What is the Importance of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)?

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Basis of all SOP’s

All organizations irrespective of their functional areas strive to give their best in terms of quality of products and services. This is essential to maintain a competitive edge and keep their clients satisfied.

Each organization has its quality manual which defines its quality policies. The quality manual specifies standard operating procedures (SOP’s) which are a set of documents which define practices which need to be followed in word and spirit by all employees strictly and without deviation. It is only through adherence to SOP’s that an organization sustains its quality of product and services and sustains its business growth.

Industrial establishments, laboratories, commercial business organizations and government agencies have their own set of standard operating procedures which are based on organizational requirements but all have one common goal which is to give best possible service to clients in terms of quality and, time commitments on deliveries. Let us examine some of the key areas covered by different Standard Operating Procedures in different groups of organizations

Manufacturing industries
  • Qualification of vendors for procurement of raw materials
  • Handling, storage and issue of raw materials to production departments
  • Maintenance schedules for manufacturing equipments and laboratory instruments
  • Safety of manufacturing operations
  • Pretreatment of industrial effluents and waste before disposal
  • Policies on withdrawal of supplies of defective items or products
Laboratories
  • Safety of Laboratory operations
  • Analytical method validation
  • Analyst validation
  • Maintenance schedules and calibration of different test instruments and weighing balances
  • Laboratory environment control, i.e. temperature and humidity
  • Qualification of working standards
  • Calibration of glassware
  • Handling of customer complaints
  • Receipt and distribution of samples for testing
Commercial establishments (Banks/Service Centers/Travel business)
  • Quality of services
  • Time allocation for different activities including maximum response time to customers
  • Processing time for applications and appeals
  • Handling of disputes and client complaints

Standard Operating Procedures help establish a benchmark for quality of products and services. In case of multinational organizations and multi location establishments SOP’s ensure uniformity of products and services throughout the locations. This is essential requirement for sustaining customer confidence both within the country and at the global scale as well

Awareness of SOP’s of your organization or at least your division is absolutely necessary as the overall output of your division and organization depends on the role played by each and every individual.

The objective of writing this article is to make you realize your responsibilities and contributions towards your organisation and this is possible only if you are aware of your organization’s activities, quality policies, ethics through a sound understanding of your organization’s Standard Operating Procedures.

Please feel free to offer your suggestions and comments.

About Dr. Deepak Bhanot

Dr Deepak Bhanot is a seasoned professional having nearly 30 years expertise beginning from sales and product support of analytical instruments. After completing his graduation and post graduation from Delhi University and IIT Delhi he went on to Loughborough University of Technology, UK for doctorate research in analytical chemistry. His mission is to develop training programs on analytical techniques and share his experiences with broad spectrum of users ranging from professionals engaged in analytical development and research as well as young enthusiasts fresh from academics who wish to embark upon a career in analytical industry.

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