work instruction software

Case study: Georg Fischer Signet

AssemblyX Removes Manufacturing Complexity

Managing 800+ SKUs that are subject to frequent change, Georg Fischer Signet’s manufacturing legacy work instruction software was causing increased complexity and cost.

Georg Fischer Signet struggled with implementing a new work instruction platform that offered simple usability for its authors and assemblers, until they discovered AssemblyX.

“Having previously tried to move to a new system which was not favoured, we were stuck with two systems, neither of which was effectively managing our work instructions,” commented Nick Fizette, Senior Manufacturing Engineering Manager.

Georg Fischer is a global manufacturer of piping systems, creating solutions for a wide range of industries including gas, water treatment plant, chemical processing, etc. Its Signet location develops and manufactures measurement and control products for process automation.

These products measure flow and pipe media properties, providing read outs and control functionality. All manufacturing of the sensor technology is based in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Modern work instructions

Recognising the need to move to a modern work instruction platform, Georg Fischer Signet were a little wary after a previous attempt. “We had unique challenges in our work instructions, having had a legacy platform that had limitations on what data it could support. We could not add images or video due to the data size and the architecture was no longer supported, so we had no way to make changes.

“We started to introduce a new system a number of years ago. This was supposed to be the move forward, but the format was not liked, and the operators said that the system was not helpful. It was a very fixed format that limited how we could present the work instructions.

“We wanted to move to a single platform, but due to the feedback of the second system, we paused, and ended up with two,” explained Nick.

One of the engineers at the company found AssemblyX in 2017 and following a demo they decided to start with AssemblyX Pro. AssemblyX Pro provides an easy-to-use authoring tool that enables flexibility and supports our desire to have standardised processes and saves our team significant time in authoring or updating work instructions.

work instruction software“60% of our work instructions are now on AssemblyX. Progress is slow because product launches take priority,
but we are pushing forward, as our engineers and technicians have to deal with a large number of product variations. AssemblyX makes managing these much simpler.

“We have 800+ SKUs which are subject to frequent changes. As we have customers across all regions, we have to adhere to certain localised or legislative requirements. Yet, about 20 SKUs represent 80% of our revenue, but we also have a vast number of low volume products to produce. This adds complexity to our production lines.

“Additionally, some products require complex production processes, so AssemblyX is extremely helpful for the production cells. It provides a very specific method sheet and documentation to support the build,” explained Nick.

“AssemblyX eliminates wasted time. Anyone can use the tool, so we are not relying entirely on engineering to make updates. You simply revise, following a document control workflow and share directly.”

Customised, simplified process

The usability hurdles of previous systems have been eradicated with AssemblyX. “We can tailor the look and feel of our templates with AssemblyX, which is great. We have managed to take the parts that the operators liked from the legacy system and recreate these in AssemblyX, but in a better, more modern system.

“It has been very important that the production teams understood the work instructions and like them. If they consider them not to be in a good format, they do not follow them, and steps are skipped. However, we have had full buy-in from the production managers and operators using AssemblyX,” said Nick.

AssemblyX enables authors to pick templates that cater for their requirements. “The authors design the work instructions, adding supporting documentation, and release these to production. The team like the clear and flexible layouts in AssemblyX, saying it is easy-to- follow,” added Nick.

“The advantages of having AssemblyX have been clear. We have removed outdated systems and simplified onto one incredibly easy-to-use tool. The usability of the system is very good and is continually being enhanced. And we are saving significant time in authoring and updating work instructions.”

Georg Fischer Signet’s aim is to have a paperless shop floor. They have been concentrating on the first step, to “…have all work instructions on AssemblyX by the end of 2019. Our aim is to then go on screen to improve the quality and the efficiency of managing work instructions. We are also very interested in the AssemblyX DMES Module – the use of embedded data capture and a digital traveller, linking electronic work instructions to production orders, then linking this into SAP,” added Nick.

“One of the biggest benefits of moving to AssemblyX has been the partnership between us and the AssemblyX team. The co- operation and support from the team is excellent.”


For more information about AssemblyX, please get in touch.

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factory shop floor assembly line transformation paperless

Digital Transformation of the Shop Floor is Well Overdue

So, let’s start with a few frank observations. Firstly, don’t waste time thinking your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) vendor can solve critical business issues with a bastardisation of their finance, procurement, or planning system.

