What is an SOP? 16 Essential Steps to Writing Standard Operating Procedures (With Templates)

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🟢✅ Bonus material: SOP Structure Template to help you write perfect procedures

Whether you’re starting a business or trying to improve an existing one, you have to understand how things are going to get done.

What tasks do you need to do? Who needs to do them? What are the best ways to approach these tasks?

Working out how these questions can be answered is the first step toward systemizing your business. The creation of processes and workflows will define the way in which your day to day activities function.

One popular approach to this is the creation of standard operating procedures. The simple definition provided by IBM for standard operating procedures is:

…a set of instructions that describes all the relevant steps and activities of a process or procedure.

Simple.

But how do we create these SOPs? What we need are standard operating procedures for creating standard operating procedures – and some standard operating procedure software. And that’s what we’re going to give you.

We’ll look at:

  • How to create a set of standard operating procedures
  • Some advanced techniques for improving your SOPs
  • Why Process Street is a useful tool for both mapping and following your standard operating procedures

Read through these sections to get clued up:

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Ultimate SOP Guide: Standard Operating Procedures Made Easy (Free Templates!)

sop templates

SOPs (often pronounced S-O-P) are basically just another way to think about processes. Specifically, with a focus on formally defining the best way of doing something.

In business terms, that means saving time and money by building a clear, concise set of instructions for all of your internal processes. Policies (or standards) are important too; SOPs are kind of like a hybrid of policy and procedure.

Traditionally, SOPs were useful in principle, but often suffered from being difficult to maintain and crucially, hard to enforce. What good is an SOP if it lives its life sat on a dusty stack of paper forms? Your SOPs should be actionable, and that’s where BPM software like Process Street comes in.

If you understand how to build, maintain, and optimize SOPs with software, you can supercharge your standard operating procedures.

In this article, we want to give you everything you will ever need to know about SOPs, including:

Each section will be as concise as possible, with links out to further reading wherever appropriate. Let’s start with the basics.
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7 SOP Examples: Essential Templates to Make SOPs Simple

sop example templates

Whether it be for employee onboarding or adhering to ISO guidelines, standard operating procedures (SOP) are an integral part of making sure your company runs smoothly, stays organized, and ensuring your team consistently follows protocol.

But, where do you start if you’ve never documented your company procedures before?

It can be intimidating when you’re first beginning to build your standard operating procedures.

That’s why we’ve built four SOP example templates, to give you a clear and easy-to-follow framework to be able to easily build your own procedures from start to finish.

This post is all about SOP innovation. Using Process Street, you can create SOPs in new, more efficient ways.

Here’s a breakdown of the article:

Let’s take a look at some SOP example templates to begin with. Continue Reading

ISO 9001: The Ultimate QMS Guide (Basics, Implementation, ISO Templates)

Consumer Reports publishes an annual reliability survey, which includes data on over 470,000 cars.

In this report, owners of Tesla’s Model 3 experienced a number of problems, including chassis hardware, paint and trim related faults, indicative of a build quality that fell far shorter than expected standards set across the automotive industry. The Model 3 represents Tesla’s first real attempt at a mass-market electric vehicle, and the issues surrounding its launch created much frustration and controversy among electric vehicle enthusiasts.

This lack of quality assurance has lost at least one major $5 million order of Model 3 vehicles from a rental company, in relation to problems with the service and performance of previously purchased vehicles.

In an email, NextMove wrote:

“Tesla Model 3 vehicles, which NextMove was supposed to take over after payment and only a short examination, sometimes had serious defects: defective tires, paint and body damages, defective charge controllers, wrong wiring harnesses or missing emergency call buttons. Such quality defects would have endangered the safety of the customers and the profitability of NextMove.”

Stefan Moeller, Managing Director of NextMove, went on to say:

“We had to insist on compliance with general quality standards and processes in order to protect our renters and our business model.”

Why did Tesla have so many problems? Crucially, Tesla made the decision to deliver the product to market and sort out the issues later.

Basically, they didn’t have a strong enough system for managing quality.

We call these Quality Management Systems (QMS) – and they work.

The rest of the auto-industry follows a specific quality management system structure. It’s called ISO/TS 16949:2009 and it’s a variant of ISO 9001.

People follow quality management systems for various reasons; they improve quality first and foremost. But they also have a positive impact on the bottom line.

The return on investment (ROI) of a quality management system is typically impressive:

As a guide, a recent study undertaken through the American Society for Quality (ASQ) showed that for every $1 spent on your QMS, you could expect to see an additional $6 in revenue, a $16 reduction in costs, and a $3 increase in profits. On average, they saw that quality management reduced costs by 4.8% – ASQ

In this Process Street article, we’ll be looking at how ISO 9001 can be used to assure quality control across all types of organizations, with benefits like improved company performance, higher demand for products, and a competitive advantage towards increasing market share.

What we’ll cover:

For the uninitiated, what is ISO 9001, as simply as possible?
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Simple SOP Format Guide: How to Write Standard Operating Procedures

sop format

One of the most important things you can offer your customers and employees is consistency.

Your customers need consistency in your products and services, your employees need consistency to help them do their job efficiently, and your company needs consistency in order to continuously improve your policies and procedures.

The best way to make sure that you have consistency within your company is by implementing standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Most companies already have SOPs that their employees follow, but they’re either rarely updated, or they’re never even properly documented to begin with.

This is often because writing, reviewing, and regularly updating your SOPs can typically take a lot of time, especially when starting from scratch.

But thankfully, there are ways to make your job a lot easier.

That’s why in this Process Street article, we’ll go over the general guidelines for the SOP format and other ways you can streamline your processes to help you get started building your SOPs.

We’ll be covering:

If you’re simply looking for a SOP format to get started with, then look no further!
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