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In addition, VKS has many other features that separate it
from competitors’ products.
It is a cloud-based system, which means it can be accessed with any computer or tablet through the Internet.
Users don’t need to download software on their computing devices to access the work instructions that have been
prepared with the software. All programs are stored on
secure servers located miles away from the Chateauguay
VKS also has a form-based communication tool that al-
lows it to enhance the interactivity between the work in-
structions and the user. Within these visual work instruc-
tions, a form can appear to ask the operator a question, to
send a notification, or have the operator input information.
For example, CMP employees in the finishing department are recording variables such as paint thickness, gloss,
and production time on these forms as they work on high-quality external doors for a transportation project. As the
information is recorded, it is simultaneously sent to the
customers as well.
;is approach is useful in reminding workers that following production steps is critical.
“We could have forms appear later
[in a project] asking them, ‘Are you
following the instructions? Have you
done this? Have you done that?’ Zim-
mermann said. “And they have to
confirm and actually save the form,
which gets stored in the reporting
section of the software. We have
physical evidence that the operator
is actually following the work instruc-
tions in the process.”
“;at’s one of the main things that
sets VKS apart from many competing
solutions. You can give your employ-
ees and operators work instructions,
but who’s to say they’re actually look-
ing at them?” O’Reilly said.
Because all of this production information is permanently archived
and anyone can access it at any time,
VKS can be used to generate reports
to provide a key glance into manufacturing operations. A manager can call
up a dashboard type of user interface
through the software and can review
key performance indicators. On a
macro level, the manager can tell if a
department is exceeding the expected time scheduled for a certain fabricating operation. On a micro level,
a manager can drill down to see if an
operator is not producing parts at an
To create these work instructions,
Zimmermann said that the software’s
“editor” mode is designed to be as intuitive as possible. ;e creator of the
work instructions is presented with a
template with prompts such as “Add
text” or “Upload image.” Arrows can
be added easily to draw attention to
something in the photograph.
He added that editors of visual
work instructions within the CMP
family come from all types of backgrounds. In Mexico, engineers build
the instructions. In Chateauguay, an
employee with an English literature
degree and a certified welder are
among the people creating visual
;e focus right now for the VKS
team is manufacturing, but O’Reilly
said the product makes sense for
other industries where step-by-step
procedural guidance might be useful. ;e company planned to unveil
its knowledge-sharing tool to metal
fabricators at FABTECH® in late November in Chicago.
Editor-in-Chief Dan Davis can be
reached at email@example.com.
Visual Knowledge Share Ltd., 1241
Cascades St., Chateauguay, QC J6J
4Z2, Canada, 855-201-4656, www.