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Author's profile photo Manoel Costa

Enhancing Manufacturing Operations with Relevant Work Instructions: A Digital Approach


With technological advancements, businesses now more then ever have the opportunity to leverage digital tools to support workers in their tasks, reduce errors, and optimize processes.

To support that, SAP Digital Manufacturing Work Instructions capability provides a comprehensive solution for managing and displaying relevant digital work instructions to operators during manufacturing processes in a completely paperless way.

In this blog post, I will explore how work instructions can enhance worker safety, reduce defects and rework, and ultimately streamline manufacturing processes. Additionally, we will discuss how SAP Digital Manufacturing Work Instructions capability can support these improvements and contribute to  safer and more efficient operations.

The Power of Work Instructions

Work instructions play a crucial role in ensuring quality, safety, and efficiency in manufacturing processes. They provide clear guidance on how to perform specific tasks, preventing mistakes and reducing the potential for defects.

For example, consider an assembly operation that involves the precise placement of components to create a complex product. Without clear work instructions, operators might misinterpret the assembly sequence or install components incorrectly, leading to defects in the final product.

By providing workers with detailed work instructions that include step-by-step guidance, images, and diagrams, businesses can significantly reduce the likelihood of errors during the assembly process. This, in turn, minimizes the occurrence of defects, ensures higher product quality, and ultimately saves time and resources spent on rework and corrective actions.

3D Work Instructions 

Incorporating 3D work instructions with animations can significantly enhance workers understanding of the tasks at hand. By providing a helpful visual aid, these instructions greatly reduce ambiguity and help ensure clarity in the manufacturing process.

They provide workers with a dynamic and interactive visual representation of the assembly process, enabling them to better understand how various components fit together.

By incorporating 3D models into work instructions, operators can interact with the model by zooming, panning, and rotating the view to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the assembly process.

Another the key advantage of 3D work instructions is the ability to hide and show specific parts within the model. This feature allows operators to focus on specific areas of the assembly, removing any obstructions that may prevent their understanding of the process. For example, an operator may need to install a component that is located deep within the assembly. By hiding the outer layers of the model, the operator can clearly see the exact location and orientation in which the component should be installed, preventing errors and ensuring precise assembly.

Furthermore, 3D work instructions can include step-by-step animations that guide workers through the assembly process. These animations can visually demonstrate the correct sequence of steps, providing a clearer understanding of how components interact and fit together. This level of detail helps reduce the potential for mistakes, ultimately leading to improved product quality and reduced rework.

The Paperless Digital Approach

Embracing a digital approach for work instructions is not only an environmentally friendly choice but also a strategic move that brings several benefits to manufacturing operations.

By transitioning from traditional paper-based instructions to a paperless system, businesses can increase efficiency, improve communication, and reduce the risk of errors. Digital work instructions are easily accessible, updatable, and shareable, ensuring that operators always have the most accurate and up-to-date information at their fingertips.

Additionally, digital work instructions can be easily integrated with other systems and technologies, such as augmented reality and 3D animations, to provide a more interactive and immersive experience for workers.

Adopting a paperless strategy for work instructions can lead to enhanced manufacturing operations, increased productivity, and a more sustainable future for the industry.

SAP Digital Manufacturing Work Instruction Capabilities

SAP Digital Manufacturing Work Instructions offers a comprehensive suite of features designed to streamline the management and integration of work instructions into the manufacturing process.

Some key capabilities include:

  1. Integration with SAP ERP: Seamlessly transfer document info records from SAP ERP to create work instructions in SAP Digital Manufacturing for execution.
  2. Manage Work Instructions: Find, create, edit, and delete work instructions, as well as associate them with various objects such as materials, operation activities, routings, and orders.
  3. Work Instruction List and Viewer plugins: View and display multiple types of work instructions in POD (Production Operator Dashboard).
  4. Assignment: Assign work instructions to materials, operation activities, resources, routings, orders, or work centers to ensure they are accessible from the POD.
  5. Independent Mode: Launch the Work Instruction Viewer plugin in a popup in the POD for improved navigation through different work instructions.


Manage Work Instructions app

In SAP Digital Manufacturing, the supported file formats for work instructions include the following:

  1. GIF
  2. JPEG (including .jpg, .jpe, .jif, .jfif, and .jfi)
  3. PNG
  4. VDS (for 3D visualizations)
  5. PDF

These formats can be displayed in the Work Instruction Viewer within the SAP Digital Manufacturing environment.

Note that for mobile devices, the PDF document may not be displayed directly; instead, a download button is visible to download and open the PDF document.

Additionally, other file formats can be uploaded, but they will be automatically opened in a new window, as they cannot be displayed in the Work Instruction Viewer.


In conclusion, SAP Digital Manufacturing paperless Work Instructions capability offer a powerful solution for businesses looking to improve their manufacturing processes, reduce errors, and ensure worker safety. By providing clear, detailed guidance through electronic documents, and 3D animations, work instructions can significantly reduce rework, increase margins, and streamline operations.

Experiencing SAP Digital Manufacturing

You can have a glimpse and experience several aspects of SAP Digital Manufacturing via the Interactive Value Journeys below:

Discrete within SAP Digital Manufacturing and S/4HANA Cloud
Process Industry within SAP Digital Manufacturing and S/4HANA Cloud
Tool Management within SAP Digital Manufacturing
Resource Orchestration within SAP Digital Manufacturing
Production Process Design within SAP Digital Manufacturing
Shop Floor Orchestration with SAP Digital Manufacturing
Time Tracking within SAP Digital Manufacturing
SAP Digital Manufacturing for Insights
Nonconformances Processes within SAP Digital Manufacturing


Do you like this post? Please let me know in the comments section what you think. Any feedback is highly appreciated.

Or, if you have any questions, please check SAP Community Q&A Area, or comment down below.


Manoel Costa

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      Author's profile photo Thomas Baeten
      Thomas Baeten

      Hello Manoel,

      Very powerfull tool!

      Can we already use this in SAP DMC version 2023.03?

      Can you just add a *VDS file directly to the work instructions?

      What software do you recommend to create these *VDS views?

      Does it show the 3D view directly in the POD using the "Workinstruction viewer"?

      Thank you for the amazing products!

      Author's profile photo Manoel Costa
      Manoel Costa
      Blog Post Author

      Very powerfull indeed, Thomas! Yes, you can use it already, you can add .vds 3d files directly which can be seen in POD using Work Instruction plugins, as shown in the images I attached to the blog post above.



      Author's profile photo Andreas Madlencnik
      Andreas Madlencnik

      Hi Manoel,

      thank you for this interesting and helpful blog-post on this beautiful topic! Let me add the information, that we as SAP do not only support the consumption and, let us say, the last mile to it, but also about creating/editing Digital Work Instructions, based on meta-data and 2D/3D data we e.g. take care about in the product engineering phase.

      We use for this our on Premise solution Visual Enterprise where already in place, or in general our Public Cloud solution SAP Enterprise Product Development (EPD) for Visualization.

      And if expanding the consideration to the full product lifecycle at the very beginning, we as SAP also offer dedicated PDM/PLM solutions, such as SAP Engineering Control Center and SAP Teamcenter.

      Hence, we as SAP have the power to cover the full end2end flow for work instructions, from the very first idea, via the handover process between product development and manufacturing (including work instruction authoring) till our MES solution SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud where e.g. the work instructions are consumed via operators, as very well described by you.

      Best regards Andreas

      Author's profile photo Manoel Costa
      Manoel Costa
      Blog Post Author

      Great insights, Andreas.

      Thanks for your contribution!

      Br, Manoel