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How to Use SOP Manufacturing Templates

Robyn Neath
by Robyn Neath | June 21, 2022 | Reading time: 4 minutes

Manufacturing SOP templates are guides that contain instructions to help workers do their routing manufacturing tasks safely and seamlessly. Learn more about how you can comply better with the standard operating procedures using checklists. Start your inspections immediately by using our pre-made templates.

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What Are SOP Manufacturing Templates?

Manufacturing SOP examples are used to ensure that employees comply with the prescribed standard operating procedures for operations. The plant operations managers use it when going through their routine inspections to check if workers are complying or not.

Having SOPs in place makes the production process more efficient and decreases the risk of errors. Not complying with the standard operating procedures can result in:

  1. Inconsistent quality outcomes - without SOPs in place, there’s no standard for quality.
  2. Difficulty in achieving maximum productivity - SOPs are designed to improve efficiency. Lack of compliance results in inconsistent operational time frames for each worker.
  3. Evaluating performances becomes subjective - standard operating procedures allow supervisors and managers to evaluate their employees based on the standard set by manufacturing SOPs. If workers don’t follow that, there will be confusion.
  4. Communication breakdown - SOPs show employees if there are process updates. Non-compliance puts quality and efficiency at risk.
  5. Increased risk of injuries and accidents - non-compliance puts employees at a higher risk of accidents.

In this article, the following points are explained:

1. How to write a manufacturing SOP

2. The Benefits of SOPs for manufacturing companies

3. A mobil app for manufacturing SOP inspections

Worker performs fine work on a workpiece

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How to Write a Manufacturing SOP?

Complying with regulatory standards and producing outputs consistently might look daunting but not impossible. Creating SOPs helps employees perform their tasks efficiently and safely. There is no regulated standard in creating SOP manufacturing templates. However, there are certain elements that can help you create a an effective standard operating procedure.

  1. Determine the goal
    Writing your manufacturing SOP begins with thinking of what you want to accomplish. Whether creating a new procedure or improving an existing one, defining your goal makes it easier to write the SOP document.
  2. Define the scope
    The scope shows the limitations and exceptions of your standard operating procedure. It also shows the people that will be affected or will be engaging with the SOP.
  3. Choose a format
    There are three types of SOP formats to choose from:
    • Simple steps — contains short and easy steps to follow. Aside from the mandatory documentation and safety guidelines, the format contains either bulleted or numbered lists that are simple and straightforward.
    • Hierarchical - if your SOP contains a lot of steps that has a number of decisions, you can use this format. It is also bulleted or numbered but contains substeps under the primary steps.
    • Flowchart - this format maps out and plans the SOP that contain various outcomes. It’s a good choice when you’re dealing with unpredictable results.
  4. Write down the procedures
    Put all the procedures in writing to eliminate any guesswork and ensure consistency all the time. Use the 5Cs principle as a guide when writing the procedures:
    1. Clear
    2. Concise
    3. Correct
    4. Courteous
    5. Complete
  5. Review and update where necessary
    Review and test the procedures with your team members before handing them over for approval. After that is the implementation of the employees, but it does not stop there. They should be regularly reviewed and updated as often as necessary, preferably every year.

Worker grinds electrically on a large production piece

What Are the Advantages of SOP for Manufacturing Companies?

SOP manufacturing templates often accompany preventive maintenance work orders and QC checklists. The best manufacturing SOP checklist include flowcharts, illustrations, and photos so workers can fully understand them.

Here are the benefits of having a manufacturing SOP:

  1. Establishes a standard
    By standardizing everything, tasks are performed in the same manner no matter who is assigned. It also ensures that processes run smoothly, allows management to make informed decisions, and improves consistency.
  2. Improves communication
    With the processes standardized, data metrics become much easier to share with team members. This reduces the possibility of non-compliance, enhances supply chain efficiencies, and improves project management.
    Manufacturing standard operation procedures communicate across all teams. With a digitized SOP manufacturing template, workers and managers receive real-time information about the tasks in every phase and challenges that slow down production.
  3. Improves efficiency
    SOP manufacturing templates make repeatable processes more efficient, from the biggest to the smallest tasks. Some steps might be redundant and present no value. Some might find out a redundant error or mistake.
  4. Ensures compliance and quality
    Compliance officers often ask to review SOPs when evaluating operations. Standard operating procedures act as defense documentation within industry guidelines. Furthermore, they improve the credibility and legal defenses of a company. Most often than not, auditors rely on completed manufacturing SOP checklists.
  5. Encourages accountability
    Standard operating procedures should clearly define who is in charge of completing the work order or preventive maintenance inspections. They improve accountability in the workplace. If an error occurs or inaction happens, management can appropriately take the right action to stop any inactions or errors in the future.
  6. Reduces or eliminates downtime
    Downtime is the acronym for the 8 types of waste in the workplace:
    1. Defective outputs
    2. Overproduction
    3. Waiting
    4. Non-utilized employees
    5. Travel from one location to another that is unnecessary
    6. Inefficient inventory management
    7. Movement
    8. Excess processes without any value

A Mobil App for Conducting Manufacturing SOP Inspections

With digital checklists, the days of confusing data collection and mountains of paper are over. A mobile app and desktop solution like Lumiform enables manufacturing companies to comply with SOPs effortlessly.

The SOP manufacturing checklists can be efficiently contucted on-site via app on a phone or tablet. Operations managers can take notes and add photos to the checklist during SOP inspections. A report is then automatically generated and securely stored in the cloud - saving all the follow-up time.

Manufacturing SOPs not being followed by workers? No problem. From the app, necessary actions to correct non-compliance can be assigned immediately. Then, their completion can be easily tracked via the Lumiform dashboard.

Other capabilities offered by Lumiform's powerful app and desktop software for mobile audits and apps include:

  • Adapt templates to new processes and specifications at any time with the innovative form builder.
  • Set priorities and due dates on measures.
  • Conduct analysis on each inspection, different locations, or specific viewpoints.
  • Collaborate on problems as a team thanks to collobarative functions and find a solution faster together.
  • Schedule manufacturing SOP inspections. About upcoming and overdue inspection responsible team members are automatically informed.

Worker at work in a plant facility

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Robyn Neath

Robyn Neath

Robyn started her writing career after receiving her screenwriting diploma from InFocus Film School in Vancouver, BC. She has since worked for esteemed sports, casting, and news organizations. When she isn’t concentrating on generating content with Lumiform, she enjoys working on her sitcom scripts and entering them into writing competitions. She has a strong interest in the arts, and can usually be found re-watching Frasier or stumbling her way through The New York Times daily crossword.

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