Clients often ask us – “When is the best time to implement standard operating procedures?” Well, the short answer is – yesterday. However, there’s a huge difference between implementing basic SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) and SOP’s focused around optimization and growth. The intent behind each SOP is measured through the outlined success factors alongside the overall impact it delivers.
Some business owners believe they don’t need SOPs and are comfortable where they are from an operation standpoint. We strongly disagree. No matter what phase your business is in, from Startup to enterprise, many critical success factors lie on the implementation of strong SOPs.
Now, if you’re running a business without any SOPs in place, don’t worry – we have you covered.
Read on to find out when the right time is to start implement Standard Operating Procedures.
Why is it necessary to have SOPs in place?
There’s a huge upside to creating, documenting, and implementing SOPs. SOP’s can be implemented in any area, role, or function within your day-to-day operations. Aim your business towards a path of optimization and growth by implementing SOP’s that are detailed, easy to use, and readily available.
How Standard Operating Procedures Can Help in Your Workplace
SOPs lead to increased efficiency. They are designed as repeatable roadmaps that can be leveraged by you and your teams. These roadmaps provide step-by-step instruction that address key areas of your organization. SOPs are used for accurate and detailed training, effective team member onboarding, safety protocols and more.
Team members with readily accessible SOPs are more likely to utilize them which leads to increased efficiency within their roles. By providing an overview of all the required tools, resources and expectations surrounding a specific process, you are arming your teams with the confidence, knowledge and freedom to execute on the task at hand. SOPs equal consistency.
Reduction of Errors:
Reduce the number of mistakes that occur when you implement SOPs. Driving operational consistencies leads to an overall reduction of operational rework and errors. Defining expectations for success will provide you and your teams with the knowledge and resources to complete outlined tasks accurately.
By implementing a robust set of SOPs, you not only reduce the chances for potential errors, you also eliminate any process redundancies that may be identified while outlining critical success factors.
Keep your business, employees and clients safe with SOP’s that outline how to complete a task from start to finish safely and precisely.
SOPs play a critical role in the growth and optimization of any business. Increasing workplace efficiencies while reducing errors and rework is a recipe for scaling up. With SOPs, you are empowering your teams to succeed. Powerful SOPs provide and establish a baseline for expected results.
When Should I Implement Standard Operating Procedures?
We’ve listed some key areas of impact when implementing SOP’s. Now let’s dig into when you should implement SOPs.
It’s never a bad time to start the documentation of organizational roles, procedures, tasks and policies. There is no limit to the number of SOPs a business has in place but stay mindful of the end result.
The best time to implement SOP’s is when your business needs any of the following
- Need for more time. Time for yourself and for your team to focus on your client base, product development, revenue generating activities or business growth opportunities
- Increased efficiencies within your teams through clearly defined guidelines and expectations. By building SOPs, you identify any business gaps or voids. Also leads to enhanced performance management
- Need to eliminate risk and re-work along with any overall redundancies
- Additional need for quality control of services / products has been identified
- Create a safe and transparent work environment
- Increase employee engagement while reducing turnover
- Increased client satisfaction and overall retention
- Encouraging Positive Change within your teams. Building a roadmap to success.
- If your have outdated SOPs.
The process of when to implement standard operating procedures is often overthought. SOP’s serve multiple purposes but typically have the end same goal. To Deliver a positive impact within day-to-day operations.
A Chinese proverb that states: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” The same saying can be applied towards the implementation of Standard Operating Procedures.
Standard Operating Procedure Guidelines
Let your past experiences help shape the way you build your SOPs. Ensure to solicit the support of all relevant stakeholders and subject matter experts to build a detailed resource. Construct each SOP with clear expectations and guidelines.
Define The Goal of Your SOPs
To create effective SOPs, you should define goals of what they will help to achieve. Is it more sales? Better safety measures? Increased client handling times? Each organization will have a different set of KPIs and metrics that their SOPs will revolve around. How will success be defined within your SOPs?
Make a Commitment – Allocate Time & Resources
Implementing positive change takes a commitment centered around time and resources. Undertaking the creation and rollout of new SOPs is not an easy feat or something that happens overnight. Make the commitment to you and your teams by understanding what’s required when developing SOPs. Monetary commitments may also be deemed necessary. Building effective SOP’s may involve specialized tools, software’s or media to ensure the documents are readily available, engaging, and easy to use.
Outline Critical SOPs & Success Factors
The list of potential SOPs within any organization is endless. Look within each area of your business to identify where the greatest challenges and opportunities occur. From there, determine which areas will see the most positive impact through the implementation of an SOP.
Build Out Your SOPs
Now that you’ve got the commitment and you’ve outlined the critical areas of change, its time to start building out our SOPs. Run through each process from start to finish and determine the best way to document the procedure. Is it written format or do you make videos? Perhaps you utilize a mix of both.
While summarizing the task at hand, take into consideration if there are any redundancies present. Can you remove any or simply the process?
Document SOPs in only the beginning. A big part of process improvement projects revolves around the actual adoption, implementation and testing. Don’t forget to outline: Who owns each SOP and how do you ensure they stay relevant?
Successful SOP Planning
Determining the right time to implement SOP’s can be challenging. Its best to start early and stay consistent as processes and procedures evolve over time. Many organizations and businesses lack the capacity to take on such a critical project – and that’s ok!
If you or your teams are struggling to keep up with the demands within your business, SOPHeroes can help! Standard Operating Procedures are vital components that contribute towards the success and growth of your business.
Reach out to SOPHeroes to see how we can partner with you. You Change the World. We Document How. Contact SOPHeroes for more information.