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What is a Visual Method Sheet?

A Visual Method Sheet (VMS) are minimal written instructions in sequential steps that describe work to be done with electronic images to show or demonstrate how work is to be carried out. Electronic images are combined with a written instruction in a consistent format for easy and rapid comprehension. The results have been extraordinary. Companies have witnessed higher quality and lower error rates in the building of their products

Many workers speak English as a second language and visual documentation can overcome problems encountered when using English-language text instructions. More pictures with fewer words seems to be a great answer to language problems. But why do pictures increase quality and comprehension? Brain scientists at Oxford University's Department of Experimental Psychology were asked, "How do visual instructions influence the motor system?" Their reply was, "We saw direct correlation of visual cues to the motor skills responses" In other words, using visual aids combined with instructions can produce consistency in motor skills.

Manufacturers can put those findings to use by including visual cues with work instructions in the factor4. Over the last several years, many consultants and manufacturers have begun to use visual images with assembly instructions. Called operational method sheets (OMS) or visual method sheets (VMS), they are produced by combining traditional work instructions with electronic images to increase the understanding of work instructions on the factory floor.

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