Pictures solidify messages.  Science tells us that we forget most of what we read.  (This doesn’t speak well to what you might remember about this blog, so be sure to come back and read it again.)  We remember context.  That could be the place you were when something happened.  Smells.  Visual elements of the world around you.  The writing on the page. 

The last time that you went to a bookstore (you have been to one recently, yes?), do you remember picking up a book because you liked its cover?  Maybe a magazine’s front picture drew you in?  These are images that recalled something in your mind.  They caused you to have an emotion which made you lean in.  If you opened the book, do you remember liking the text, the way it looked on the page?  Or not?

These emotions related to what you see help you to remember the content as well.  Without a connection between seeing something and an emotion, chances of you remembering it shrink drastically.  Studies (and Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience) show that 10% of people remember what they read but 90% of what they do. 

You know that we relate everything to manufacturing in this blog – it’s where we live.  So how does good old Edgar (whose theory has been around since the 1960’s by the way) impact you?  How could you possibly get your workforce to remember things using emotion?

Paper's Not Enough

First, paper in manufacturing is not enough.  Even an ERP, with a routing list and a simple log-in by badge scan won’t work if you absolutely want to make sure that work is getting done properly.   Getting work done right is no longer about just regulatory compliance; in the age of next-day shipping and buy-it-in-the-cloud, you have to be right just to get the job.  Or keep it.

Written instructions also won’t get you there.  They are a key component of the work, yet I’ll bet no one’s submitting your work instructions for a Pulitzer.  They also leave little to the imagination.  Color works.  Pictures increase someone’s ability to relate and remember.  Having just a moment of thought on what they see automatically stimulates someone’s retention of the data.  And remembering what needs to be done increases its chances of being done properly. 

Dynamic Build Information for Your Shop

A software tool that provides build information in multiple formats naturally is the only way to get the work done right, on-time and in-budget.  Provide written instructions, video content, places for people to review detailed drawings and interact with the model before building.  If that’s too much information for what you make, just give them a single annotated picture with minimal instructions.  Ask for input as they build.  Give your entire team a place to communicate with each other about the work being done without opening Outlook and surfing the web.  Make it a natural visual process rather than a test of understanding.

It’s the only way that people will remember what to do and do it right.  You have people on your staff that remember what they see better than what they’ve heard, so the daily huddle isn’t where they get their task list.  You have operators that prefer a drawing or illustrated photo of the finished good to a written statement of work.  Whatever your challenge, Paperless Manufacturing provides the platform.

Researching your next shop floor solution? Start with the fundamentals: 
What the Size of Your Shop Says About Your Production Needs


How Is It All Connected?

In an article in the February 19th online edition of Inc. Magazine, Bill Gates says you need “a mental schematic of the big picture – a sense of how all (the) bits of knowledge fit together” to make information stick.  Elon Musk, in the same article, sees the need to create a mental “tree” of information to know what it means and remember it – see how the branches work off the trunk.  Both billionaires use imagery to hook learning.

How are you ensuring that you reach 100% of the people that work for you in manufacturing?  Multi-media engineering instructions solidify results.  While you can always tell your Operators what needs to be done, now and in the future, showing them will increase productivity and quality, sometimes drastically.  We see productivity increases of up to 40% among our users in multi-media presentation space.  Why not see if presenting a picture, an image or images of what your workforce needs to build drives more energetic and thorough work in your shop? 

Because Science and the data says it just might. 

Next Steps

Don’t put your company at risk by leaving the keys to your data in the wrong hands. Work with the CIMx Experts that understand security is not a nice to have; it’s critical to your success.

To learn more about protecting your shop and keeping production on track, visit