SOP 5 Steps: How to Write Standard Operating Procedures【Excel Template】

SOP 5 Steps: How to Write Standard Operating Procedures【Excel Template】

(Duration: 6:07)

DOWNLOAD  ← Click this to download the “Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)” template file.

 

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How to Write an Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

 

Hi, this is Mike Negami, Lean Sigma Black Belt.

 

While I was helping one of my viewers’ project, it became necessary to make an Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

 

By the way, if you have a question while conducting a project, please feel free to contact me through econoshift.com.

 

The Standard Operating Procedure, AKA SOP is a document in which the best practices of a process are listed step by step. All operators are required to follow those steps.  It is a very important document for achieving standardization in business.

 

In a process improvement project for a service operation, they often finish a project by making an SOP of newly designed processes and train their operators according to the SOP.

 

I made an SOP Excel template for you this time. Please click the link in this video’s description, and download and try the template.

 

DOWNLOAD  ← Click this to download the “Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)” template file.

 

How to Use the SOP Excel Template

 

There are instructions for making an SOP on the right side from the template .

1) Clarify the target process.

Where are the beginning and end of the process? Why did you need to write this SOP? What kind of problems are there? What do you want to improve most? Please write these down on paper.

 

2) Clarify the audience of this SOP.

Who will read it? Which operators in this process will read it? How experienced in the process are they? How much do they know business jargon? Write these down too.
Basically, you should make one SOP for each position. If operation steps are different depending on operators, you have to make an SOP for each operator.

 

3) Determine the format of the SOP.

There is no single format that can apply to all SOP’s. Here are three major formats.  There are two factors which you can refer to in deciding a format. One is if the process has many decisions that change operations depending on situations, and the other is if the process has many steps or not.

 

SOP Format Guideline Table

 

When your target process has few decisions and few steps, use the “Simple Step Format”. It shows process steps with just bullets.

 

When there are few decisions, but many steps, use the “Hierarchical Step Format”. Categorize the steps and write them hierarchically. It looks like this:

 

If your target process has many decisions and many steps, use the “Flowchart Format”. You can also use this format for complex processes when your process goes back and forth between departments and operators.

 

I made a flowchart template and ‘How to use it’ video earlier, so please click this link and watch the video.

 

4) Write the process steps in a timeline.

If you’re not familiar with the operation, find the best performers and have interviews with them.

 

Here is one very important thing: the best standard operation should have been established before starting to write an SOP. Obviously, it’s meaningless to make an SOP based on poor process steps.

 

SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) Completed

 

This template is for the “Simple Step Format” and “Hierarchical Step Format”.

 

First, fill in your general information in the top section. This template has only the minimum necessary item fields.

 

There are two remark sections, so if you need other necessary item fields, change the field names and use them.

 

Write the process steps of the target operator in chronological order. Write while envisioning that you are doing the work while reading this SOP.

 

The most important thing in writing an SOP is to “make it concise and easy to understand”. You may want to add images and charts.

 

Furthermore, your SOP also needs to cover all necessary information to carry out the work, such as tools to use, precautions and so on. Conversely, do not include any information that is not directly necessary for that work. It would not be “concise and easy to understand”.

 

Since the worker will always be the subject of each sentence, write “do this task” and “how” without subjects.

 

5) Have both high performers and inexperienced people try out your completed SOP, then adjust and improve it.

This SOP becomes your company’s business know-how and a treasure. By documenting it, not only will it advance the standardization of the company, but you can also further improve the process steps. Keep making effort to further improve the completed SOP.

 

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3 thoughts on “SOP 5 Steps: How to Write Standard Operating Procedures【Excel Template】

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