Mar 2, 2018 Jean-Philippe Bonhomme

Guide Sharing : Doing It Right

The precautionary measures you should apply to prevent wasting your precious time trying to save it

Any self-respecting Poka administrator has heard about guide sharing at least once. The concept is pretty simple but its optimal application is yet to be unraveled. Let us review this handy functionality and identify the precautionary measures you should apply to prevent wasting your precious time trying to save it.

knowledge sharing in factories

Knowledge is power, why not share it?

The Idea

Picture a 6-axis robotic arm. Now picture the plant in which this equipment runs. Chances are — it’s not the only 6-axis robotic arm in the facility. It is most likely safe to say that some of the numerous robotic arms in the plant are identical, or at least similar. See what I’m doing?


factory robot

For lazy people only : no need to picture the 6-axis robotic arm — here it is.

Similar machines have similar operating methods. So why bother creating the same training guide over and over again? This is why Poka allows guide sharing. As you will see in a few seconds, this feature can be leveraged in four different situations.

When Can a Guide Be Shared?

Guide sharing can prove to be an astonishing time saver in the following circumstances:

  1. If identical pieces of equipment or duplicates (sharing the same manufacturer and model number) achieve the exact same function
  2. If non-identical yet similar pieces of equipment achieve an equivalent function
  3. If the same procedures apply to several products
  4. If the same procedures apply to a whole product family (or several).

I know —  there’s a lot. Let’s dig into each of those 4 situations.

1. Identical pieces of equipment performing the exact same task (share to model)

The first and most obvious situation where one would want to share a guide is if identical devices (with the same manufacturer and model number) are operated in the same way. In the app, guides get shared to all pieces of equipment with the same model number by default. This option can be deactivated upon creation.

factory robotsPros

Can reapply a guide to a massive amount of equipment.


Does not allow exceptions, i.e. the guide must be shared to all pieces of equipment with the same model number, even if some of them are used in a different manner (in this situation, share to all pieces of equipment instead.

2. Similar pieces of equipment performing an equivalent task (share to equipment)

The second situation is if a guide applies to similar machines that do not have the same model number and manufacturer. The base line here is: they’re different but are very similarly operated.

factory robots


Can reapply a guide to another piece of equipment, individually, even if it has a different model number.


Does not allow mass sharing.

Guide sharing works with workstations as well.

3. Procedures applying to several products (share to product)

The same idea applies to products. Let’s say you have two different water bottles (products with different SKU’s in this case) that are manufactured using the same processes. A guide applying to the first one can and should be shared to the latter.

Manufacturing product
4. Procedures applying to a whole product family, or several (share to product family)

At this point, you’ve probably figured out the idea — a guide can be shared to a whole product family, given its applicability to all the individual products.

manufacturing products

Question Before You Take Action

It’s all fun and games until it doesn’t work, right? That is why you need to ask yourself a couple of questions before you go ahead and start sharing guides:

  • Are the processes identical? If they’re not — it’s still possible to share the guide but you will potentially need to modify it in order to highlight the differences and eliminate any ambiguity
  • For inter-plant shares — are the local policies (safety, quality, etc.) of all facilities observed in the guide? Are the practices presented in the guide the best for all workplaces? Does the terminology used in the guide apply to all plants?

Those are only examples. The point is — you need to think it through before reapplying, especially since the approval process is bypassed when a guide is shared. Updates are also applied to all instances (or copies) of the initial guide.

All of that being said, given the need is real, you absolutely should use the guide sharing feature. It will save you a lot of time. Just keep in mind that you must not neglect reflecting before sharing.


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