For a business to thrive, it has to have structure in place. Think of processes as a map to help you navigate uncharted areas. It aids you in reaching your goals, which for a business represents sustainability and growth.
While it sounds simple enough, standardising processes might be trickier than one could think. How exactly do you do it? What are the things you need to consider?
As always, before you create a standardised business process, you and the whole team will need to understand why you have to create one in the first place. The goal is to get cooperation from everyone concerned in order to have a more uniform way of doing things.
Know that with standards, you have benchmarks and milestones to reach as a company. This puts everyone in line, creating one vision from which everyone acts upon. When customers see that service standards are equal across the board, it has been known to create loyalty. That benefits the company for having a streamlined process while welcoming in returning and new customers.
Formulating your own standard operating procedures may be daunting at first, so here's a few things to keep in mind when creating them.
Are you creating an SOP that will be a mini-manual, or are you formulating an in-depth resource? The former may be useful for a small business, but the latter one is best for big companies. Consider the purpose of your SOP.
In order to get a realistic, holistic view of what's happening in the workplace, pertinent people need to be present during the creation of the SOP. This way, you get unfiltered input from everyone, increasing the success of the document.
You need to properly identify if the SOP is going to tackle one procedure only, or all processes. This way, you'll be able to have more focus on the work at hand.
Since this is going to be a resource that both existing and new personnel will be looking at, you can't afford to leave vague notes within an SOP. Make it clear, concise, and understandable so that everyone has the same mindset.
While you endeavour to make the process as seamless and perfect, there's bound to be obstacles along the way. Identify what those are, where they happen, and how you plan to work around them should they occur.
In order to know whether the SOP is having a positive impact, there needs to be a metric in place. For example, it may be a customer satisfaction rating, or the number of production per hour.
Before implementing it, you need to try and do it in a small scale to see its effects. This way, you get to assess what's lacking and further improve on the SOP when needed.
At this point, you will have to submit the proposed SOP to either a superior or an impartial co-worker. This is to get an outside opinion on what may be missing and how it can be made better before full-scale implementation.
The SOP you create now may be beneficial for the current situation, but as time passes by, demands will change. This is why you need to indicate when revisions should be done regularly to adjust to ever-changing climate of the business.
Once it is approved by everyone, it is time to create a culture out of it. You can create a flow diagram that is easily understandable, constantly reminding everyone of what should be done. We have created a diagram here that shows the flow of the SOP.
Standardising your business processes ensures that you're able to lay down a comprehensive plan, helping both the company and your customers. This should help you pave the way to success.