Often in businesses when an organization is set up or is growing, all the necessary decisions are taken by the core management team. The simplest or the rather intricate matters are also dealt with great interest by the founder or the core team. While everything is taken care of, we overlook the fact that one day when the organization has grown and there are larger scale strategic decisions to be taken, who shall deal with the routines? As the company reaches a certain size, this form of decision making can limit its capacity to grow further. You may have valued human resource by your side for a handover, however, how can we ignore the basic philosophy of functioning?
While everyone may want to do the right thing, often everyone’s edition of that right thing is always different.
Which in turn portrays the essential fact that how things are done is going to inevitably vary according to who is doing it.
This fact alone is enough to establish the necessity of a documented set of procedures or processes for the functioning of a qualitative and sustainable system that works in alignment and accordance of the standard of the management’s mission and vision. In this instance, the SOPs i.e. this documented set of processes would typically take over and act as your governing word.
Now the question arises what is this Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) after all?
Well, an SOP is an operation specific procedure that describes the tasks to be undertaken and stay in complete accordance with industry standards & regulations, abide state laws or even your own standards for running your business.
In short, SOP is a document that clearly defines WHO, WHAT, WHERE, HOW and WHY.
An SOP, by and large defines expected practices in all businesses where quality standards exist, especially so in small business. The requirements for SOPs and their format may range from industry to industry, depending on the type of activity your organization is undertaking, or what regulations your business is governed by.
For all those business owners who are experiencing SOPs for the first time, or are working in a small organization that is looking to put SOPs in place, Your Retail Coach has put together a slim introduction to what Standard Operating Procedures are, and why your organization needs to put them in place.
Why do you need SOPs at your organization?
Though we all know and understand that procedures are not an end in themselves – they will not secure good performance nor guarantee good results.
However, what SOPs will do is ensure that you have a structured quality system and processes in place, qualified employees, and a motivating company culture.
SOPs not only help you to evaluate what you’re doing now but also help you decide how to go moving forward.
Standard Operating Procedures at a minimum gives you the following:
Routine and Consistency
The number one reason for procedures is consistency in the way an individual carries out a particular task or activity. A well-written SOP explains visually or through illustrations, the tasks to be done, in whom, how and where category.
Your staff can skip guessing or plan upon the mechanical set routines tasks.
Instead, they can now put in some quality time creating ways of efficiency and productivity. Not to mention the pep they themselves receive due to higher predictability in their jobs. The more consistent a process is from person to person, the less chance there will be quality problems.
Quality Control and Error Reduction
Often have we seen that while dealing with mass purchase and/or production there are chances of errors or variations. Also while delivering a service again and again one faces the problem of duplication of services.
These hassles of quality and human errors can be handled effectively with a written procedure of instructions for the performing a task.
Therefore, more the SOP is being followed; greater are the chances of reducing errors and gaining checks in quality control.
Training and Communication
Another great reason you need SOPs in your organization is for the benefit of communication. This communication is could be of an update in the existing processor putting in place an entirely new process.
SOP provides a method to communicate uniformly and in a time-efficient manner. It reduces verbal communications and increases written communication.
SOP run systems, also make it easier for you as an employer to conduct employee performance and decide the appraisals too.
Each employee’s job description falls under SOP and hence establishing key performance index (KPIs) and productivity is much easier and accurate than before.
You could also compare the performance of employees performing the same task and determine retention or dismissal. Not only does employee management becomes easy but it also increases employee performance.
Growth and Replication
Growth in your business often means expansion in scale of production/service but also mean setting up of different geographical locations with an entirely new unit of people. In such cases having an SOP enables you to replicate the work processes of the headquarters.
Staff at each location can use the same manual and reduce dependability on the headquarters. This, in turn, increases the revenue by supporting your expansion plans and Owners get time to concentrate more on strategies and engage in enhanced customer happiness ratio.
Who doesn’t know that in today’s competitive and social media-centric environment, a customer has become informative and powerful; Customer Success now more than ever is a must and not an option. The overall performance of the unit can also be gauged and can be instrumental in deciding to scale up or scaling down your business.
To maintain uniformity in standards of customer service, shall require a well-defined and easy to understand SOPs for the team facing your customers.
While most of us are of the thought that the application of SOP is only relevant to complex businesses and organizations, we assure you that its benefit extends to cover even the most minor aspects of work. In some business, the values of SOP is highly established and acknowledged, while in many others the case may be different. In those where its values are appreciated, SOP is claimed to have the role of some essentials like:
- A way to resolve conflicts between partners
- Protection of employers in areas of potential liability and personnel matters
- A roadmap for how to resolve issues – and the removal of emotion from troubleshooting
- The first line of defense for a client, possible purchase, partnering up or just a regulatory check
Every business has a unique market, every entrepreneur has his/her own leadership style, and every industry has its own best practices. No two businesses will have an identical collection of SOPs.
It is mandatory that your SOP is designed to keep well in mind the best format, language, and complexity of your business. Write to us and we will evaluate your needs to design SOPs tailor-made for your business because having it is a MUST!
Benefits of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
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