Advice and best practices for writing SOPs, training for product launch, outsourcing technical documentation, and more.

What We’re Working on: How Novatek is Improving Documentation and Training Effectiveness

Jan Peartree, Technical Communications Manager, has had a hand in Novatek’s solution development for the past 11 years. Her comprehensive understanding of instructional design and technical writing, along with previous experience working for manufacturing and medical device companies, has benefited Novatek’s customer base by providing a deep understanding of their challenges and by helping us deliver proven approaches.

In Jan's years of experience, regulated industries have undergone many changes that have impacted the way companies manage and approach technical communication and documentation solutions.

"When I first began developing solutions, most of our clients were local, established companies with similar organizational structures. But the business world has changed, and there are more mergers and spinoffs taking place, on a global level, than ever before. As a result, internal processes must evolve to accommodate new organizational structure and policies. Companies come to realize, often very quickly, the importance of documentation and training to keep their business operations efficient and compliant."

For today’s post, Jan provides some insight into how Novatek is working to improve documentation and training effectiveness…

Optimized Intake Process capture_create_deploy.png

Very often, the sheer size or volume of a project can make it overwhelming to scope accurately. That’s why Novatek developed a phased methodology approach. The first is our Capture phase which, as the name implies, captures all elements of a project and breaks them down into specific and manageable pieces.

The Capture phase is typically a short-term effort where our technical writers and instructional designers use Novatek’s proven tools and processes to extract detailed information in order to devise a customized solution that meets our clients’ needs, schedule, and budget. We also use this phase to perform an audience analysis, a task analysis, and a gap analysis to identify all individuals, activities, requirements, and timeframe.

At the conclusion of the Capture phase, Novatek presents a detailed project plan with our solution for development and deployment, outlining our approach and process. This plan effectively and accurately describes the scope, deliverables, schedule, and budget so that the outcome and expectations clearly define the path to the desired solution.

Diversified Mixed Media Training

It’s no secret that many US companies are looking for ways to reduce costs for leaner operations and better profit margins. Many are accomplishing this is by moving their manufacturing operations to other countries, such as Mexico and China, where production costs are much lower. However, if these companies are to ensure quality products and maintain efficient assembly lines, they must understand that an initial investment is necessary for training these workers, especially in countries where English is not the native language.

One-on-one training, supported by large volumes of assembly work instructions, is not enough to ensure a successful transition. Companies find that this method of knowledge transfer is time-consuming and can significantly slow down production. There is also no guarantee of consistent training from one person to another, especially where turnover of resources is high.

One way to capitalize on the training is to incorporate short, quality video clips, particularly for intricate or complex procedures, to be used during training and viewed as frequently as needed after training for large-scale knowledge transfer.

Solution-Oriented Talent Teams

Our clients value the many years of experience and perspective that Novatek provides, as consultants, to make recommendations for optimum solutions. As businesses expand, it can be difficult to determine the type and number of resources needed to support rapid growth. Sometimes clients are simply too close to their day-to-day operations to see the overall, long-term impact to the organization. They know they need help, but they don’t have the time required to conduct a thorough analysis. You might say this is a good problem to have, but it also requires care so that the investment to support this growth is managed wisely.

The impulse might be to add many resources on a project to meet a deadline, but this trial-and-error approach has the potential to backfire and cause more time and rework. Investing in a Capture phase, however, will help you establish the actual need and determine the best solution for long-term gain. Otherwise, how can you ensure that your organization is achieving the desired results to support growth?

Consider bringing in an outsourcing partner that specializes in customized technical documentation and training solutions, and that has the experience and know-how to efficiently assess your pain and provide a targeted solution.

To learn more about how Novatek's solutions could help your company …

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Topics: outsourcing, trends, regulated industries