Standard operating procedures or SOPs are basically what makes any organization function. How, you wonder? Well, a standard operating procedure can be classified as a type of rules or guidelines that must be followed at all times for the continuous function of the organization, as well as a type of emergency plan that can help employees figure out what to do when a superior is not available. The exact SOP format will be discussed later in this article.
A standard operating procedure is just like any other document on this site. It has a certain format and the design of SOP varies, depending on the organization’s preferences. It is used by basically any organization, from companies to the military as well.
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Benefits of Having a Standard Operating Procedure
Having a standard operating procedure in any organization is directly beneficial to the organization, but why is this so? Well, it has something to do with the function of a standard operating procedure. As we know by now, a standard operating procedure is a set of rules or guidelines that is used by organizations as a means of allowing the organization to continue functioning under any circumstance.
This is done by having planned out every possible situation that could happen in the organization, just like an emergency plan. It should also be practiced regularly so as to have all members of the organization ready for any situation that may happen; situations like the absence of a superior officer or manager, incomplete projects, lacking materials, etc.
One organization that benefits greatly from having a standard operating procedure would be the military. The military is basically a standard operating procedure itself. This is because every action illustrated by the military is under a code of conduct where all units behave the same way, react the same way, and follow the same chain of command.
Even making a standard operating procedure is an SOP on its own, and if you are going to make an SOP, then it will be easier to do it while using an SOP template as a frame for your standard operating procedures.
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Why Are Standard Operating Procedures Used?
Standard operating procedures are used by basically any and all organization, but it isn’t limited to just organizations. Even in our personal lives, we use a type of standard operating procedure to manage our time and behaviors. The actual reasons for the continuous usage of standard operating procedures are the following:
- The main reason why standard operating procedures are used by organizations today would be the way they would save time in training new employees. This is so because a standard operating procedure manual could just be given to the new employee and have them learn on the job, providing that the standard operating procedure was well made and not full of errors. This, in turn, would also reduce the cost of training employees since they will be learning on the job instead of having a training course being funded by the company.
- Another reason why organizations still use standard operating procedures would be that they ensure that all members of the organization have the same consistent outputs. This is done so by having a standard set of rules and goals that all members must follow.
- They can appear in any formats, but the most commonly used would be the SOP formats in PDF.
Why Do We Need Standard Operating Procedures?
Organizations and individuals need a standard operating procedure. Having a standard operating procedure provides so many benefits to the organization. Let’s list down a few more benefits of using a standard operating procedure.
- In a way, a standard operating procedure trains the employees to become independent, meaning they no longer need to be supervised and are capable of reaching their standard goals by themselves. This is done by stating what an employee must do during a certain situation.
- Just like most documents, they are easier to make, thanks to some sample SOP templates.
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What Is the General Format for an SOP?
Now that you have read about what a standard operating procedure is and what it is for, you might become intrigued on making your own standard operating procedure. The best way to design your own standard operating procedure would be to use a free SOP template as the framework. However, if you wish to make your own standard operating procedure without using a template, you can follow the steps below:
- Identify the purpose of the SOP.
- State the title or name of the SOP.
- Indicate the objective of the SOP.
- Indicate who are involved in the SOP.
- Indicate the different type of situations and list down how the employee must react to it.
What Are the Advantages of Using a Standard Operating Procedure?
Using standard operating procedures can yield a lot of benefits, benefits that were discussed in an earlier paragraph. So to have a quick recap, the advantages or benefits of having a standard operating procedure are:
- It saves time and cost when training new members of the organization.
- It is a means of employee independence.
- It is used for reference on how to behave during a certain situation.
A standard operating procedure is used by any organizations, even the military, so much that the army has their own form of standard operating procedure and have their own army SOP templates that they will use when making an SOP.
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Guidelines on How to Write an Effective Standard Operating Procedure
Now that we know what are the SOP formats, we can determine how to make a standard operating procedure. Here are some tips when you are going to make your own standard operating procedure:
- Be brief but descriptive about the purpose of the SOP.
- Always identify the situation and reactions clearly.
- Test the SOP before implementing it to the entire company.
- If there is a previously made SOP for the company, review it and rewrite as necessary.
Preparing an SOP format can be simple, provided that you have read all of the tips on how to make a standard operating procedure in this article.
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