Creating a standard operating procedure (SOP) is an important part of running an efficient, organized business. Developing an SOP can be time-consuming, but with the right tools and guidance, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In this guide, you’ll find a step-by-step process for creating your own SOPs.
Identify Those Who Need to Participate in Creating the SOP
Once you have a plan for developing SOPs, it is important to determine who in your organization needs to be involved in creating, revising, and implementing SOPs. This identification is carried out to ensure that SOPs are prepared by the needs and capacity of the work unit and can be implemented effectively and efficiently.
Individuals or groups that can be involved in preparing SOPs include:
- Staff responsible for a particular function or process in an organization
- Manager or supervisor of the related work unit
- HR or HR department
- Quality department or internal audit
- The legal or regulatory department
- Risk or security department
After this identification, each individual or group involved must have an appropriate role in preparing and implementing the established SOPs.
Research the Process and What You Expect From Each Role Involved
Once you have identified who should be involved in the SOP development process, you can begin researching procedures and the different roles depending on the individuals or groups involved.
Some of the possible roles that can be given to individuals or groups involved in the process of preparing and implementing SOPs are as follows:
- Compiler: Responsible for preparing new SOPs or amending existing SOPs. They must have sufficient knowledge and competence regarding the processes or functions discussed in the SOP
- Reviewer: Responsible for reviewing SOPs that are created or amended. They must have a good understanding of the processes or functions discussed in the SOP and be able to provide useful input for improving the SOP.
- Approver: Responsible for approving or rejecting SOPs that are created or amended. They must have a good understanding of the processes or functions discussed in the SOP and be able to assess whether the SOP is by applicable standards and regulations.
- Implementer: Individuals or groups who are responsible for implementing the established SOPs. They must understand SOPs and be able to apply them effectively and efficiently in the work units they handle.
- Auditor: Responsible for auditing SOP implementation. They must have sufficient knowledge of SOPs and be able to assess whether the SOPs are implemented correctly.
- Trainer: Responsible for providing training on SOP to staff involved in the processes or functions discussed in the SOP.
Some roles can be assigned; the appropriate roles may vary depending on the organization or work unit in question and the expected needs.
Start by gathering examples from other organizations with similar models, giving you a general idea of how their SOPs are structured. In addition, consulting with relevant experts or outsiders can help you fine-tune your plan and give everyone on the team a better understanding of what is expected of them.
Create Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Documents
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary research and input, it’s time to start putting together your actual SOP. Start by creating an outline of how to structure it.—for example, include sections for “Roles & Responsibilities” and “Training & Documentation”—then organize your content into that framework. As you draft each section, consider what to include at each step and be consistent in your formatting, so it’s easy to read.
How to prepare an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) includes several important steps, namely:
- Identification of Objectives: The purpose of preparing SOPs must be clear, namely to determine the processes or functions that will be discussed in the SOPs.
- Needs Study: Conduct a study of the process or function that will be discussed in the SOP, including identifying problems that may arise and gathering input from staff involved in the process.
- Draft preparation: Prepare a draft SOP that explains in detail the process or function discussed, including the steps to be carried out, responsibilities, etc.
- Review and Validation: Review and validate the SOP draft by involving staff involved in the process or function discussed and the responsible manager or supervisor.
- Finalization and Approval: Finalize the SOP and obtain approval from the competent authorities.
- Implementation and Evaluation: Implement the approved SOP and evaluate its implementation to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the processes or functions discussed in the SOP.
- Revision and updating: SOPs must be evaluated and updated periodically to ensure that they remain relevant and by the development of the organization or work unit concerned.
These are common steps in developing an SOP, but each organization or work unit may have a different process and require additional steps or variations.
Format and Prepare SOP Documents for Distribution
After the content is written, it’s time to form and prepare the SOP for distribution. It would help if you considered readability and accessibility when creating SOP content, choosing the right font size and type, page layout, and colour scheme.
Depending on who will be using the SOP, you may also need to consider other factors, such as grammar requirements (e.g. for healthcare organizations).
After the SOP is formed, you can share the SOP that you just developed with those who have to follow the rules written in the SOP.
Train Staff on Following the SOP Properly and Consistently
Once your SOPs are properly created and formatted, it’s time to train staff on the details. Employees must receive proper training to use and understand SOPs properly.
Regular training should also be conducted, so everyone knows about changes and employees do not forget important steps or procedures.
An effective way to do this is through role-play and simulation, which allow everyone to practice following instructions thoroughly.
By applying the various knowledge above and creating standard operating procedures according to company needs, you will be able to increase team productivity and ensure the quality and consistency of the success of a business. Next, you can read examples of standard operating procedures that can be applied in companies