WHAT ARE SOPS AND WHY YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS IT
A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a set of step-by-step instructions, compiled by an organization to help workers carry out routine operations. A proper SOP outlines the intended purpose of achieving specific tasks and what procedures to follow to execute them.
SOPs ensure specific tasks are completed in the same manner each time, thus delivering the same output every time. SOPs aim to achieve efficiency, quality output, and uniformity of performance, while reducing miscommunication, and failure to comply with industry regulations. Having SOPs allows for a smoother fit into the overall culture and operation of the business.
There are five (5) elements that should be included in SOP's: purpose, procedures, scope, responsibilities, and accountability measures. You must be careful to choose the format that most clearly explains your business processes.
Many businesses outsource time consuming tasks to VA services, so they can focus on more important aspects of the business. With so many businesses outsourcing services virtually, the need to have SOPs is even greater. The contents of SOPs vary substantially across industries. However, the process of organizing SOPs is similar. While many organizations still use paper checklists, a growing number of companies are streamlining operations with digitized SOPs.
You might be wondering, what will I use SOPs for? Like the definition states, it is used to achieve efficiency, and bring about success in overall business operations.
Having SOPs helps to minimize learning curves. Less time spent training new employees, saves time and money. It also reduces the chance of unnecessary mistakes being made, because the company’s modus operandi is clearly stated and practiced by everyone in the organization.
SOPs promote accountability. With each person understanding their role, it makes tracking and follow-up easy. When each person knows they will be held accountable for their actions they will take care to act according to the guidelines in place.
SOPs promote responsibility. Having SOPs in place promotes a culture in which each employee understands the importance of their contribution to the overall goal. This serves as a sense of motivation, as each employee sees how their role fits into the bigger picture as opposed to feeling inconsequential, in the grand scheme of things.
SOPs are excellent for boosting employee morale resulting in improved performance. With SOPs in hand, employees will not waste valuable time questioning what to do, or how to do it.
There are various types of SOPs but the two (2) most common ones are Management SOPs and Technical SOPs.
Management SOPs are designed to give the framework for the steps used to define, document, and apply any other company process.
Technical SOPs provide details on how to perform and accomplish tasks.
The type of SOP a business chooses will depend on current needs and objectives.
The overall mission of having SOPs is to create the proper channel of communication, leading to a more structured quality system of operation.
Written and verbal communication is crucial to business operations. SOPs help, not only, to address current issues but also to forecast, resulting in not only short-term but long-term success.
Do you use SOPs in your business operations? Leave us a comment outlining your best business practices. Email or call today for a consultation.