Standard operating processes and procedures are a key underpinning of efficient workplace management—especially for manufacturers.
By creating processes, you gain multiple direct benefits:
- Process repeatability: With standard procedures in place, the same process should be executed identically every time.
- Easier onboarding and training: By creating processes and procedures, you are also producing the basis of a training manual for new employees.
- A simplified audit and review process: By comparing results against standard operating procedures, you can more easily track performance and identify gaps.
There are also numerous added benefits to standard procedures, including:
- Improved safety: By incorporating workplace safety into the process, workers are aware that the right way to do something is the safe way.
- Process analysis: If you haven’t yet built out your standard operating procedures, creating processes will enable you to examine, analyze and improve your current practices.
Work process improvement ideas
As you go about creating processes and procedures, there are several best practices to keep in mind while working toward greater improvement:
- Simplify whenever possible: Your standard procedures should address just that — standard operation. A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule — document the procedure that can be expected to work 80% of the time. Contingent procedures and troubleshooting can be documented elsewhere, but don’t bog down the core document with every possible contingency.
- Analyze pain points: Are there consistent bottlenecks in your process, or recurring areas where customers are not 100% satisfied? By focusing on previously identified trouble areas, you stand to make the biggest gains in efficiency and service improvement.
- Find the low-hanging fruit: Perhaps you’ve identified a big-picture process issue that might take months to correct and implement, at a high resource cost. Don’t despair. There are likely to be “quick fix” areas — either elsewhere or as part of the issue — that can be addressed first. These incremental improvements will often yield fast and significant results, at a low resource cost.
- Talk to workers: The workers on the front lines — those with the hands-on, day-to-day experience — are the most current and, often, insightful on the state of your processes. This is where the most effective improvements stand to be made. Almost any work improvement process should start with conversations with those who know the processes best, and who will be the ones to implement new ones.
Process improvement solutions
When it comes to industrial maintenance, ATS has perfected the analysis, development, and implementation of manufacturing workplace standards and best practices for over three decades. We use our expertise to take the intensive and time-consuming steps of work process improvements off your hands — applying our experience and proven system to the needs of your operation. For more information about how we can help, contact us today.