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Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

SOP is the abbreviation for Standard Operating Procedure. This article describes the SOP meaning and explains how to create SOPs.

What is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?


A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a detailed guide to safe, standardized and regulatory task processes. SOPs are therefore primarily concerned with ensuring that industry-specific requirements are being met. The standardization of work steps also promotes a sustainable quality system and prevents loss of working hours due to work-related accidents and similars.


In principle, standard operating procedures are suitable for all industries, but there are a number of industries where they are particularly important, such as theconstruction, manufacturing, hospitality and pharmaceutical industries.



The following questions are answered in this article:


1. When is a SOP necessary?


2. How do I write a SOP? 4 important steps


3. Why is a SOP useful? The top 3 advantages for the use of SOP's in your company


4. How do I implement a SOP? 3 steps


5. How do digital technologies support the implementation of SOP's?


6. Summary



When is a SOP necessary?


In principle, every work process should be documented. However, in these five cases you should definitely make use of SOP's:


  • New processes
  • The on-boarding of new employees
  • General training courses
  • Tasks on risky areas
  • Routinary work


How do I write a SOP? 4 important steps


A SOP is a comprehensible guide for action steps during a work process. With the following 4 steps you can start directly with your instruction:


  1. Define the work process - you should limit yourself to a concrete task that starts with an initial state and fulfills a relevant goal at the end.

  2. Simple & clear - The steps should be as simple and comprehensible as possible, yet leave no questions or important details unanswered.

  3. Focus on safety - In addition to the standardization of a uniform quality policy, the safety of employees during their work is a decisive focus. Therefore, any hazards and risks should be identified and how they can be prevented in concrete terms.

  4. Writing by doing - A realistic work instruction is best written when the concrete steps are actually being carried out or tested instead of being called up from memory.



Why is a SOP useful? The top 3 advantages for the use of SOP's in your company


Planning is half the battle - this statement is the base of the SOP principle. With the help of standard operating procedures, you can design a high-quality, safe and profitable company with comparatively little effort.

In the following paragraph you will find 3 essential advantages for the implementation of SOPs:



1. Quality assurance


A corporate concept is particularly convincing when it is structurally sophisticated and is characterized by consistent and sustainable quality. In order to meet customer expectations, work processes should always be carried out in the same way to ensure a satisfactory product and to safeguard the company's reputation.


2. Safety of employees


The SOP makes considerable contribution to the security policy in the company. Employees should be informed about hazards and risks and be trained to deal with them properly. With a detailed guideline, which breaks down all possible questions, you inform and train your employees and sensitize them for the correct execution of work processes.


3. Profitability


The standardization of work processes leads to fewer work-related failures and to continuous quality. This also creates satisfaction on the part of the customers, which enables the highest possible profitability to be ensured.




How do I implement a SOP? 4 tips



Communicate the reason for use


A SOP serves the well-being of the employees as well as the company. It is crucial not only to implement it as a mandatory requirement, but also to make employees aware that it should be seen as a help and support for the staff.


Make the SOP accessible to all


The SOP should not only be accessible to all personnel everywhere and at all times, but should also be actually read and used. In some cases, it is even mandatory by law to take note of the work instruction and must be documented by employees.


Leave no questions open


For trainings, which should introduce the SOP's, it should be possible to ask questions. The personnel should know whom they can contact at any time in case of queries.


Control


Despite the personal responsibility of employees, it is essential to regularly check the correct execution of activities and to warn punctual violations, or to react to repeated ones with a termination.



Summary


  • The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is suitable for all industries and is used for newly introduced processes, on-boarding, training, hazardous activities and routinary work.

  • In order to write a SOP in the best possible way, you should clearly define the work process, formulate comprehensible work steps, focus on the safety of the personnel and test them thoroughly.

  • The Standard Operating Procedure helps companies to achieve sustainable quality assurance, occupational health and safety and continuous profitability.


How do digital technologies support the implementation of SOP's?


With Lumiform's digital app and software, you can easily create a SOP and let your employees use it as a digital questionnaire while they work. After each access you will be notified and receive a regular and automatic report about all developments, which you can send by e-mail to the responsible persons for further evaluation. You can also use our free SOP checklists and adapt them to the individual needs of your company.



Featured templates

Bathroom Cleaning SOP Checklist

Bathroom Cleaning SOP Checklist

Use this Bathroom Cleaning SOP Checklist to properly clean the bathroom and assure SOP compliance. See template

Corridor Cleaning and Maintenance SOP Checklist

Corridor Cleaning and Maintenance SOP Checklist

Use this template for the process of sweeping, dusting, and cleaning of hotels or office corridors See template

Housekeeping SOP Checklist

Housekeeping SOP Checklist

Use this SOP-template for hotel room inspection. See template

Kitchen Cleaning SOP Checklist

Kitchen Cleaning SOP Checklist

Use this General Kitchen Cleaning SOP Checklist to keep a clean and sanitised restaurant. See template

Manufacturing SOP Compliance Template

Manufacturing SOP Compliance Template

A manufacturing SOP Compliance Template is used to ensure that workers follow the prescribed SOPs for operations. See template

SOP Checklist: Sanitizing Food Contact Surfaces

SOP Checklist: Sanitizing Food Contact Surfaces

Use this SOP template to prevent food-borne diseases by assuring that all food contact surfaces are cleaned. See template

Tablet Compression SOP

Tablet Compression SOP

A tablet compression SOP template is used to ensure that the correct steps are taken by lab personnel when using the tablet press. See template

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