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.
It is where SOP comes into the role. In this article, we will explore all the details about the topic and find the importance of SOP in different industries. So let’s get started.
What Is SOP?
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.
However, SOPs are only beneficial for the industries that require repetitive processes and don’t revolve around creativity. Its strict adherence to standard processes and rules may become a problem for the creative industry.
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. We will now see some basic benefits of SOP.
Why Is SOP Important?
While SOP works differently for different industries, there are some common benefits that can be obtained by all. A few such benefits are:
As stated earlier, quality management is the first and foremost goal of SOP. With predefined processes and rules, it becomes extremely convenient to maintain the highest quality of your products.
These standard procedures serve as a guide for the employees that provide them with the details on what has to be done at each step of production. They can follow it for proper results. Therefore, ensuring the best quality that you want.
Performance Management Simplification
One of the most crucial advantages of SOP is that it helps in simplifying the overall performance management of the organization. Managers can use this as a tool to access each employee’s performance based on the work provided to them.
As all of them follow the standard processes and rules, it isn’t much complicated to compare their performances. On the other hand, employees can plan their working schedules when they work under SOP because they know what exact standards they have to meet.
Keep up with the Quality in Future
Almost all owners plan to expand their businesses with time. While this may seem straightforward, it is actually a very complicated task, especially for the manufacturing companies that want to maintain their products’ qualities in all the branches.
This is where SOP can help them out. When an SOP for a manufacturing company is defined beforehand, it won’t be challenging to bring about the same quality from all branches. People from everywhere can follow the same processes and produce equally good products.
Apart from these three primary benefits, the function of SOP offers various other advantages. Some of them include:
- Protection from Loss of Employee: Suppose you have the best working staff for your business. However, the head manager who used to handle everything suddenly leaves the organization for some reason. In this case, you will be left with no information about how to manage things in the company, leading to a mess. On the flip side, you can avoid this knowledge loss if you have everything written in the documents in the form of SOP.
- Convenient Training: New employees have a hard time understanding how things work in your organization. They may receive some information from one person and exactly the opposite from the other. But when they will have proper documentation of things, there will be no room for confusion or misunderstandings. They simply have to follow the mentioned processes and rules.
With all these benefits, the importance of SOP increases in all industries.
Function of SOP in Different Industries
Let us examine some of the key areas covered by different Standard Operating Procedures in different groups of organizations.
SOP for Manufacturing Company
- 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
SOP in Pharmaceutical Industry and 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
For example, the importance of SOP in pharmacy is high because even a little discrepancy can cause serious problems both for the manufacturer and for the consumer.
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.