SOP Full Form is Standard Operating Procedure. SOP is a standard process documented for a company or organization to ensure consistency of products and services. When a company is small, all major decisions are dependent on the owner or CEO of the company. When the company expands over a certain size, documented SOPs and additional management are needed to ensure consistency of product and service deliveries.
Some of the main SOPs needed for every business include; strategic management; payroll and HR management; operations; finance and administration; budgeting and forecasting; marketing and sales; and IT. In essence, SOPs take care of almost every aspect of a business management.
SOP Full Form – Additional Information
For any establishment to run smoothly there needs to be standardization of the functions and each member/ employee of the organization should be well versed with these set procedures. In order to maintain uniformity in the work process, the owner or the higher authorities lay down certain rules for safety and productivity which are known as Standard Operating Procedures or SOP.
WHAT ARE STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES (OR) SOP?
Standard Operating Procedures are sequentially compiled instructions by the management for the employees to enable smooth functioning of routine processes. Every industry has some set of regulations to follow and through SOP these are effectively conveyed to the employees and the main aim of SOP is to have efficient performance, superior output and standardized performance without any scope for failure or inadequate communication.
SOP is a reference guide for the employees to understand the various activities, business practices, and routine tasks. This enables them to follow the instructions seamlessly without having a need to approach the supervisors for guidance. Thus, the Standard Operating Procedures manual saves time as well as effort.
Standard Operating Procedures are vital in critical fields like Government organizations, Clinical Research, Emergency Response, Pharmaceuticals and Power Generation units. These are some fields where there is no scope for error and thus, it is imperative that the instructions are documented well for everyone’s reference and they are easy to follow.
In order to achieve the best results at the workplace, guidelines should be published in a language and manner that any person can comprehend without a problem. Sometimes there are revisions made in the processes. These needed to be incorporated immediately in the manual to prevent mistakes in working.
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF SOP?
Standard Operating Procedures are documented to make the work process simpler for the employees. They are essential for health and safety reasons too as any wrong step in working, especially production units, can prove hazardous for the worker. If you consider a production and manufacturing unit, then a step-by-step guide to how to handle the equipment / machinery and how to start the production will enable the employee to understand the sequence that is needed to be followed in order to give a good output. While manufacturing an item, there are certain sequences on different machines to be followed before the end product is ready. This is also true for the material selection to obtain the product.
In the SOP if all the steps, from material procurement to the various processes on different machines are mentioned in an orderly manner, then there will be no error on the part of the operator and he will be able to do full justice to the job. In the case of any research organization, like Clinical Research, if the steps of different investigations and observations are mentioned then the analyst can follow them effortlessly and come to proper clinical analysis. For a uniform and consistent output, flawless communication and guidelines are very important. They are both, time and effort saving and ensure good results.
HOW TO WRITE A GOOD SOP?
Standard Operations Procedures are written in order to guide an employee through the various steps of the routine activities. This is done with a view of saving time, effort and obtaining the uniform output. However, in order to achieve this objective, it is essential that the SOP documentation is done by a knowledgeable person in the field.
Since this is a step-by-step “do it yourself” type of guide, the person who is responsible for creating the SOP should try to talk to the persons who are involved in the particular activity and try to understand the procedure and sequence that are followed. Once the writer gets a thorough knowledge about the process himself, it becomes easier to write it in a simplified manner and in flawless sequences. This then enables the other employees to understand and exercise accordingly.
SOPs are usually used for training purposes too. Thus, if well scripted Standard Operation Procedures are available in front then the trainees know exactly what the supervisor is trying to explain and it becomes easier for them to practice it in future.
A good SOP is not only written in consultation with the persons working on the task but also with the inputs from the quality assurance team. Since the objective of the Standard Operation Procedures is to establish standardization and get uniform yield, it is essential to follow the technical steps as well as understand the requirements of the quality of product to be delivered.
GUIDELINES TO WRITING STANDARD OPERATION PROCEDURES
- Study the process well and understand the finer nuances involved.
- Ensure that the SOP is process driven and not person driven. That is, it is related to the processes to be explained and not a person’s point of view on work methods.
- After understanding the processes and drafting SOP forward it to a person involved in the activity to get proper edits.
- Before the SOP is finally documented and circulated, Quality Assurance Team should have a last look to ascertain that quality, health, and safety norms are included in an organized manner.
- Remember, SOP is a “step-by-step” guide for the employee to follow. So keep it short and precise. In the tension of workload, a person does not have time to read big explanations.
- Matters can be further simplified by compiling the SOP in the table of contents, distinct identity and page wise form. This saves time and effort of hunting through the entire book to find the concerned procedure.
- Include different methodologies applied to complete the task, the equipment used and their sources, health and safety precautions, troubleshooting and remedies, etc.
- It is not common for all to know the abbreviations and short terms used in a particular workplace or process. Thus, make a proper list of the terms and abbreviations and explain them for better understanding.
SOP HELPS IN BOOSTING BUSINESS
Standard Operation Procedures are necessary to educate the employees on the work policies and guide to how to achieve a particular task repeatedly in a uniform manner without committing a mistake, thus giving standardized product throughout. A well scripted and easy to follow SOP ensures that the employees follow the steps to the last word and there is no scope for miscommunication.
Simple steps, easy language, and concise matter enable the employees to comprehend the instructions effortlessly and deliver a flawless product. SOP is made with all the industrial rules and regulations in mind. This helps the employees, especially new trainees to accustom themselves with the industry and its working. The simplified document relieves the stress of the supervisors as they need not attend to trainees’ queries at all times.
Comprehensible instructions facilitate quicker actions and better productivity. Sequenced tasks ensure no clashes at the workplace and smoother operations. There is a boost in production and business without compromising on quality. In short, Standard Operation Procedures are documents that help in making the work process simpler and beneficial.