6 Benefits of 3D Instructions

6 Benefits of 3D Instructions

Digital twins and 3D instructions are becoming used widely by industry-leading manufacturers. Organizations realize the potential of these visual disrupters to enhance every part of the service chain.

Specifically, executives are turning to 3D instructions to address many of the field service industry’s challenges, including the Silver Tsunami, talent shortages, skills gaps, and increasing customer demands.

3D instructions allow end-users to interact with a highly visual digital twin of the installed or serviced product. Here are just a few of the benefits this disruptive technology can deliver to organizations:

1.) Increases Comprehension

3D instructions give field service technicians the ability to interact with a digital twin of a product while following a series of animated steps that bring the product to life. Technicians are visually instructed on the installation or repair procedures and, unlike instructions videos or 2D diagrams, they can see it from any angle they wish, pan out and zoom to areas of interest.

This can mean fewer misunderstandings, mistakes and ultimately improve the understanding of the procedure needed to service the asset.

2.) Bridges Skill Gaps

As discussed above, 3D instructions improve comprehension. While this is helpful for all technicians servicing a product, it is instrumental in upskilling new hires who are still finding their field service sea legs.

3D instructions can relay information so that NextGen technicians are comfortable with demonstrating processes in a clear, easy-to-understand way while lessening the burden of training on more experienced staff.

3.) Overcomes Language Barriers

Field service is a global industry, and many companies have offices all over the world. Servicing, installation, and repair manuals often need to be translated into several different languages.

However, unlike traditional text-heavy documents, 3D instructions deliver information visually and include very little, if any, text. As a result, there is far less to translate, and users from different languages can benefit from the same animation, leaving less chance that critical information will get lost in translation.

4.) Enables Self-Service

We’re living in a do-it-yourself age. If a piece of equipment breaks, we’re far more likely to “google” a fix first before we call technical support. Customers want to play a more prominent role in their service experience, with the pandemic accelerating demands for self-service in the last year.

3D instructions create more opportunities for self-service by delivering the knowledge needed for basic fixes and frequent installation and repair issues. 3D instructions return information more efficiently by providing the visual elements lacking in traditional 2D PDF-based instructions, which can be challenging to interpret.

5.) Reduced Time to Market

Most executives agree that delivering knowledge to technicians on site is critical to service excellence. However, many service organizations focus on implementing complex, expensive and time-consuming initiatives instead of focusing on how they can leverage siloed information by repurposing and mobilizing it. 

3D instructions do just this by reusing existing CAD data that has already been designed, published, and approved. Because of this, the time to create and mobilize 3D instructions compared to videos, animations, or even 2D drawings is significantly less.

Working with a provider who can create and manage the 3D instructions will further improve time to value, reduce costs and avoid overburdening internal staff and resources.

6.) Increases Efficiency

It’s no secret that service efficiency is directly related to a technician’s access to knowledge. Imagine the effects on efficiency if that knowledge came in the form of 3D instructions? It will soon be the tool of choice in a field service technician’s toolbox because it means having instant access on-site to servicing, installation, and repair knowledge, all delivered through a visual, interactive interface.

3D instructions allow technicians to save precious time searching through shared files, pages of PDFs, calling technical support, or worse – calling a busy, more experienced technician for help. Not only do they speed up job completion and first-time fix rates, but the best 3D instructions will also decrease incorrect parts orders.

3D instructions are a rapidly growing trend that can bring the above benefits to companies in the short, medium and long-term. To remain competitive, the time to start implementing this new and disruptive technology is now.

Ready to learn more about leveraging 3D instructions to transform service for your field service organization?

Case Study: Laundry Innovator WASH Enhances Customer Experience


When laundry powerhouse WASH Multifamily Laundry Systems realized that a lack of access to accurate parts and technical information hindered efficiency and accuracy within their support organizations, they turned to AnswersAnywhere to create a mobile “single source of truth” for their field service technicians and customer support staff.

“The feedback from new hires, as well as their managers, has been tremendous. Some of our top users are new technicians. By finding the information they need fast and having that reassurance that the servicing documentation and parts information is WASH-approved, new technicians can complete more fixes on their own the first time.”

– Angie Alvarado, National Director of Operations Central Service, WASH

3D Instructions – The Bridge Over the Field Service Knowledge Gap

The field service knowledge gap is rearing its ugly head in just about every field service organization. According to the Manpower Group’s Employment Outlook Q3 2021 survey, a whopping 69% of companies have reported talent shortages and difficulty hiring – a 15-year high. Market dynamics are causing the knowledge gap to widen to the point where customer satisfaction is suffering, labor costs are increasing, and margins are under pressure.

