You’re certainly familiar with SOPs, Standard Operating Procedures, and SOP checklists if you work in business. However, you may be shocked to learn that the concept did not start with modern business.
SOPs have been in existence for thousands of years. Well-organized SOPS was the foundation for Roman military tactics, enabling the world’s most powerful empire. In antiquity, these SOPs made it possible to teach warriors, medics, and engineers quickly and expertly.
Things are not much different today. SOPs are utilized in various disciplines, including healthcare, academic laboratories, science and engineering, and hundreds more. They are employed for one simple reason: they operate exceptionally well.
Why Does Every Business Need Standard Operating Procedures?
Even if you currently use SOPs in your business model, you may want to review a few items. If you aren’t, keep reading to learn why an SOP checklist is an essential business tool for growing and growth.
An SOP checklist is essentially a template. However, you cannot measure the relative quality or performance of anything without a template or yardstick. It’s also far more difficult to teach a process when you don’t know what that process is. SOPs are required if your firm relies on any form of the process being reliably repeated.
SOPs are also quite adaptable. They might be created for a basic phone script or an entire company’s production process flow.
You could be flying blind if you don’t have an SOP checklist – or several.
SOPs Can Help You in These Areas
Certain functions benefit the most from having SOPs in place. These may differ depending on your industry. However, here’s how they’ll assist:
Easing Routinely Defined Tasks
You want your staff to have guidelines, whether a production line or a sales pitch. If they don’t, they become more prone to errors or miscalculations. They also grow more prone to taking shortcuts or improvising, which is bad news in any firm!
A standard operating procedure checklist provides explicit rules, feedback, and checks & balances. They’re also necessary when the activities are repetitive or difficult.
Managing Output or Performance
An SOP checklist also gives you a realistic way to assess performance. You may not only check the procedure but also confirm that the results are consistent. When multiple people execute the same task, you can quickly standardize processes.
Feedback and Quality Control
An SOP checklist also allows your team to assess the consistency of a process or product. If there are any discrepancies, it is much easier to identify and rectify or adjust the problem. It also means that team members are less prone to make errors due to fatigue or familiarity.
Growth Through Replication
This is the most significant reason for implementing SOPs in your company. The ability to reproduce systems and procedures unlocks nearly endless growth potential. Growth occurs quickly if you can successfully reproduce a good procedure or outcome. One of the most remarkable examples of SOP checklist instruction occurs at McDonald’s Hamburger University. Yes, it exists, and it teaches managers, among other things, how to modify and repeat highly exact production line SOPs.
SOPs are necessary if you want to grow your business massively.
SOPs Can Help Your Business in 8 Ways
Take the time to review your SOPs if you want your firm to run more smoothly and easily, with happier employees. They are the engines that power your manufacturing, sales, and customer service. Without SOPs, your company is vulnerable to catastrophic damage.
Here are seven practical ways that SOPs might help your business:
1. Reliable and predictable results
Every process yields a result, and standardizing the process yields a consistent outcome. Of course, everyone is aware of this! However, until there is a template, you cannot always rely on others to follow a system or procedure with 100% accuracy. You no longer need to be concerned about consistency if you have an SOP checklist for critical functions.
2. Simpler Employee Training
You may be an expert at training new staff. It’s possible to accomplish it with your eyes closed. But what if you’re not present and someone else has to offer the training?
This is where an SOP checklist can be really useful. You do not doubt that employee training is being done precisely to your specifications. An SOP checklist also improves accountability. SOPs are especially important when working with a remote team or across time zones.
3. A Change Management Plan
It is one thing to have a corporate vision. But communicating that vision – and what is required to realize it – is another matter. Having SOPs in place to drive change and growth is not only simple but also accessible to all members of your team.
4. Improved Troubleshooting
Things happen wrong in business, no matter how good you are. An SOP checklist to identify failure areas can save you a lot of money and effort. It also aids in preventing the same problem from recurring.
5. Increased Efficiency & Streamlining
You eliminate guesswork and improvisation by simply following a step-by-step approach. Your staff is well-versed in what to do, when, and how to do it. Not only do you save time, but it also makes running a lean team easier.
6. Better Customer Service
Customer service should never be hit-or-miss. Customer service consistency is a sign of success. Without it, you risk making significant blunders or possibly losing your company.
7. Improved Workplace Safety
When it comes to workplace safety, SOPs are non-negotiable. Furthermore, having specified procedures protects your organization from claims and losses.
How to Create Robust SOPs
Creating a great SOP checklist is simpler than you think. Here’s how it’s done:
Make use of First Principle Thinking.
Don’t make any assumptions. Begin from the beginning and scrutinize each procedure. Examine areas where you can eliminate superfluous steps or time-wasting tasks.
Testing, Testing, Testing
Everything you implement should be physically and practically tested. What appears to be a good idea on paper is not always good in practice. Set aside your ego and prepare to make adjustments!
Work From the Ground Up
Don’t rely on management or planners in this situation. Involve the employees who will be doing the work in the design of your SOP. You’ll be shocked at how much more they know!
Display and Tell
Make extensive use of visuals and infographics. Images are considerably more effective at remembering and interpreting than text. So, where possible, add visuals and even movies into your SOPs.
Examine And Improve
Finally, be prepared to make modifications regularly. Request constant feedback from your team, and approach each SOP checklist as if it were a work in progress because it is. Your SOPs will change as your company grows.
Get the Help You Need
Keeping track of records, communications, and changes might be difficult. Hiring a professional virtual assistant to coordinate and monitor SOPs is one method to simplify the process. A skilled VA is shockingly inexpensive – and quite efficient.
Book a discovery call today, get your free trial, and learn how a virtual assistant may help your company.