I simply do not understand. Manufacturers do not think twice about investing in ERP, Customer Relationship Management, Computer Aided Design, Product Lifecycle Management, Machine tools, the list goes on…

Yet, you give your operators on the shop floor, pieces of paper in a plastic wallet, or at best a very large complex PDF to try and navigate the build process. What the heck?!

Should a 2019 shop floor look like this?

You invested significant amounts to find new opportunities for your products, but your processes bear no resemblance to the expected efficiency and productivity of today.

Production and manufacturing engineers and management are asked to use Word, Excel or PowerPoint to create a build standard (work instructions) to assemble products. They must build them to a specification and test, as well as manage the governance and quality processes; all with pieces of paper or a set of disparate documents, such as PDF, Excels, etc.

Ask your finance director or CEO to use paper to manage the finances of the business. I can probably tell you what the answer will be, but it’s not appropriate to document the response here!

Significant investments have been made in complex systems, such as SAP, Oracle, Infor, Epicore, JD Edwards, and SolidWorks amongst others, to manage business and engineering requirements. Yet, ERP or design and product lifecycle management vendors do not solve the critical business issues that surround the use of paper or Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the shop floor.

If this resonates and you are wondering how to transform your shop floor, let me share a couple of other points.

Transition from paper or PDF based work instructions

Implementing a paperless work instruction solution can be very straightforward if you focus on the critical business issues. Our customers were experiencing a range of critical business issues:

• The use of paper PDF-based work instructions had a direct impact on quality.
• Build standards / work instructions were not being followed due to the cumbersome management and use of paper or very large PDF documents.
• Quality thresholds and confirmations to enforce accountability for the operators was non-existent in the build process.
• Data collection was in disparate places, or paper-based and not easily accessible.
• Reporting of production performance, build and quality data was time-consuming and not real-time.
• Issues in production was managed in yet another Excel spreadsheet.

Focus on these critical business issues must be the priority. Integration for integration-sake should come later once business results have been achieved.

The good news is gone are the days of ERP-type implementation schedules, resource requirements and costs. The new world is app-based, and agility is a given. Going from paper or PDF-based work instructions to an electronic work instruction process can happen quickly, in some cases in a matter of days.

Which work instructions solution is right for your business?

There are a few key considerations to support the selection of a solution partner.

Remember you are not just replacing Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Take the opportunity to consider the end-to-end process, as new solutions enable a concept of a ‘Digital Traveller’ that enhance the ERP and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES).

Check and validate how your processes can be replaced or updated. Identify any new opportunities that may arise from the transition. Migrating to a data driven process is a major change from a document-based process, so you will need to ensure you pick the runners in production and then transition over time. Supply chain and sub-contract manufacturing can also be pulled in to your quality and build processes.

Consider the ergonomic implications as input devices, such as scanners, screens and layouts for operators, will be required for different configurations, depending on the type of work being completed.

A significant point, how do you manage your product variants from a work instruction perspective? For example, how will the system manage many 100s or 1000s of variants? Will you need to generate each variant separately or does the system support variance?

If you have variance in your products, you will need variance to be supported, otherwise you will need an army of production engineers creating a separate work instruction for each variance. Modern systems should be able to hold characteristics which dynamically generate the work instruction.

Equally important, ensure that you understand how quality data is defined, managed and captured in the build process.

Finally, updates to content. How does the system enable fast updates whilst maintaining the document control processes? Change is constant, so you need to see how change is implemented.

As an engineer and advocate of digital, I believe there is a fantastic opportunity for manufacturers to invest in the shop floor. This advances their own, as well as the industry’s productivity. Significantly, it engages shop floor operators, an undervalued point, whom given the opportunity will enhance quality and provide feedback. This ultimately affects the bottom line and enhancing your brand, whatever you manufacture!

Case study: ProPhotonix

ProPhotonix saves significant administrative time by implementing AssemblyX paperless work instruction software

 “The simplicity of AssemblyX is brilliant and great customer service.”

Previously using a laborious work instructions process, LED and laser manufacturer ProPhotonix moved to AssemblyX, to find they saved 20 minutes a day on administrative tasks alone.

Manual work instruction complexity

ProPhotonix manufacturers optimum LED or laser solutions for global customers across a variety of sectors – industrial, medical, and scientific equipment manufacturers. Headquartered in Boston, US the firm has two manufacturing subsidiaries in Cork, Ireland and Stansted, UK.

