Tips for Standard Operating Procedures (SOP):

  • Setting up too many procedures to avoid customer complaints is often a big mistake. Procedures should be simple and efficient, not just numerous for the sake of it.
  • Business owners/managers should not only ‘manage’; excessive management without refining processes makes operations more complicated.
  • Management tools should help the business owners/managers to oversee everything clearly. Records and reports need to be straightforward and easy to understand.

We previously shared a case study about the transformation of an education center specializing in survival skills for both children and adults. They were established for a decade and had three branches, but right after their business expansion, they encountered a significant challenge which the managers got busier, yet the business failed to grow and standstill.

We identified three main issues during our restructuring process for the company, which are related to employees, work processes, and management tools. (Read More)

Let’s take a closer look at how to navigate processes and management tools when a company seems to be at a standstill.

Issue 1: Complex processes and procedures…

Let’s start with the company’s work processes. We have identified a significant challenge in this company, which is that their long-tail work processes are really complicated.

This is a common issue which many business owners encounter. They tend to have multiple directives in order to achieve the management goals, as there is a notable fear of overlooking any aspect that might lead to customer dissatisfaction due to inadequate service.

As a result, the company frequently implements complex and convoluted work processes, leading to redundant reports to meet management’s directives.

Solution Step 1: Streamlining the work processes

Referring to the above, the primary step is to identify the convoluted procedures whether it is aligned with the fundamental principles of the operational procedures, which are efficiency and effectiveness. The primary purpose of implementing standard operating procedures is to be effective; otherwise, any ineffectiveness results in immediate wastage.

Streamlining processes begins with adhering to the company’s directional goals. The set goal for this educational center is to provide higher standards of services (at a price) compared to the competitors.

Solution Step 2: Identify management priorities within operational processes

Business operations encompass five main aspects: procurement, order processing, quality control, delivery, customer service, and marketing. However, there are no physical products which need to involve ‘procurement’ processes for this education center but only offering training courses and service packages.

Given that these service packages are conveyed through human interaction, the key emphasis in the “procurement” stage is on identifying and managing the service providers—particularly, the trainers.

When it comes to selecting the trainers, we are taking a bold step by elevating the recruitment requirements.

Essentially, this principle is not overly grandiose; it is comparable to a high-end restaurant carefully selecting premium ingredients. Just like how quality ingredients contribute to well-prepared dishes, the same holds true for them to provide good training programs with quality trainers.

Solution Step 3: Develop standard operating procedures (SOP)

We have meticulously standardized various aspects of their business operations, covering recruitment requirements and professional conduct for employees, advancement criteria, training requisites, skills and knowledge assessments, test standards, and procedures for skill reinforcement.

We arranged a two-day discussion session to fine tune the work processes and standards with their team. They have shown exceptional cooperation to work together throughout the process.

Issue 2: Excessive Reports and Records

We highly emphasize on ‘Quality Control’. A critical aspect in the pure service industry is the simultaneous presence of two key entities—the customer and the service practitioner.

At this juncture, if either party is unprepared (due to deviations in the practitioner’s service delivery or variances in the customer’s service expectations), the resulting outcome is unlikely to meet the desired standards.

Hence, leveraging tools becomes essential to achieve a “win-win” scenario.

Solution Step 1: Revise & Standardize Reports

After reviewing their inspection methods, we have made necessary adjustments to the inspection reports. We have introduced an accessible quality inspection report, allowing customers to review, understand, and track progress. This not only strengthens confidence but also prevents deviations in expectations.

Concurrently, we have streamlined the quality inspection process, with particular adjustments made to the follow-up procedures related to reports and records.

The company is proficient in management but often expends excessive effort on control, leaving insufficient resources or knowledge for necessary corrections.

In managing subsequent document analysis, we integrate quality control performance with human resources strategies to establish a comprehensive standard. The primary goal is to ensure there are no loopholes, preventing practitioners from having reasons or excuses not to adhere to various standards.

Solution Step 2: Refining Record-Keeping Practices

Certainly, while streamlining the work processes, we have made concurrent modifications and adjustments to the management tools. This enhances the clarity of records, offering a transparent overview, and enables the management to concentrate on overseeing operations, ultimately saving significant time and effort that would otherwise be unnecessary.

Presently, the company is actively gearing up for the launch of its fourth branch. It aligns with the planned transformation route, gradually implementing strategies. As their SOP service consultant, we are genuinely enthusiastic about their future development.

If you have any questions, or interested to review the SOP for your company, feel free to contact us at  WhatsApp | | Facebook | LinkedIn .

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