Electronic Forms and Checklists for the Factory Floor

Connected WorkforceDaily Management June 29, 2020
Discover how top manufacturers are digitally connecting their frontline workers and using electronic forms and checklists to reduce processing time by 20%.
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Ensuring factory workers apply standards consistently across shifts and plants is critical for achieving manufacturing excellence and hitting targets set for safety, quality, OEE, waste and more. If standards aren’t being followed, manufacturers need to quickly identify why there are deviations and take immediate action to correct the situation. This includes updating standards based on any new operational knowledge and best practices that are uncovered.

To monitor whether standards are being followed, manufacturers rely on workers to complete a wide variety of checklists and forms to confirm that they have followed all required steps and that their equipment and production line are running optimally.

The problem, however, is that these documents are still largely being filled out manually using pen and paper. This not only adds unnecessary delays and costs to complete factory forms but also introduces errors and omissions. This then prevents manufacturers from taking corrective action in a timely manner and increases compliance risks.

Further, the processes and systems used to track actions and share improvements are often disconnected and rely on verbal conversations. There is no easy way to collaborate with workers across shifts and plants so that everyone can contribute ideas, help develop new standards, and grow operational knowledge.

Simply put, manual paper-based processes are an inefficient and ineffective tool for managing standards that promote manufacturing excellence.

Continuous learning on the factory floor

Improving Workforce Efficiency and Operational Knowledge

To improve workforce efficiency and operational knowledge, some manufacturers such as Mars, Danone and Kraft Heinz, are turning to electronic forms as part of a more comprehensive connected worker app. Developed by Poka, this mobile and web app is enabling these manufacturers and others to reduce the time it takes for workers to complete and process forms by up to 20%. Based on the volume of forms and checklists completed in most factories this could translate to millions of dollars saved.

According to Dan Nugent, Global Supply College Director at Mars, "The problem with paper forms and checklists in place today is that they are not operator-centric and are difficult to complete while running the line. Poka is designed to support our operators and technicians in the flow of their daily work, not on top of it."

But the benefits of completing factory forms electronically with Poka don’t end with a simple reduction in time and cost. For example, if a deviation is identified by operators, they can immediately post a call for help in the app’s digital Factory Feed so that equipment experts and other workers across shifts and plants can help troubleshoot the problem.

To make it easier for everyone to understand the issue, the call for help can include a photo or video that operators take using a tablet. That way anyone with a solution can reply to the post, along with a video or photo demonstrating how to solve the problem. All information captured as part of the call for help can then be easily converted into a troubleshooting solution, stored in the knowledge base, and shared across global operations for all workers to learn and benefit from - all from within the app.

By combining electronic forms with a more comprehensive connected worker app, Poka effectively closes the loop in operational knowledge and empowers the entire workforce to contribute to manufacturing excellence.

"The power and value of Poka lies in the connectivity between the modules," explains Dan. "And in turn, the ability to move seamlessly and rapidly from problem to solution and then build associate capabilities."

Making It Easy to Move to Electronic Checklists

The good news is that Poka also makes it easy for manufacturers to move to electronic forms and checklists. Companies can build their custom form templates using an intuitive form builder with a drag and drop interface. And with support for multi-user editing, version control, sharing across shifts and plants, electronic signatures and more, almost any paper form can be migrated to Poka. Learn more about Poka's forms and checklists here.

The benefits of going paperless are compelling for all departments. These are some of the most common and frequently used factory forms that are being moved into Poka.

  • Production: Pre-ops and manufacturing shutdown checklists; Equipment control; Clean inspect lubricate (CIL); Shift changeovers; Product changeovers 
  • Continuous Improvement: Gemba walks; factory rounds; RCA – 5Whys; 5S Checks; CI idea forms
  • Health and Safety: Safety observations; Near misses; Forklift inspections; Safety inspections; LOTO registry/audits
  • Quality: Material inspections; Sanitation/cleaning checklists; Operational quality checks; Scale calibrations

A Digital Hub for Operational Knowledge and Manufacturing Excellence

While electronic forms and checklists are a great starting point for ensuring workers follow safety and production standards, they are but one solution needed to achieve manufacturing excellence. As a digital hub for capturing and growing operational knowledge, Poka ensures your workers are continuously connected with one another so that every problem turns into an opportunity to learn and improve. What’s more, everyone has the opportunity to easily share their knowledge, contribute to the development of new standards, and learn from one another as part of their daily flow of work.

Is your organization looking for a more efficient way to manage operational knowledge and manufacturing excellence? Poka's industry-leading connected worker platform with a powerful electronic forms and checklists feature is the tool you need—watch our feature demo to see how we can help.

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