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Standard Operating Process

Updated on December 19, 2010

A SOP - Standard Operating Process or Standard Operating Procedure is a documented way of doing something.

It is as simple as that.

Documented means, written, recorded, illustrated, anything.  Anything that someone who needs to do that task or a set of tasks can refer to, to know how to do something.

It also includes things like

  • what to do
  • when to do it
  • who is to do it
  • where it is to be done
  • who is authorized to do it
  • what are the standards to measure it with i.e. how to do we know it is done right
  • what tools are to be used (tools/resources)

Is a Quality Tool

Quality is a measure of measurement.

You have to measure something to ensure that it is of quality.

SOPs - Standard Operating Processes are a tool to ensure the quality of your product / service is documented and can be repeated again and again

Helps Counter Attrition & is a Training Tool

In any business there is something called attrition. SOPs make sure that when your staff move, the quality of your product / service is not affected.

Helps Remove Guess Work

An SOP takes the guess work out of the system.

You make it easier for your team/people/staff to perform.

Lets take a simple example - making a business report at the end of the day. Some questions the SOP should answer

  • what should the report include?
  • who should make it?
  • by what time should it be ready?
  • who is to check it?
  • who is to receive the report?
  • what is to be done is the report is inaccurate?
  • how to check the report is accurate etc.
Once the SOP is made, you can be assured that the correct report will be made, in the right format, by the right person and will be received by the correct set of decision makers. 


Creates Efficiency

Once you make an SOP you create a process flow.

this process flow in many cases will eliminate and highlight wastage or inefficiencies in the system.  This is a very powerful feature of an SOP.

It takes time to create on in the start but the benefits in the improvement are tangible.

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