In certain industries such as life sciences, aviation etc. regulations place a responsibility on the organisation to provide end-to-end evidence of how activities are performed and proof of qualification of personnel undertaking these activities.
This requirement results in the creation of a hierarchy of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that attempt to describe in great detail how activities are performed. In most of these organisations, this results in the creation of hundreds of SOPs. Large, extended enterprises may have thousands of SOPs. Managing these SOPs is difficult and much of the language used in the SOPs is legalistic, archaic and ambiguous, making them difficult to access and interpret. Small wonder that external inspections regularly result in citations for non-common activities.
Some enlightened organisations are taking advantage of advances in technology to improve SOP management, by developing and delivering online SOPs by using Business Process Management Systems (BPMS).
This approach is providing considerable benefits:
- faster SOP development time
- faster and more thorough change management leading to quicker introduction of new SOPS, and the retirement and archival of old SOPs
- higher levels of adoption and adherence to SOPs
- role based user training on SOPs, using storyboards
- easy re-use of SOPs in new operations and facilities
Overriding these benefits is the real benefit of ‘getting it right first time and every time’.
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