Raise your hand if you are intrigued by this image. We chose it for this month’s blog as a reminder that businesses (and buildings) need a variety of elements to succeed and be strong.
In building, rebar, or reinforcing bar, is a common feature of many concrete applications. Its primary purpose is to increase the tensile strength of the concrete, helping it resist cracking and breaking.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in business describe the what, who, and when (step-by-step process). SOPs should be available in print or digital form, so all team members can perform routine activities following documented guidelines. Following SOPs guarantees that the business can benefit by reducing errors, increasing efficiencies and profitability, and creating a safe work environment. SOPs also provide a guideline for resolving issues and overcoming obstacles.
When SOPs are missing, unstructured, or not consistently applied, the strength of the business is compromised. Without established SOPs:
- It is more difficult for managers to coordinate, assign tasks, and measure individual performance.
- Team members’ work may be less efficient and produce inconsistent results.
- Creating work instructions containing the specifics or directions for completing a task is challenging.
In our continued quest to break down complex issues and offer simple solutions, we have these tips from our team’s real-world experience and education to help you avoid the pitfalls of not having established SOPs by understanding and creating them:
- An SOP documents an organization’s procedure or routine activity. It provides general information about the activity by providing the What, Who, and When. REMINDER: The SOP is the “what,” while the “how” is detailed in the work instruction documentation.
- The What in an SOP specifies what the activity or task is. EXAMPLE: “Run Payroll.”
- The Who in an SOP specifies who performs the activity or task. EXAMPLE: “Payroll Clerk.” (Added TIP: Avoid individual names to allow for assigned team member changes)
- The When in an SOP specifies when to perform the activity or task. EXAMPLE: Every Friday.
SOPs (the What, Who, and When) and work instructions (the How) are tools businesses use to make a process more detailed and actionable and aim to improve an organization’s efficiency and quality of work. They ensure the proper and efficient accomplishment of tasks that comprise key operating activities in a business. While they may be similar in structure, they have different functions and content. The SOP summarizes the specifications of a process (the What, Who, and When), while a work instruction (the How) is narrowed down to an individual task and elaborates on each of the steps outlined within an SOP.
How Success Trek Documented their SOPs
Success Trek created an Operations Calendar to record all regular and recurring business operations tasks (SOPs – the What, Who, and When) as part of a recent focus to document our internal processes. Each team member is assigned to and responsible for completing their assigned tasks. The centralized calendar allows for quick and easy task reassignment and task management oversight. Separate, detailed work instructions contain the activity or task’s How (along with the Why). View our previous Blogs on how to Improve Your Operations Quickly With Documentation and The Importance of Why.
How can we help?
Discover how Success Trek can be your partner as you navigate toward Improved Business Strategies, Empowered Leaders & Teams, and Strengthened Workflow Processes. We are here to be your sounding board and discuss any workplace situation where you might need an outside perspective. Contact Theresa, or visit our Contact Us page to schedule a 30-minute Complimentary Conversation.