Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are written instructions intended to document how to perform a routine activity. Standard operation procedures (SOPs) document the steps of key processes to help ensure consistent and quality output. Standard operating procedures can benefit any process or task within an organization that management wants done the same way each time. Originally, standard operating procedures were popular in the manufacturing environment, since they are an integral part of quality assurance systems. Standard operating procedures may specify how much of what ingredients to add in a processed food plant. A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.
The purpose of a SOP is to carry out the operations correctly and always in the same manner. A SOP should be available at the place where the work is done.
What is standard
A level of quality or attainment. Standards are published documents setting out specifications and procedures designed to ensure products, services and systems are safe, reliable and consistently perform the way they were intended to. They establish a common language which defines quality and safety criteria. something used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations.
Why Standard important
Standards form the fundamental building blocks for product development by establishing consistent protocols that can be universally understood and adopted. standards fuel the development and implementation of technologies that influence and transform the way we live, work and communicate. They provide a guarantee of safety, predictability and usability.
- SOP ensures business continuity, When a key staff member is on leave or not in the office for some reason, work does not have to stand still. 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.
- SOPs also ensure an understanding of the role. The ability to clearly articulate roles and responsibilities provides assurance that an individual understands the roles and responsibilities.
- Because there is a standard way of dealing with client queries, refunds, promotions, follow-up etc., you can make sure that each client is treated fairly and equally, enhancing their interactions with you. You thus provide the best possible client service.
- Employees may believe that they are consistently performing duties but SOPs may indicate the contrary. SOPs provide an additional level of assurance of consistency.
- If you need to delegate a certain task, you can see at a glance who will be able to help you or advise you. You can stop micromanaging, as it is clear who is responsible for what.
- When someone is new on the job, your well-written and researched SOP can be a lifeline to them to be able to know how things work.
- SOPs can signify agreement with organizational and governmental needs and can be used as a part of a personnel training program, since they should supply detailed work instructions. It minimizes opportunities for miscommunication and can address safety concerns.
- To provide people with all the safety, health, environmental and functional information necessitated to perform a job properly.
- To guarantee that production operations are performed constantly to obtain quality control of processes and products.
- To guarantee that processes continue uninterrupted and are completed on a prescribed schedule.
- To serve as a training document for teaching users about the process for which the SOP was written.
- To serve as a checklist for co-workers who observe job performance to reinforce proper performance.
- minimizing the chance of miscommunication, affording comparability, and ensuring regulatory compliance.
- SOP is applicable to any entity and it should be an essential domain of an effective management system to help cultivate transparent systems, implement error preventive measures, and facilitate corrective actions
- SOP standardizes activities of a specific procedure; speeds up the integration of an individual into the organization during an initial phase of an employment; improves transparency within the organization; serves as a valuable structure for internal communication; shares best practices within the organization; and provides valuable background information for management policy development and change.
- SOP also helps facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skill.