Standard Operating Procedures
What are Standard Operating Procedures?
Standard Operating Procedures are detailed instructions describing specific work processes. They outline the step by step process in great detail, and when done properly, an SOP lets anyone perform a certain job function without knowing how to do the job by just using the SOP.
Benefits of Creating SOPs for your Business
Whether you are a small business, or a large corporation, clearly defined Standard Operating Procedures will decrease operating costs, reduce error and wasted time. They are living documents that position your business to succeed amidst chaos when someone quits or leaves unexpectedly, during vacation and illnesses, and natural disaster. Creating SOPs is vital to ensure uninterrupted operations for your business.
Elements of an SOP
Writing the process procedure can be challenging, and it is best to think about someone that does not know the process and how you would describe it to them. Another effective way is to observe the process and record the steps.
SOPs should contain the following:
Purpose: What does the SOP emphasize
Scope: What are the limits of the SOP - location, machine, department
Responsibility: Who is responsible for the process being described
Procedure: Steps outlining the process
Frequency: When and how often is the work done
Related Documents: Any documents that accompany the process - flow chart, forms
Developing and Implementing the SOP
Create the first draft using the elements above
Have an internal review
Have an external review if required
Test the procedure
Have the procedure approved by the appropriate person
Publish or post the procedure
Train the right people
Have a process in place to update the procedure as the process changes over time
At AEL, we work closely with your team to create your detailed step-by-step Standard Operating Procedures. The procedures are tested to ensure they are easy to follow by anyone to minimize any unforeseen interruptions in your business. After approval, the final version is released for use, and a staff member is trained for future updates and reviews.
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