Lab Procedures: How to Make Your Lab Safe and Effective

Lab Procedures

I’m not religious, but God bless high school lab technicians.

I can’t count the number of times that Dave (our high school’s technician), exasperated and exhausted, despaired at the lack of common sense some of our teachers had.

Heck, our physics teacher once almost exposed a classroom of Year 7s (11 years old!) to chlorine gas.

He forgot to turn on the extractor fans, leaving poor old Dave to rush in, turn them on, and then promptly evacuate everyone from the room.

Corroding the lungs of your students is, after all, not best practice.

This is why it’s important to have set lab procedures in place. Following these documented processes is the best way to prevent disaster.

When 25-38% of lab personnel have been in an accident that wasn’t even reported (as demonstrated by Dana Ménard and John Trant), you can see the dangers that are easily taken for granted in a lab environment.

That’s why we here at Process Street have created a Lab SOP process that you can use for free, and will go over the common points that a lab procedure needs to cover in this post.

If you just want to get the checklist for yourself, you can check it out below.

You can also click the links below to be taken to a specific section of the article:

Let’s get started!
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SOP Management Software: Best Choice for Your Agile SOPs?

sop management software

People are the most important asset in a company; processes need people to execute them, and the outcome of these processes is often a function of how well the instructions have been put together.

If the outcome is less than ideal, then don’t just blame your employees: check your processes.

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are there for your employees to follow so that the job gets done properly. SOP software is all about figuring out how to innovate and improve efficiency in your internal processes.

This Process Street article will help you understand the benefits of SOP management software and give you some actionable SOP templates to get started. We’ll be looking at:

Let’s start with a simple introduction to what SOP management software actually means.
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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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ISO: Everything You Need to Know (Ultimate Guide + Free Templates)

isoISO means standards. A standard is just a set of requirements, decided by experts, for doing something specific.

A lot of standards exist under the banner of ISO, for all sorts of things, from quality management, to environmental and social responsibility guidelines, to how to design medical devices.

They’re useful because they help you to write good processes; how to structure, organize, implement, and improve on them.

At the heart of ISO is the principle of systematizing your approach to process management in your company – simple as that! You might be scared of ISO, but there’s really no need to be intimidated. What’s more, recent changes have made it easier than ever to get started with ISO standards.

In this Process Street article, we’ll look at everything ISO, including (but not limited to):

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is ISO?
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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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How to Create SOP Templates

In this video, I teach you how to use the Template Editor in Process Street to create Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) templates.

Our interface is simple to use with a task-based format. Each task you create becomes a checkable item for when you run a checklist.

You can then add content to your tasks, including text, images, video and files.

Adding content is easy with our drag and drop widgets.

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How to Attach Files to your Standard Operating Procedures

When writing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) you may need to attach files to increase the depth of the document. Traditional tools such as word editors don’t allow for this kind of functionality. But using a product like Process Street, you can certainly add files and other rich media to your Standard Operating Procedures.

Some files you might want to add could include:

  • Forms
  • Excel spreadsheet templates
  • Example documents or reports
  • Info packs to send to customers or clients

Below is a quick guide on how to add files to Process Street:

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