July 28, 2022STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES
Tips for Writing Maintenance Standard Operating Procedures
When you have routine tasks in your business, you can break down the business processes into a detailed step-by-step standard operating procedure (SOP) that is easy to follow. In any business, consistency is critical, but the larger the organization is, the more difficult it is to maintain consistency. Maintenance work is essential across industries and jobs. However, developing SOPs is often pushed aside for other work that seems to have a more immediate return on investment. When maintenance work is made easier, such as with an SOP document or process documentation that simplifies creating work orders, employees spend more time on task and less time documenting.
“Overall, the consistent use of SOPs creates a streamlined, cost-effective way to grow a business and its human capital, and lays a foundation for a rock-solid virtual culture for a distributed workforce.”FORBES
What Are Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)?
Standard operating procedures are written work instructions. These workflows are guidelines or direct instructions. The intention is to help the reader complete a task. These step-by-step instructions prevent new employees from guessing about the procedures to complete tasks.
A standard operating procedure document is not a high-level document with hierarchical steps. In fact, it contains simple steps to tell your team members exactly what you want them to do, when, and how. Furthermore, these documents are so well written that there is no room for misinterpretation when completing the tasks.
How to Create SOPs
There are three things that your standard operating procedure needs to be a solid document. First, you want your SOP to be digital, integrated, and interactive.
While there is no one SOP format, you can use an SOP template to create and update the defined SOPs much faster when they are digital. Digital SOPs ensure that all team members have access to all the updates in real-time to help save time. In addition, you can include detailed instructions with video and images.
An interactive standard operating procedure provides a checklist or template to employees. The steps come up one by one as the employees work on them. They can check off each step as they go. This is helpful when onboarding new hires. An integrated SOP uses automation to do the work for you. As employees enter data about the task into the template, additional steps are triggered as needed. Reports, even a flowchart, can be created to see performance, downtime, and inventory. Your new SOP looks less like a manual and more like an interactive application.
What Your SOP Should Include
There are traditional sections needed for your SOP creation. However, as you write a standard operating procedure they do not have to be presented in the following order.
|Title Page||Contains task name, SOP ID number, date of creation or update, area where standard operating procedure applies, and names of stakeholders who created it.|
|Revision||Lists history of revisions, including creation date and any updates.|
|Table of Contents||Summarizes what is contained in document and helps workers find their starting point.|
|SOP Purpose||Lists out all procedures included in SOP.|
|Roles and Responsibilities||Names workers who will follow standard operating procedure. As you identify team, keep in mind that it usually includes project management, operations manager, maintenance manager, and other employees. This avoids miscommunication.|
|Procedure||Contains essential step-by-step information. Here is where you outline the specific tasks. Charts, pictures, and diagrams are useful.|
|Additional Information||Lists health and safety details, including what protective equipment is needed. Include industry regulations and needed training materials or guides.|
|Glossary||Defines terms and acronyms used in standard operating procedure.|
|Approval||Provides space for signatures needed to approve SOP.|
How Can CMMS Simplify Work Order Tasks?
A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is a process that can centralize and streamline processes and maintenance information. This software optimizes performance, increases profitability, and creates both quality control and quality assurance. MaintainX is a mobile application that simplifies routine tasks and task orders. This removes hardcopy paperwork and gives employees more time on task, not shuffling through paper.
MaintainX unleashes the power of the mobile phone your employees already carry with them. Managers can assign work orders electronically and have the standard operating procedure attached. Employees can complete a checklist, send pictures as needed, and text their managers all from their phones. Information is presented in a flowchart format, making it easy to follow. No matter the size of your organization, from small business to large corporation, this application helps improve efficiency, increase transparency, and compliance with audits.
Examples and Strategy for Using CMMS
Many successful businesses thrive because they are consistent. Customers expect the same response and quality from businesses every time they visit them. Think about your favorite coffee shop. You want your coffee to taste exactly the same every time you get it. So they follow a consistent process each time.
Using a CMMS as a work order software system allows you to easily schedule tasks and track maintenance. This reduces downtime and helps teams manage their work. This app can help improve tracking, analyze key performance indicators (KPI), and make writing standard operating procedures easy. When your documentation is accurate and easy to follow, tasks are performed better and more accurately. This is critical in industries heavily regulated and often audited. A CMMS database helps organizations perform more efficiently within their specific industry. It can help manage written SOPs to give employees access to precisely what they need when they need it.
Click the image below to use MaintainX’s procedure templates for mobile, tablet, or desktop—it’s free.