The knowledge gap is aggravated by three irreversible employment trends that have combined into a “perfect storm” of challenges for field service executives. First, we are facing an unprecedented Silver Tsunami with baby boomer service technicians retiring in droves. Second, industrialized countries are experiencing tight labor markets where companies face more difficulty than ever attracting and retaining skilled workers. Third, products are getting more complex. Ten years ago, few would have predicted that coffee-making equipment or commercial washing machines would carry onboard CPUs, have software interfaces, and be connected to the Internet.

Technicians Need Better Knowledge

The difficulty hiring service staff and the growing complexity of equipment presents new challenges for field service managers. In the Service Council’s 2021 survey of 900 field service technicians, over 90% said they needed more knowledge to meet their job responsibilities. If younger field service technicians are expected to service increasingly complex products, they must have easier access to technical information unintentionally locked up in corporate silos or trapped in the heads of their baby boomer teammates.

The challenge facing field service executives is capturing and making available valuable installation and servicing knowledge. One innovative and cost-effective solution is repurposing CAD data produced by product design teams to develop 3D instructions that are delivered to the field service staff’s mobile devices.

It’s no secret that a field service organization’s success is dependent on the speed and quality of the service provided by its technicians. Long gone are the days when field service technicians could quickly flip through a service manual to find the information needed to install or repair a product.

Even the best examples of 2D installation and servicing instructions can still leave less-experienced field service technicians confused and frustrated as they struggle to interpret the steps to a successful installation or repair.

Today’s sophisticated equipment requires hundreds of pieces of information to install, service, and maintain – information that is not easily digestible from PDF manual. It’s no wonder technicians are frustrated by the lack of quality knowledge available while on-site with a customer.

3D Makes the Complex More Digestible

3D instructions deliver information more efficiently by providing the visual elements lacking in traditional 2D PDF-based installation and service documentation.

New software technologies have been introduced that allow CAD data to be repurposed to generate a digital twin of a product including realistic images and animations.

With 3D instructions, field service technicians can interact with a digital twin of the product being installed or serviced including looking at the product from all angles. The technical information in a well-designed 3D instruction is the same as a 2D PDF; however, the technician follows a series of animated steps that bring the product to life and visually instruct the technician on the installation or repair procedures. In most 3D instructions, only limited text is used which minimizes the need for language localization.

Imagine being asked to replace the ink toner cartridge on an industrial printer that you rarely service. Your only information resource is a 300-page service manual in PDF format downloaded to your mobile phone. Translating what you read in the tiny text into a series of steps to replace the toner cartridge is a frustrating scenario that will increase the technician’s time on site and decrease first-time fix averages. Most likely, the technician will telephone a teammate to find help tying up two staff members.

Now, imagine how confident and knowledgeable you would feel replacing the toner cartridge if step-by-step instructions using a digital twin of the printer were accessible on your mobile phone.

3D instructions deliver the information that “green” field service technicians need without utilizing the valuable time of a more experienced coworker. With the use of links, technicians are not confined to just linear, 2D instructions. They can jump back and forth to different steps or even to a completely different set of instructions or web page.

The Future is 3D

The source of 3D installation and servicing instructions are repurposed CAD files that your product team created when designing the original product. It won’t be long before 3D instructions are essential to every field service organization’s digital transformation roadmap. Reducing technicians’ time on site, the number of telephone calls to teammates, and the number of times those calls turn into repeat service calls is a huge competitive advantage that will result in happier customers and less harried, more effective technicians.

Ready to learn more about leveraging 3D instructions to transform service for your field service organization?

AnswersAnywhere Targets the Field Service Skills Gap with the Launch of Smart3D

AnswersAnywhere Targets the Field Service Skills Gap with the Launch of Smart3D

WA – October 5, 2021 – AnswersAnywhere, a leader in mobile knowledge delivery solutions for service organizations, today announced Smart3D, an outsourced technology and services solution focused on creating step-by-step 3D installation and servicing instructions for equipment manufacturers.

With Smart3D, equipment manufacturers can bridge the skills gap by delivering interactive 3D instructions to laptops, tablets, and mobile phones used by technical support representatives and field service technicians. AnswersAnywhere’s knowledge delivery experts repurpose manufacturers’ existing CAD data to design and mobilize realistic product visualizations and step-by-step guidance to install and service equipment. 

To read the entire press release at PRWeb, click the button below.