The Importance Of A Standard Operating Procedures Document
In the process of growth, business processes change and evolve. One of the most useful systems to streamline your business is having a well documented and up to date 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 and improves operational workflow. The next time there is a confusion regarding who is supposed to do what or what are the best practices 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 onboard 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 the 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.
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.
The SOP also serves as the backbone 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.
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.
An SOP is a living document, which means a 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.
In a world where cloud technology is prevalent, the management of SOPs have become much easier to update and refresh. When the SOP is available on the cloud, it also means that the access and use of it can be controlled and monitored. Updates to the Operation Manuals can now be easily made available to everyone in the ecosystem.