Developing customer manuals–my new career stop–is a new experience for me, but in reality it is no different than what I did for so many years in the advanced materials world. I wrote operating procedures for processing equipment my organizations used to make materials. I knew the intent of the procedures I wrote: to enable workers to successfully operate equipment. It is this experience that informed my approach to operator manuals.
And this is where I found myself, as noted in the last post, asking, “what is it our organization is trying to accomplish through operations manual development?”
If the intent is to crank out manuals simply because customers of multi-million dollar capital equipment expect manuals, it really doesn’t matter what the manual contains. But if the manual is intended to make our customers competent users of the system, achieving the production end for which the system was purchased, then the structure, flow and most importantly content of the manual must reflect its purpose.
As a result, the manuals must facilitate learning. In essence, the system could be considered a “department,” and the manual is part of that department’s training program.
In the next post, I will discuss how the manual is structured to make the”department” function.