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The ROI of 3D Work Instructions: What It Means for Your Business

Learn how the right 3D work instructions can meaningfully impact your business, driving positive ROI through improved training and efficiency.

In our current technological age, it’s no surprise that the future of work is digital. But the degree to which digitalization is entering formerly analog and manual processes, even in physical labor, may still be surprising. The reasons for the shift are plentiful. As equipment is becoming more complex, it’s also becoming increasingly customized. At the same time, manufacturers and retailers need to find more efficient ways to build instructions for that equipment, train their workforce, and optimize daily workflow.

Work instructions have always been a part of that level of work. From manufacturing and maintenance to installations and repairs, field techs need to know how to get the work done with efficiency in mind. But as technology continues to evolve, the nature of these instructions is changing along with it.

Today’s instructions are no longer restricted to paper or even static video. In fact, sticking with these increasingly outdated means of communicating core information in the moment can become a drag on productivity and prevent field techs from doing their best work. Enter interactive 3D work instructions, which are changing the game in this arena.

These technology-powered solutions transform the way your workforce engages with work instructions. But just as importantly, they also add tangible value to your operations. Through better onboarding and ongoing training, increasing efficiencies, streamlining updates, and building a better recruitment strategy, moving to 3D work instructions can result in a tangible ROI that makes the initial investment well worth its salt.

Optimizing Your Onboarding ROI for New Employees

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of successful onboarding for new employees across industries. Effectively training your recruits doesn’t just help them learn the core skills they need to succeed, but it also makes them more likely to stay with your company in the long run.

According to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), employees who have a positive onboarding experience are 58% more likely to stay with a company for at least three years. They’re also 50% more productive and 2.6 times more likely to be “extremely satisfied” with their work. In addition, SHRM found that effective onboarding can shorten a new employee’s time-to-productivity by multiple months.

Related: The Benefits of Digital Work Instructions for Improving Employee Ramp Time

Each of these benefits has a tangible financial impact. Shorter time to productivity and general improvements in productivity naturally increase efficiencies while better employee retention saves recruitment and hiring costs. Implemented the right way, 3D work instructions can play a significant role in improving that process, building better ROI as a result.

How Employees Interact with 3D Instructions

Modern, digital instructions start with basic usability. Interactive apps allow new workers to see any process from multiple angles as well as manipulate the visuals with zoom, pinch, and scroll features. This level of interactivity enables them to better approach the equipment or process from their point of view and dig in deeper where needed. The right instructions may also include guidance that walks new employees through that same process while still maintaining a degree of customizability.

In addition, interactive digital instructions enable faster, more agile searches for field technicians. Unlike video or paper instructions, they offer quick answers to questions new employees may have as they familiarize themselves with the process. 

Rather than skimming over a table of contents, flipping through pages, or fast-forwarding to the right point in a video, workers can easily search the app with keywords and be directed to exactly what they’re looking for. Meanwhile, the visual nature of this type of instruction increases information retention, ultimately preparing your new employees better for their work.

Building Ongoing Development ROI Through 3D Work Instructions

Of course, training is not just a core part of the onboarding process. It matters just as much for experienced employees who need to continue learning to remain successful at their jobs. The potential reasons for ongoing training and development, regardless of experience and seniority, are plentiful:

  • An emphasis on upskilling your workforce increases worker qualifications and results in better work being done on behalf of the company.
  • Upskilling also drives employee satisfaction, as nearly nine in ten workers believe that ongoing training for new skills is important to their career success.
  • Ongoing training can also lead to reskilling opportunities, creating a more versatile workforce with employees able to perform a greater variety of tasks.
  • Ongoing training simplifies the process of making sure that employees are well prepared for equipment and software updates, changing regulations, and other factors that impact their daily work.

As with training for new hires, each of these variables tangibly impacts your business’s success and financial health. A more qualified workforce reduces human error while a more satisfied workforce is likely to embrace company goals and remain with the team. 

Meanwhile, reskilling opportunities build organizational efficiencies that continue to benefit your business over time. Ensuring that all of your workers are in line with the latest equipment and regulations maximizes their chances of successful work.

Once again, 3D work instructions have a significant role to play in this process. They are intuitive tools that enable professionals who are already familiar with the basic processes to gain more in-depth knowledge without having to spend significant time on it. They can then become a core part of helping your team learn in the flow of work rather than completely separating training and on-the-job tasks. That minimizes the time investment needed while still leveraging a positive return on investment.

Cutting Out Wasted Time to Increase On-the-Job Efficiencies

When it comes to ROI calculations, time investment is an important component. Sure, it’s essential to consider the costs involved with any initiative for tangible positive returns, but time matters just as much. After all, any time wasted on inefficient work processes is time that could be otherwise spent delivering revenue to the organization.

Unfortunately, traditional work instructions almost always come with bottlenecks that require significant time from your employees:

  • The linear nature of most paper and video instructions requires workers to spend time finding the right piece of information needed for a specific task.
  • The text-based nature of most instructions requires time spent mentally ‘translating’ those words into real-life environments your workers find themselves in.
  • An inability to manipulate the visuals in traditional instructions means spending time and mental capacity imagining the equipment from multiple perspectives.
  • Reduced availability, typically limited to paper, can become cumbersome for workers at a job site.

Related: Training Success: Why the Best Work Instruction Software Matters

3D digital work instructions can help eliminate all of these inefficiencies. Instructions are no longer linear or static but can easily be adjusted and manipulated to fit the specific situation. Their inherent visual nature enables professionals to quickly align the instruction with what they are seeing in the field. Finally, their app-based availability no longer has to rely on paper or internet access.

That increase in efficiency, in turn, results in positive ROI for your entire company. Workers are able to get repairs done more quickly and accurately. With fewer resources wasted, more time can be spent on revenue-generating and cost-saving activities that benefit your entire business.

Streamlining Updates to Instructions—and Training on Updates

We’ve briefly mentioned the ease of updates as a key benefit of digital work instructions. It’s worth digging deeper into just how that updating process can impact the ROI you hope to get out of implementing better instructions.

It starts with the production process. Traditionally, an update to equipment or regulations would necessitate the production of entirely new instructions, including anything from the printing process to video production. That is no longer the case when the instructions are digital and can easily be tweaked in selective, relevant spots, which reduces production costs while maintaining accuracy.

Easier updates also flow into the training of employees and the tangible effects that more efficient training has on your workers. With digital instructions, you can pinpoint exactly where the changes are being made, using immersive 3D guides. Your employees can more easily take in the new knowledge while sticking with the same baseline instructions for the pieces that haven’t changed.

In other words, digital work instructions can streamline the process of making updates on every level. As a result, updates become less costly and contribute to increased efficiencies, essentially building a better system that drives tangible value for your organization.

How to Derive Maximum Value from 3D Work Instructions

Put it all together, and the conclusion becomes clear: digital 3D work instructions have massive potential for driving efficiencies and ultimately increasing the return for your company. Their benefits, from improved training to more streamlined instructions, have a tangible impact on your company’s success and revenue streams.

Of course, these results can only be true if you find the right work instructions. Simply moving to video is not enough, as it still comes with many of the inefficiencies and downsides mentioned throughout this guide. Instead, look for a more immersive solution. That’s where BILT comes in with an app-based immersive environment your workers and field technicians will embrace. Download the app to start building more efficient instructions and bring that positive ROI to your organization today.

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