The first day on the job is always an exciting experience for any new employee. A new chance to show your skills, meet new people and grow in a new organization. Excited to learn something new in training you get thrown to the wolves and here the phrase "you will figure it out." That can be a bit scary to say the least. Surprisingly as you start figuring out everything has procedures connected to it. Three days later and you have mastered erp, assembly and every office function in the organization. A bit surprised by this you're off to a great start!
If any of us are lucky enough to run into this type of situation we should be at that organization for the rest of our lives. On boarding can be scary, exciting and a whole degree of other emotions. But when someone before you takes the time to develop a successful process that is documented On-boarding can be one of the easiest points of your life.
It really only takes a few successful attempts at a process and you have your standard already. That's right it can be that simple. Let's look at one example of how using standard operating procedures can have a major impact on an organization. About 12 months ago a local manufacturing shop decided to upgrade there erp system. If you have ever been through an erp implementation you know already there are thousands of hours of training, data cleansing and correcting that are a part of the process. Once all of that is done the hope is that employees are off and running with the new system. Maybe, if you're lucky. But most of the time it can be months if not years before everyone has mastered the new functions and tools available to them. This organization knew that the transition would be a struggle and that revenue, shipments and many other processes would be affected by there decision. Having this knowledge before hand employees went through training on there new erp system (Avante) and made a smart decision to also train there employees how to create standard operating procedures.
Why did they do this?
The initial recommendation was not well accepted, however as time went on it became clear that attempting to remember all that everyone was learning was even less of an option. Eventually implementation and the training was pushed back. Shortly after the implementation was pushed back training began on how employees could document each function and share with there group. Shortly after the "standards" training was completed the organization restarted there training on erp. This time employees were equipped with Standard Operating Procedure templates to capture the learning in real time and test in a sandbox after training. Employees relentlessly tested, tweaked and established procedures for almost 70% of the organizations core functions that would need to be performed. When launch day came employees had each of there procedures close by. Much to the surprise of the entire organization it seemed easier than the prior erp system. When asked "why" employees remarked it was these standard operating procedures they made everything so much easier.
How does this apply to other areas of business and life?
Have you ever had something troubling that you needed to do over and over again? Maybe you only performed the activity every now and then. No matter how often you do something whether it's entering a sales order, assembling parts or just getting to the right setting on your computer standards document the best successful practice of any process this way it can be repeated time and time again and eventually improved upon. The best part about a standard procedure is it can be used on virtually anything from manufacturing, service, software and even in your home.
Though you may not work in a shop or ever be a part of a huge erp implementation standards set the bar high and sometimes low but no matter where it's set the standard will work. Here's a copy of the template used in the same erp implementation in this week's listen to the gemba, try it out for yourself. Please not though the macros and coding were removed from the format used in the Avante implementation so that everyone can use it. If you are interested in using the format that has a form in it, which makes loading your data into the SOP a little easier and cleaner just send us a message and we would be happy to share.
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