The importance of a Standard Operating Procedures document

Hsien Naidu

Director

Astreem Consulting Pte Ltd

 

In the process of growth, business processes change and evolve. One of the most useful systems to streamline your business is having a Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual.  This manual lists all the tasks that are essential for your business success, how to do these tasks, and who is responsible for the tasks listed.

Having an SOP improves productivity and ensures replicability. While many think about it as customary and do it for the same reasons, there are other important reasons to document the process. Documenting helps the organization gain long term primary and secondary benefits which have been listed below:

Reduced Operational Ambiguity:

The key reason for documenting any process is the fact that it reduces operational ambiguity. The next time there is a confusion regarding who is supposed to do what or what are the best practises following which a task needs to be performed, one can refer to the SOP to understand what needs to be done and who needs to do it.

Reduced learning curve/training time for new employees

When training someone new, a well documented SOP can reduce the time needed to on-board them. An effectively documented SOP is a great time-saver and confidence booster for the new employee.

Ensured business continuity

Having an SOP also reduces total reliance on key staff, allowing operational process to go on when a key staff become unavailable. By referring to the SOP someone else can take over the urgent tasks and do them correctly the first time.

Standardized processes

The SOP makes it easy to find out what policies and procedures are in place to handle repetitive situations/tasks. This makes the process transferable from one person to another.

Training Material

The SOP also serves as the back bone of developing training material to help new resources move up the learning curve faster. The documentation acts as the training manual and covers the syllabus as well as provides notes to educate the resources. This can be supplemented with on the job hands on floor visits for better and faster creation of efficient resource.

Audit

An effective Audit list can be derived from an SOP. It should cover operational standards, service standards, and other overall quality related standards. This means that the user will have no reason to use the age old “I did not know” answer as all the items covered in the Audit, are distilled from the SOP.

A SOP is a living document, which means constant update is necessary. Change is a constant. We recommend a quarterly review to maintain that standards are maintained the way it is meant to be.

 

 

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