Why You Need a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

What does your favorite neighborhood restaurant and a fortune 500 company have in common? They both have standard operating procedures, or SOP for short. Standard operating procedures are step-by-step instructions to perform a routine activity. Remember the opening/closing to-do list at your summer job in High School? It’s just like that. A proper SOP facilitates business growth, ensures quality control and helps with your new hire training.

Readiness For Growth

If you plan to expand your business, a standard operating procedure will act as a guideline for expansion while ensuring that procedures remain the same at each location. Employees at any location or level of employment can look to the standard operating procedures to make sure they’re upholding the reputation clearly outlined in the SOP. For product-based businesses, the SOP creates guidelines that can be replicated at any level of production.

Performance Management

You can’t properly evaluate employees if they don’t know the standards they’re being upheld to. With standard operating procedures your employees will know how to handle day to day procedures in the way you’ve outlined in the SOP. Make sure your SOP is succinct and easy to read so there is little room for misunderstanding when you’re not there.

Consistency

It’s important to maintain a high standard of quality with your product or service, no matter how big your business gets. Standardized procedures guide workers and reduce the possibility of missed steps and errors that impact the quality of the completed product. SOPs ensure that your product or service is created the same way, start to finish, every time.

Avoid Knowledge Loss

Business procedures should never be stored inside a key employees head. Losing that employee would mean losing all of the procedural information they learned, and could be disastrous for your business. Documentation of job processes survives employee retirement, resignation or death. Having clear SOPs will allow your company to carry regardless of what happens to yourself or your employees.

Save on Training Costs

Documented procedures are a valuable component of the new-hire toolkit. They can reduce training time and act as a reference guide when the new-hire has questions. Having clear procedural documentation allows new employees to work independently without excessive reliance on supervisors. The SOP should be the first place any employee goes when they have a question.

It’s never too soon to start creating your own standard operating procedures. Start by writing down common questions and their answers for your procedural tasks. We’ll be back to help you, but if you can’t wait we’re always here to help!

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