The company previously used Microsoft Office to create and track all work documents. “We used Excel as a control system, which contained a list of all the work instructions with a hyperlink to each instruction,” explained Zita Jeske, Quality assurance engineer, ProPhotonix.

“Often users were uncomfortable and apprehensive about using Excel. And, updating all these documents was a very manual process – it took a significant amount of time.”

“Version control was challenging because when network connectivity to the server was lost, a local version was saved to the user’s desktop. This meant it was disconnected to the central document, so extra steps had to be taken to ensure workers were always using the latest work instructions.”

ProPhotonix locked down all work instructions to be read-only, but occasionally workers navigated around this and changed links or made notes, which meant it was not consistent with the original. “Ensuring compliance was a laborious task. Version control and history of the document was difficult to manage. If a change was required, we often had to hunt down any paper documents, finding them on people’s desks,” commented Gary Cunningham, NPI Lead,Prophotonix.

Paper-free, digital environment

The goal for ProPhotonix was to continue to reduce paper from its operations. Although using a digital-based system, many users printed out instructions. Gary explained: “we wanted to ensure that we had robust systems, so we did not make mistakes. Part of this was removing the paper lingering in files that were no longer applicable.

“We looked at a number of solutions and settled on AssemblyX because of its usability and cost. Some of the systems on the market are incredibly expensive and overly complicated.”

AssemblyX is now in use on a couple of ProPhotonix product lines and they intend to roll it out across all operations. Senior management havebought into the system, as they can see the impact it is making across the business.

“The digital screens save time and energy, engineering time is reduced, and the system ensures that the right document is being used. In AssemblyX, documents cannot be altered, and the user interface is much easier, improving efficiencies,” said Gary.

Controlled compliance and creation

AssemblyX has helped ProPhotonix tackle quality challenges, ensuring that old documents are not used, and all work instructions are accessed from one single location. Trackable version control has significantly reduced man-hoursfocused on administration tasks.

“20 minutes per day has been saved in administration – copy/pasting, tracking documents, getting sign off…AssemblyX has enabled us to create work instruction documentation much more quickly.”

“The work instructions can be standardizedfor certain process, so things like health and safety are automatically populated. The system only allows you to input one point per step, so it is concise and clear,” added Zita.

“Yet from a compliance perspective,the biggest benefit is control, control, control…”

ProPhotonix staff have provided good feedback on the new system and find it easy-to-use. “We are excited by the modules coming up in AssemblyX digital for manufacturingexecution and we are looking forward to growing together,” finally added Gary.


For more information about AssemblyX, please get in touch.

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Stegia case study

Case study: Stegia

Stegia introduces efficient scalable manufacturing with AssemblyX

Faced with increasing complications of scaling assembly line operations using paper-based work instructions, Swedish firm Stegia has introduced digital manufacturing instructions with the implementation of AssemblyX.

Cluttered paper processes

Manufacturing electromechanical motors used in a range of products from door locks to cash handling, Stegia has manufacturing facilities in Sweden and China. However, Stegia’s paper-based system for manufacturing its innovative technology products was causing complications.

“We had a very manual process and version control was challenging,” explained Mats Sandvik, Lead Electronic Engineer. “The assembly instructions for each product would be printed out and we had to ensure it was stored in the correct place.

“Paper caused some clutter and we did not have a consistent approach to how our instructions were put together; created in a mix of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Also, the images were not always clear, and the documents used different sized text.”

Employees were unable to efficiently build, added Production Manager Mathias Dragovski: “The paper instructions used to produce a lot of questions from employees, so the line manager was required to be there to support production, answering the flow of ambiguities. There was always the risk that everyone could interpret the instructions slightly differently, so we needed to transform our operations.”

Scaling delivery

Stegia’s smaller manufacturing lines are based in Västerås, Sweden, and higher-volume assembly is located in Shanghai, China. Stegia recognised that they required a system that would allow production to scale. “Our lines are flexible with employees working an occasional week, and some on a one day a month, or two days a week basis,” said Mats.

“When we looked for a new system, we needed one that enabled our workers to pick up where they left off. We did an online search for digital work instructions and AssemblyX was at the top of the list.”

AssemblyX was implemented in 2017 and is currently in use on two product lines, but Stegia intends to expand across its operations. Mathias explained: “The benefits of using the AssemblyX system for production has been clear.



