December 15, 2022CMMS
Here’s How to Improve Production with Digital SOPs
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) help improve productivity because they’re based on workflows that you already know work for your business and stakeholders.
The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) explains that an SOP’s purpose is to “carry out the operations correctly and always in the same manner.” Over time, this helps improve efficiency and minimize errors.
For example, suppose you know a specific machine should be allowed to cool off after two hours of operation to avoid damage. In that case, you can add the cooling-off period to your manufacturing procedure and avoid a day’s worth of downtime.
This Is a Standard Operating Procedure
A standard operating procedure (SOP) in manufacturing is a procedural document that outlines the specific steps and manufacturing processes required to complete a task or activity consistently and repeatedly. These procedures are typically used in manufacturing environments to ensure that all employees follow the same process and that the process is completed as efficiently and effectively as possible.
SOPs in manufacturing typically cover a range of activities, from the production process to quality control to safety procedures. They are typically made up of step-by-step instructions for completing a task, a title page and a table of contents to make it reader-friendly, information about the tools and equipment needed, and any potential hazards or safety concerns that need to be addressed.
By following a standard operating procedure, employees can ensure that they are consistently producing high-quality products while also maintaining a safe and efficient work environment.
Writing the SOP doesn’t need to be scary. Standard operating procedure templates, checklists, and a global procedure library outlining hierarchical steps are available for you to customize, add procedure scoring, and help your employees perform the tasks the right way the first time.
“Digital standard operating procedures (SOPs) can support frontline teams when managers or more experienced colleagues are not on hand. Online learning technologies can help staff develop new skills quickly, creating a more flexible, more technology-savvy workforce at every level of the organization.”McKinsey
Here’s Where to Implement SOPs to Improve Production
Your shop floor isn’t the only place where SOPs help streamline processes. You can have SOPs for quality control, compliance, and other business areas that indirectly influence your production efficiency. Below, we discuss business processes you can use SOPs to improve production efficiency.
Business process redesign (BPR) is focused on analyzing and designing workflow and business processes within a company. The goal of BPR is to help companies dramatically restructure the organization by designing the business process from the ground up.Investopedia
Standardizing your maintenance tasks ensures technicians follow directions correctly without any guesswork. A preventive maintenance schedule implemented efficiently and without errors minimizes asset failure and downtime. Without an SOP document, technicians might forget a step or two, increasing idle time.
For example, an asset might fail when a technician forgets to perform maintenance on a specific part of the asset.
Creating an SOP can help avoid this oversight. Traditionally, manufacturing operations used printed SOPs. However, your technicians might lose a sheet of paper, and it’s also inconvenient to pull out a piece of paper when working on a machine.
Instead, use a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). You can create a checklist of tasks in your SOP. As technicians complete those tasks, they can check them off using MaintainX’s mobile app, automatically creating maintenance records.
Manufacturing standard operating procedures help retain organizational memory and production efficiencies. When you hire a new manager, they might implement their version of the most efficient process. Your team might need a while to get comfortable with the new procedure, which lowers output.
Instead, use SOPs to eliminate this lag. Your team won’t have to unlearn what they’ve learned and learn an entirely new process when you use SOPs. You can attach flowcharts, diagrams, PDFs, and manufacturer guidelines to digital SOPs to ensure teams have what they need to do a job right the first time.
SOPs can also help improve productivity by enabling you to identify problems in your manufacturing workflow. Once you identify the issues, you can add a response routine to the SOP so technicians can quickly fix the problem and get the production line back up and running.
Coca-Cola announced changing its flavor in 1985 and received widespread criticism. Now, imagine if this was a mistake and Coca-Cola had manufactured their product using the wrong formula.
Quality control is critical to building a trustworthy brand. In fact, using SOPs for quality control is a regulatory requirement in some industries like pharmaceuticals. From inspecting raw materials to the final product, employees use SOPs in warehouses to production areas.
SOPs can streamline your quality assurance processes and reduce defective production. You won’t have to spend time on reworks, allowing you to operate at optimum capacity.
In addition to improved productivity, quality control SOPs also save you a ton of money—good quality control will ensure you don’t lose customers because of poor customer experience or spend money on product recalls. New employees can also use SOPs to learn a company’s preferred methods rather than bring in tribal knowledge and skills from past employers.
You’ll need to rework or discard the batch entirely when you produce batches that don’t meet regulatory requirements. This can translate to wasted production capacity and, worse, non-compliance.
Moreover, validation and compliance procedures for equipment can be time-consuming and extensive. Without SOPs, a technician might need to repeatedly check an asset’s testing or maintenance requirements, slowing down the entire process. For example, the technician might forget to check if new equipment has machine guarding—a requirement for OSHA compliance.
SOPs can ensure technicians have all the information needed for compliance and improve regulatory compliance. The faster the technicians can complete compliance procedures, the faster you can resume production.
Here’s How SOPs Benefit Production
Manufacturing SOPs can improve production in the following ways:
SOPs significantly reduce the need to look over your team—an SOP includes all subtasks needed to complete a task correctly. You still need the option to monitor the team, though, and that’s where a CMMS can help. A CMMS lets you draft and assign procedures and enables your team to mark tasks as complete, giving you full visibility.
Improves Employee Morale
Remember the last time you felt stressed at work and your productivity dropped? Employees who are stressed or lack a sense of accomplishment aren’t their best productive selves. SOPs can help reduce stress by enabling employees to get things done and feel good about the process.
Standardizes Company Best Practices
When your team performs the same procedures regularly, they become second nature, and your employees are more likely to complete them faster. In turn, SOPs can minimize errors, improve product quality, and increase output. Corrective actions are simple when effective SOPs reduce the risk of errors.
Here’s How a CMMS Increases Production Efficiency
In a production environment, a CMMS can provide many benefits to a manufacturing company that can help improve efficiency and productivity.
Integrating a CMMS into the production process allows companies to schedule and track maintenance activities in an organized and efficient manner. This can help reduce downtime, as maintenance can be planned and performed to minimize disruptions to the production process. A CMMS can also help companies keep track of their maintenance budgets and costs, allowing them to make more informed decisions about when and where to allocate resources.
In addition, a CMMS can help companies improve their equipment and asset management. By tracking each piece of equipment’s maintenance history and performance, companies can identify potential problems before they occur and take steps to prevent them. This can help reduce the need for costly repairs and ensure that equipment is operating at peak efficiency.
Overall, a CMMS can help companies in the production industry improve their maintenance processes and optimize their equipment, leading to increased productivity and profitability.
And Here’s How MaintainX Helps Standardize Your Company’s Processes
Documenting processes, establishing standards, and completing work evaluations can be daunting and time-consuming. A CMMS can help simplify the process of creating and implementing SOPs.
For example, A CMMS like MaintainX provides SOP templates and helps create checklists for standardized processes. You can assign these checklists to your team via the CMMS and monitor their progress—the team can check off tasks using a mobile device as they go. MaintainX also has a built-in chat feature. If a team member has a question, they can use the chat option to request help.