareness, emergency response, and hazard recognition. Fabrik’s digital work instructions also offer scalability, as multiple workers can undergo training simultaneously without the need for additional physical resources or trainers on any device.
According to another study by PTC, AR and VR trainings reduce errors by 90% and enhance safety protocols practised on-site by 80%. These new technologies also reduce training costs by 50%, reduce maintenance costs by 30%, reduce downtime by 25%, increase customer satisfaction by 30% and increase overall profitability by 10%.
Improved safety outcomes, as workers can reduce physical and mental fatigue, stress, and injuries with ergonomic and intuitive interfaces.
Improved performance outcomes, as workers can perform their tasks more efficiently and effectively with real-time guidance and support.
Improved communication and collaboration by facilitating data sharing and visualisation with external stakeholders.
It’s just day one! Spatial computing creates effective SOPs for different scenarios that involve a blue-collared workforce with high attrition and rotation rates. By using smart devices like tablets, wearables and everything in-between, the workers can access and follow interactive and immersive SOPs that provide visual, auditory and tactile cues, real-time feedback and guidance, dynamic and adaptive adjustments and optimizations, and data sharing and visualisation. These features can help overcome some of the common challenges of creating and implementing SOPs, such as variability, complexity, compliance and collaboration, and improve the performance and productivity of the processes.
A report by PwC estimates that 3D content + spatial computing can add $1.5 trillion to the global GDP by 2030, with manufacturing, healthcare and retail being the top three sectors to benefit from this technology. The report also highlights some of the challenges and barriers for the adoption of 3D or spatial computing, such as technical limitations, regulatory issues, privacy concerns and cultural resistance.
It is clear there’s a huge transformation about to happen in the way SOPs are created and implemented in various industries and organisations. At the same time, it requires careful planning, design and execution to ensure its success and sustainability. And after SOPs, it’s EULA visualisation time!
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