“It is much easier for the operators to follow each task.
The instructions are clear, with images to underpin the instructions, so there is no ambiguity. We also embed video to record more tricky assembly steps. And training new staff is much easier too, especially with the use of touch screens.”

“AssemblyX enables us to be confident that we have the latest version of the work instructions on the shop floor. Version control processes are in place and any amendments can be pushed out quickly.

“If we get questions from an employee, we can go back into the procedure and adjust it to clarify the steps, releasing a new version instantly. This allows us to manage risks and work more efficiently,” commented Mathias.


Impressed customers

AssemblyX has enabled customer audits to go more smoothly. “Many customers are impressed with the AssemblyX system. It makes us look much more professional than the previous binders full of paper,” commented Mats.




“Our paper-based system caused confusion and limited our shop floor productivity. With a clearer set of instructions in AssemblyX, not so many questions are asked of the managers, freeing up their time to work on other tasks.”

“We look forward to additional functionality in AssemblyX, such as collecting data which will enable us to have insightful visibility of our operations,” added Mats.

AssemblyX has enabled Stegia to benefit from improved document control and audit, electronic work instruction standardisation, and the ability to quickly adjust instruction versions, creating clear procedures whilst improving manager productivity.

In addition, Stegia customers are impressed when they see AssemblyX on the production line.


For more information about AssemblyX, please get in touch.

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Reduce shop floor running costs

Case study: Chassis Plans

Chassis Plans improves quality scores and reduces shop floor running costs with AssemblyX

Manufacturing a multitude of custom configurations for its customer base, Chassis Plans follows extensive work procedures to ensure specific product versions are created exactly the same, time after time.

Since installing the specialist digital manufacturing execution platform AssemblyX, Chassis Plans has revolutionised the production line, increasing productivity and providing robust, detailed assembly procedures to ensure version control.

Configuration complexity for Chassis Plans shop floor

California-based Chassis Plans creates ruggedised computers and LCD displays for industrial, manufacturing and military customers, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, BAE Systems, and L3 Communications. Each customer has its own tailored designs with a vast array of custom configurations, which creates complex manufacturing operations.

An ISO 9001:2008 accredited company, Chassis Plans is committed to ensuring the highest quality controls are in place. Steve Travis, Chief Operating Officer for Chassis Plans, commented: “We have six to eight different versions of products being created at any one time. Each must adhere to strict set of work instructions and ensure the correct materials are being used.”

Digital instructions for rugged productivity

The company looked to AssemblyX, a solution that simplifies the process to author and control electronic work instructions, which can be delivered digitally to the shop floor. Streamlining operations for the execution and management of production, AssemblyX enhances quality, control and operational efficiency.

For Chassis Plans, replacing the previous paper-based process was critical to help build efficiency and support quality control process.

Steve explained: “Installing AssemblyX into our manufacturing has enabled us to have a robust set of procedures in place, so even if we build a product three years from now, we have the ability to build the exact same product.

“AssemblyX gives us insurances and enables us to be more efficient and maximise productivity. For example, we used to have another person standing watching to ensure that all instructions were followed exactly and nothing was overlooked. AssemblyX has eliminated this need, allowing us to expand our output,” added Steve.

Chassis Plans

Impressive praise for efficiencies

The intuitive AssemblyX software was a hit for both Chassis Plans employees and customers, explained Steve: “Staff found the system very easy-to-use and quickly transferred to the new way of working. Authors are able to create and update documents in less than half the time compared to the previous system.

“Shop floor users who were particularly resistant to change, proactively praised AssemblyX and have quickly adopted the new methods of working. In fact, they are helping us to capture tribal knowledge into very detailed and informative instructions.

“AssemblyX has helped to reduce the learning curve for new recruits, meaning we can bring in temps when needed, so resource matches demand. We have also received great feedback from our customers, as many require us to fulfil audits in military markets,” added Steve.

Chassis Plans shop floor

Improved quality scoring and opportunities to win more business

“Auditors have been incredibly impressed by our detailed procedures and extensive version controls, right down to the ‘Bill of Material’. In fact, because our high audit scores are inserted into vendors’ databases, this has meant we have been identified for other contracts and have the potential to win new business.”

AssemblyX has enabled Chassis Plans to raise its credibility and reputation from ensuring better controls across the assembly process, reducing operational costs and increasing productivity.

For more information about AssemblyX, please get in touch.

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