Importance of Visual Elements in Workflows

​Importance of Visual Elements in Workflows

Why is it that much of business communication and decision-making is still essentially the exchange of written and spoken words?

Certainly, words can have much more granular meaning and can pose questions and positions that are difficult to convey with pictures, but the combination of words and images can be both powerful and effective, and in a business sense more efficient.  Let's explore the benefits of visual elements in engineering workflows.

 

 

Pictures Were Hard, Not Now

 

Understandably, including pictures or video in the decision-making process was difficult, both from an acquisition and a distribution standpoint, in prior years. Even when we had a camera, getting multiple versions to appropriate people was not easy. But the world has changed and everyone, and I mean everyone, carries a camera on them and knows how to use it. At no cost, we can get pictures of work sites, machinery on the floor, buildings and landscapes, assemblies and parts, customers and vendors and so much more.

Better yet, capturing audio and video is just as easy. Adding sound and movement to our pictures adds another level of communication. Distribution of pictures and video is similarly as easy. Attaching pictures and audio to emails and texts is useful. But even better, attaching these files to actual drawings and job instructions is more helpful.

CAD Drawing Markup

Digital CAD Drawing Markup

Collaborate over drawing files and documents simultaneously.

 

Benefits of visual elements in engineering workflows

 

Many engineering workflows, if not most, include drawings, operating manuals, process charts, routers, approval sheets, etc. These document-centric workflows can all benefit from the addition of photos, video and audio. The benefits of visual elements in engineering workflows include:

  • Drawings are two dimensional and identifying exact locations and other extenuating circumstances, like hanging lights or turning radii, is hard to communicate; even 3D models are only as good as the granularity of the drawings and the ability to represent the model.
  • An arrow pointing to a part, area, issue of concern, etc. is not as definitive as one that includes an audio or video explanation.
  • Trying to describe or define an issue or problem in words is not easy – trying to explain how to fix a problem or what steps need to be taken next is even harder. A picture or video can be clear and explicit.

 

  • Spoken words are less likely to be misinterpreted than written words (experts note that intonation, inflection, and even body language add information in any communication).
  • Adding color and shading to a message can offer improved insight and give better visual clues to changes being questioned or requested.
  • Audio and video audit trails, in addition to text-based audit trails, create full depictions of what occurred and for what reasons.

In general, the addition of photos, video, and audio to words improves the message and ultimately the decision-making process. The costs, which were significantly higher even just 10 years ago, are no longer an obstacle.

 

 

So why are we not utilizing them

 

Surprisingly, very few organizations have embraced the inclusion of photos, video, and audio into their key engineering workflows, excluding printed pictures of parts, assemblies, buildings, roadways, etc. that have been around for a while. However, high resolution picture files, video files, and audio files, however, require viewing applications that many organizations just haven’t purchased or supplied to their employees. Though standard operating systems, such as Windows and Mac, now provide simplistic software for viewing.

More elaborate engineering workflow related applications, however, have not been able to handle these file types and have purposely not including these options. Add to this that individuals did not have easy photo and audio capabilities at their disposal until five to eight years ago and you understand why these media have been orphaned.

 

Now is the time to add media files

 

A good portion of today’s workforce have grown up with smartphones and tablets and are not only familiar with taking pictures and video but prefer these media to the written word (e.g., look at the success and usage of Youtube for everything from how-tos, to entertainment, to political expression). Many operations systems are now taking advantage of this, permitting users to upload, tag, and distribute visual and audio media.

Given that the majority of the photos and video are being taken by tablets and smartphones this requires the workflow applications to provide mobile device access (which many vendors are just now developing). But more than just a friendly mobile app, the system should adequately integrate the device’s camera and audio recorder. This means allowing users to initiate and save photos, video, and audio from within the app and not requiring the user to search through a photo album or iCloud for the picture.

 

Our EDMS solutions

ImageSite and EngineBox are eQuorum’s robust workflow and document management solutions, created to help workers manage their essential workflows while maintaining complete control over their engineering files and documents.  Not only do they provide a secure collaboration site for workers, but they also help organizations manage document distribution with third parties like vendors, contractors, and customers. Both systems are offered at a competitive price, enabling organizations to get a quick return on their investment by providing the features and functionality needed to help organizations improve efficiency, productivity, and collaboration.  Companies can choose from concurrent user subscriptions or named user subscriptions, ensuring organizations have subscription options that make sense for their business.

Learn more why our solution is trusted by industry leaders.

ImageSite

ImageSite®

Our single source engineering workflow and document management system. Built in HTML5 so there is no software to deploy to client computers or mobile apps to download. Offered as an On-premise or Private Cloud system.

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Our EDMS solutions

 

ImageSite and EngineBox are eQuorum’s robust workflow and document management solutions, created to help workers manage their essential workflows while maintaining complete control over their engineering files and documents.  Not only do they provide a secure collaboration site for workers, but they also help organizations manage document distribution with third parties like vendors, contractors, and customers. Both systems are offered at a competitive price, enabling organizations to get a quick return on their investment by providing the features and functionality needed to help organizations improve efficiency, productivity, and collaboration.  Companies can choose from concurrent user subscriptions or named user subscriptions, ensuring organizations have subscription options that make sense for their business.

Learn more why our solution is trusted by industry leaders.

Engine-Box

EngineBox™

EngineBox is a cloud based workflow and document management version of ImageSite that resides outside the corporate network.

Explore EngineBox™

The eQuorum Customer Promise

In 2005, eQuorum developed the first all browser-based EDMS. The system, although for on-premise use, was still created to remove client software and JAVA from user computers and allow users to have a single viewer based on the simple navigation functionality of browsers. Today, eQuorum provides that same application in a private Cloud or a SaaS Cloud option.  We can do this because we are, and have always been, browser-based, understanding the enhanced speed, security, and usability of this technology.

With the abundance of document management systems on the market today, there’s no doubt that choosing the right Cloud document management software can be a difficult decision. eQuorum is here to provide a comprehensive, powerful, and most importantly – affordable Cloud document management solution. We believe in providing real value to our customers by eliminating unnecessary costs, providing industry-leading functionality, and equipping your team with the right tools using cutting edge technology to bring your products to market faster.

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eQuorum®

We specialize in engineering workflow and document management. Our comprehensive, yet easy-to-use software provides the solution to manage data from design to manufacturing and production, to sales, support and administration.

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