What Should be Included in Your Company’s Standard Operating Procedure?

Like Everything Else in Your Business, the Answer to That Question is Up to You

Last week we talked about preparing an operating system for businesses and how it can help you build a successful construction company. I pointed out that a standard operating procedure is a set of detailed step-by-step instructions that describe how to carry out any given process.

I discussed that it would allow you to –

  • Achieve consistent results
  • Reduce costs and increase productivity
  • Create a higher level of standards

This all sounds great, but what does it really mean?

Let’s break standardoperationprocedure down as it applies to business.

Standard – Is a consistent basis of comparison, an approved model, as determined by you as the owner and/or your leadership team. It recognizes a level of acceptable excellency. It is the level that the bar is set and where you let everyone on your team know what is expected.

Operation – Is a highly organized activity involving many people doing different things that contribute to the outcome of the whole. It is the performance of practical work involving practical application of principles and processes.

Procedure – Refers to a comprehensive set of instructions that prescribes a certain way of performing a process, or part of a process, in relation to time. It states a chronological sequence for undertaking activities, to achieve the objectives. Procedures are meant for members of the organization, including directors, managers, and workers to be pursued. It states exactly what course of action is to be followed by an employee in a specific circumstance.

Like everything in your company, you get to decide what and how things are done. Your operating procedures are no different. You get to decide…

  • What your standards are going to be
  • How your operations are going to be organized
  • What procedures you are going to implement

Constructing your Standard Operating Procedure.

Here is a list of things that are typically used in a SOP –

  • A Title Page
    • Title
    • Names of people who created the document
    • Dates when the document was created
    • Departments, divisions or people who will use this document
  • Table of Contents
    • A table of contents allows team members to easily find sections and areas quickly.
  • Introduction
    • The purpose and scope of this document
    • Roles and responsibilities of team members who are involved in the process
    • Resources and materials that team members will need to complete procedures
    • Cautions and warnings related to the procedures used in the process
  • Procedures
    • This is the essence of your SOP. Here you describe what needs to be done, the order of the tasks, and methodology team members need to follow. You can list the different steps here and if the process is more complex, include sub-steps to describe all activities in detail. You can include diagrams, images, and/or illustrations when appropriate. Imagery can be an effective way of explaining how to get things done.
  • Quality Control
    • Team members can keep track of performance on a case-by-case basis or over a period of time by consulting with this section.
      • Best practices related to a specific procedure
      • Guidelines on how to measure their performance
      • Samples of previous results
  • References and Glossary
    • Here you can include all the terms, resources, and documents that might be in the procedure section. This is especially helpful if you’re onboarding a new hire, and they’re not familiar with your company and business concepts.

These are examples of things that should be included in your company’s Standard Operating Procedures. Like I said before, it’s your company so you can pick and choose what will be included in your business.

As we go forward on this topic I will continue to go deeper and provide more specific about how to prepare an SOP for your company. Keep in mind that this process is like every other part of building your dream business.

It takes a lot of bricks to build a successful business.

Like I said last week, your company’s SOP is an important part of the Blueprint for Building a Better Business. and is one of the tools that we plan to include in the Business Building Toolbox.

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