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Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

Do you need structure and standardization in your factory regarding production processes and procedures? Then a ‘Standard Operating Procedure’, also called SOP, is suitable for your production company. By means of an SOP, the guarantee and improvement of the quality of a product is made efficient. Also, SOPs have another goal; standardizing the way of working by operators. This will result in fewer human errors causing unplanned downtime or quality issues.

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What is a SOP?

A ‘Standard Operating Procedure’, abbreviated as SOP, is a work instruction that describes in detail and visually indicates how a particular procedure should be performed by an operator. This with the aim of creating uniformity in the execution of operations and thereby achieving consistency in the end result. For example, for converting a production line, dissolving an issue or cleaning a sensor. A SOP is also used as a reference document for new employees, if they have not yet gained enough knowledge and experience to carry out certain procedures and processes. These work instructions are often recorded on paper and are located in folders in cabinets on the shop floor. Operators spend a lot of time searching for these documents and reading these instructions. By digitizing the Standard Operating Procedures, the operator always has the latest version at hand in the form of the EZ-GO app on a smart device. The benefits of a digital work instruction include:

  1. High safety awareness
  2. Decrease in unplanned downtime of machines
  3. Smaller amounts of waste, quality defects and recalls
  4. Up-to-date and visual work instructions
  5. Efficient processes
  6. Mobile inspections at each location
  7. Operators involved in continuous improvement
  8. Easy-to-reach digital checklists

All this means that you no longer have to regularly update and redistribute your paper SOP. This way you create a paperless factory.

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How do you write a Standard Operating Procedure?

Regarding safety and quality, it is important that employees carry out the necessary steps in the production process in detail. Do you want to obtain a certain ISO certificate? Then an SOP is the ideal way for you to document the necessary steps. In this way, a SOP provides support for your desired ISO certificate. But how should a Standard Operating Procedure be written?

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How do you write a SOP?

Determine the end result or goal for the SOP. For example, if you write a document describing the procedures for keeping the machines in optimal condition, the goal is to maintain the machines properly and to ensure safety. This can be done with preventive maintenance.

Chances are your company already has some SOP’s written for different procedures in the past. You can easily refer to those documents as templates for preference formatting guidelines.

  • Hierarchical step layout
  • A flowchart
  • Easy step size

Bring the team together and ask them how they think the task or procedures should be executed. These are the people you are going to ask to stick to the SOP, so you want to make sure that it makes sense to them and that all the necessary steps are included. There will be multiple concepts and reviews. Be sure to invite your team to review the concepts so they can make additional suggestions. For example, employees often have bathed in work through autonomous maintenance. 

It is possible that the SOP you are working on may depend on other SOP’s and teams in other departments to be successfully completed. Determine whether it is sufficient to refer to those other procedures or whether you should add them to the current standard operating procedures document. You may need a flow chart or a map to clearly define dependencies and those responsible.

Knowing your audience helps you determine how to shape your SOP. What is the foreknowledge of your target audience? Does your target group fully master your language, in which you will write the SOP? How long has your target audience been working within your company? Take these questions into account in order to be able to tailor your SOP to the target group as best you can.

Write a draft of your standard procedure and consider include some of the following:

  1. Title page
  2. Index
  3. The specific procedures

Check for review of the SOP every 6 to 12 months to identify areas in which it can be improved and to identify any changes made to the current procedures.

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Standard Operating Procedure with EZ Factory

By digitizing a SOP or working instruction, the operator always has them at hand in the form of the EZ-GO app on a smart device. As a result, he is able to work much more efficiently, and he will also be more inclined to take it with him if he needs the reference book when performing an operation in the right way.

To make the day-to-day work of operators clearer and more fun, we have developed an app for digitizing work instructions, checklists, autonomous maintenance tasks and audits. This allows the safety, quality and efficiency on the shop floor to be increased. Digitizing SOPs will reduce the number of unexpected failures, increase the availability of your machines, ensure quality and extend the life of your machines. This prevents unnecessary revenue loss and disappoints customers.

When you log in to the app, you’ll see at a glance what your core tasks will be for that day. This increases safety, quality and efficiency. What is unique about EZ-GO is that we focus on the operator. Our slogan is: “Power to the Operator!” After all, this is the man or woman in the workplace who performs the tasks and can identify where and how processes can be optimized. Our goal is therefore to make their daily work easier and more enjoyable!

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