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Standard Operating Procedure

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A Standard Operating Procedure " SOP ", is a document in which the instructions for a particular work process are described in detail. This is interesting, specially for the training of new employees, or in sectors where the legislation is very strict. An example of this type of sector is that of aviation, in which airplanes must undergo the same exhaustive controls before they can take off.

Enterprise software for the standardized operating procedure

The business operating procedure is developed for specific actions that are carried out in the workplace, and, therefore, is closely related to the optimization of business processes. In this way, they can be found and managed in different types of business software. Some examples of SOP's in business software are:

SOP for business processes in an ERP for commerce:

- Registration of new articles " creation of article numbering, catalog updates, etc. ".
- Registration of new customers " in the CRM ".
- Reception and treatment of returned products.
- Complaint management.
- Quality control of products in the food or fashion sector.

SOP for document management:

- Preparation of outgoing invoices.
- Payment of incoming invoices.
- Archiving and occasional destruction of documents.
- Working method for editing information folders and other " external " communications.

SOP for human resources management:

- Work instructions for an effective succession of employees who leave.
- Fixed work methods for the employee's life cycle, including selection, onboarding, training and offboarding.
- Fixed work methods for evaluation interviews.

Obtain certificates " ISO " with the help of a SOP

A standardized operating procedure is important for the maintenance or general improvement of a product or service, but it can also have more specific objectives. Many companies use the established procedures and instructions to carry out certain standards, such as obtaining an ISO certificate. Specially in terms of quality and safety standardsIt's very interesting for companies to present in detail what steps employees take in the execution of their work. Environmental certificates are also increasingly popular, and require very strict procedures. Therefore, a SOP oriented towards recycling policy is a good support for a company that wishes to obtain an environmental certificate.

How is a standardized operating procedure written?

Writing a standardized operating procedure may seem simple at first glance. However, companies must be very thorough when doing so. The following step-by-step plan can help organizations to develop a SOP correctly.

1. Establish the processes for which the SOP is necessary.

It's quite relevant to identify all existing business processes. Occasionally, this is done with Business Process Management " BPM ". But not all of these processes need a SOP. Therefore, you must start by selecting the processes that are essential for compliance with legislation, obtaining certificates or for the basic operation of the company. This selection occurs ideally with the members of the management team, which has a good vision of the objectives pursued by the company.

2. Set a template

The preparation of a standardized operating procedure should also be well planned. Prepare a template and determine how the instructions will be written " linguistically ". A template helps employees understand and carry out the procedures. In this step, it's also necessary to decide how workers are informed about the SOP, or where to consult all the information.

3. Gather the opinion of the workplace

Details about work procedures are always more accurate if users themselves do so. Determine who the experts are and talk to them. Also make occasional use of existing guidelines in specific departments.

4. Write, evaluate and publish the SOP

With the help of the template and the workshop information, the SOP can be written. This initial configuration is therefore evaluated and, occasionally, rewritten by the address. After this, the SOP is ready to be published in the established manner.

5. Maintain the SOP

Processes change over time, therefore, it would be rare if related SOPs remain as they are. Therefore, also develop a plan for the review of standardized operating procedures. In addition, it may happen that the deficiencies are only visualized after a while. Therefore, it may be interesting to give users the possibility to make suggestions for adapting the SOP.

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