Over the years, organisations have spent vast sums of money developing, documenting, implementing and managing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) (See Q.20).The theory is that with SOPs in place, people performing tasks are provided with clear instructions, making them more productive and making tasks repeatable with consistent outcomes. Management know that staff follow the clear instructions so it frees up management for higher value work and inspectors, auditors and regulators can trace a regulation through to an SOP or SOPs will prove that the regulation is implemented correctly.
Wouldn’t you think, then, that everyone would love their SOPs?
Sadly, the opposite is true. Mention of the words “SOP” or “SOPs” generally invokes a litany of woe; they don’t work, they don’t reflect reality, they are wrong, they can’t be found, they can’t be understood, they take too long to develop, they take too long to approve, it is a pain to change them, it takes too long to train on them, they are a good example of rampant bureaucracy.
The reality is that there is a major performance gap between what we expect from SOPs and what we actually get from SOPs.
In this TPSoP® White Paper, we share some findings and insights we have gained that cover a range of SOP problems and solutions including those relating to:
- Information Availability
- Compliance infrastructure
- Enterprise Governance and Flexibility