Manual of Operations: Key for Knowledge Management

The Importance of Having a Manual

MANUAL OF OPERATIONS: IMPORTANCE

In our everyday life, we have got on hold of a manual, with or without taking notice. Whether it is how to install a software or how to use our mobile phones or how to run a business, manuals have been a part of our lives.

For startups, you might be wondering whether having a manual is necessary or how to make one. Let me inform you that having a manual is a big step in growing your business. Know that, not many documents are as important as a manual for any type of business.

Just for example, you’ve bought the latest Iphone 6, there was a manual on how to use this model. Like in business, you need to have a manual on how to operate the business, how to make the product, how to give good customer service, how to make a balance sheet, and so on.

In business, the Manual of Operations relay the standards and procedures of the company.

It is a useful guide for the company to set the standards of the various operations within different departments.

Here, we will give you an overview of the different types of manuals. There are a variety of manuals depending on the industry or purpose.

Classifications of Manual

1. Product Manual
This is also called the “Instruction manual”. It is a manual that instructs users how to use the product.

2. Installation Manual
This is a manual on how to set- up or install the product.

3. Troubleshoot Manual
A type of manual used to fix parts of the product.

4. User Manuals
A type of manual that focuses on different kinds of users- administrators, maintenance personnel, beginners, managers, or students

5. Operations Manual
This is the manual for operations of the company or businesses. It is a set of standards and procedures for operations, work standards, and policies of the company.

6. Crisis Management Manual
A manual on how to respond to crisis or tragedies such as earthquake, fire, storms, tsunami, or violence in the work premises.

7. Audit Manual
This type of manual is a guide on how to do or make finance reports in relations to accounting and auditing matters.

Why do we need a Manual?

Manuals are universal documents that can be understood by ordinary people. It explains certain operations and processes of different departments. With a Manual, company can have a standard for its operations. Then, why do we need Manuals?

Avoid Information Gap
Manual gives consistency to the company. It gives us instructions and guidelines on how to do a certain thing or job. For example, when an employee is promoted to managerial position, manuals gives him/her the overview of the roles and responsibilities of that position.

Launching of new products or services
When you make a new product or service, you need to provide a Manual that contains the how-to’s, components, functionality, and processes.

Valued Customers
For customers to gain information about the product. And for consumers to understand the product well and how to get the utmost benefits from the product.

Valuable Tool
Manual is a valuable tool for understanding technical knowledge in fields such as law, construction, and finance. It is especially important for consumer electronics products, medical equipment, construction machinery, computer and its accessories.

Benefits of Formulating a Manual

In the process of making a manual, information in different departments of the company will be collected and organized. It will also make us aware of the different functions, processes, rules, and operations of the company and the interplay and collaboration between different departments.

The advantages of having of Manual is as follows:

1. Reduced Time and Cost to Productivity
We can improve the quality of our products and services. There will be lesser complaints and clarifications regarding how to use or how to install our products.

2. Shared Information
We can share knowledge and wisdom which are compounded before to only one person or department. For new employees, this will also reduce the time for their training since the Manual would give them the standards and procedures they need to abide by. It will also give the employees a general overview of how the company operates and their respective roles and responsibilities.

3. Reduce and Minimize risks (Risk hedge)
Businesses can avoid having misconceptions or misunderstandings; Having a Manual sets the rules, guidelines and policies of the company operations.
Manual also set the standards for the company to ensure profitability and growth.

4. Maximize potentials
Manuals are universal to the company. For example, when a business outsource certain functions, a Manual provides consistency and quality assurance. Referring to a Manual increases the productivity and profitability of the company

5. Avoid “Knowledge trap”
Having a manual avoids “knowledge traps”. This means information or processes that is only known to one specialist or experts in that field. Worst case scenario in any company is having only one person who knows this knowledge or skill and is capable in doing that particular role or job.

Thus, manuals are an essential tool to avoid knowledge traps. Since Manuals explains in layman terms, any technical data or information of that specific department or field of work, which can be understood by ordinary people. Having said this, manual can relays knowledge and information to staff, thus, improving work performance and productivity.

Relation of Company Resource and Manual

How to make a Manual
As the business grows, you need to revise or update the manual every now and then. Manual is a key for Knowledge Management at all levels, and improve company performance.

To enable access of the Manual, make use of Cloud services where everyone can access specific manuals anywhere, anytime.

Technical Writer / Contributor
Have been working as a Technical Writer for 17 years, creating more than 200 instruction manuals for products and services offered by business-to-consumer companies, including consumer electronics, motorcycles, automobiles, construction equipment, video game consoles, and medical devices. Currently working as a freelance technical writer to create various instruction manuals, as an Information Architect (“Joho Oyakata” in Japanese) to teach small and medium-sized businesses how to write instruction manuals, and as a GoogleApps deployment specialist to improve operational efficiency and facilitate collaboration among business groups by providing communication tools.

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