Every organization has policies and documents explaining how a policy should be implemented. Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is basically a granular explanation of how a policy is to be implemented - who will perform the task, what requisites are necessary, where the task will take place, when the task shall be performed, and how the person will execute it. Every industry segment has several SOPs implemented in various sections of the business. Some of the examples of SOP are -
- Healthcare: Monitoring, clinical trials, medicines agency guidelines, dental surgery, health checkups, hospital and clinic maintenance, handling of equipment and sensitive drugs
- Hotels: Recipes, facility maintenance, personnel and personal hygiene, flow of food, communications, supplies management
- IT Infrastructure Operations: Change and configuration management, security management, upgrades and patch management
The SOP document serves as an instructional resource, step-by-step written procedure that helps employees to take action without requesting for guidance or assistance. SOP provides direction, guidelines and structure, kind of written documentation of best practices. Most importantly SOP provides stepping stone for employee training.
Management would expect the SOPs to be written in concise, step-by-step, easy-to-read format, present in simple and easy formats, light and precise documentation etc. however it does not happen in reality. SOPs, something supposedly so easy becomes quite complex document by the time it handed down to employees. SOPs are mostly wordy and full of diagrams and instructions difficult to trace.
I was interacting with one of the client organization who has SOPs for simple tasks in IT operations management and employees find it difficult to follow because of lengthy PDF documents. I suggested them to use to explore employee Smartphones and tablets and provide training on SOPs in visual, interactive, guided and modular way. mSOP mobile applications make the learning personal, portable and engaging than going through series of documents or product maintenance manuals etc.
Example below, an amazingly simple IT process of upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 8 step-by-step guide converted into mobile application.
The mSOP provides immediate, individualized access to the full range of information, guidance and assistance which through data, images, videos, animations, presentations about the SOP. The mSOP provides intuitive user interface, guided flow, hot-spot based navigation, engaging experience and provides an opportunity for you to channelize the existing digital learning or training content about the particular standard operating procedure.
In the subsequent sections will discuss about how mSOP can be used in the manufacturing and product maintenance domain.