When writing standard operating procedures, managers can choose a number of different ways to organize and format them. Your goal is to create a document that is easy for the reader to understand and helpful for the work at hand.
Two factors determine what type of SOP to use (Figure 3). First, how many decisions will the user need to make during the procedure? Second, how many steps and substeps are in the procedure? Routine procedures that are short and require few decisions can be written using thesimple steps format. Long procedures consisting of more than ten steps, with few decisions, should be written in hierarchical steps format or in a graphic format. Procedures that require many decisions should be written in the form of a flowchart.
|Many Decisions?||More than 10 steps?||Best SOP format|
|No||Yes||Hierarchical or Graphic|
Generally, a milking procedure is very repetitive and requires few decisions. In this case, a simple set of steps like those in Figure 2 is sufficient. The SOP in Figure 2 does not contain much detail. A thorough training program would be necessary to make sure that new milkers understand how to perform each step in the procedure. Unfortunately, this low level of detail still leaves a lot of room for milkers to interpret the procedure. This SOP could work in a situation where only a few people milk.
A dairy striving for very consistent work should use a more detailed and precise format for most SOPs. The hierarchical steps format (see Figure 4) allows the use of easy-to-read steps for experienced users while including more detailed substeps as well. Experienced users may only refer to the substeps when they need to, while beginners will use the detailed substeps to help them learn the procedure.
Clarity Farms Parlor SOP #1, Basic Milking Procedure
Effective Date: Feb. 1, 2000
Developed by Parlor Staff
a) This course is specially designed to provide technical knowledge and skills to cope with the requirement of System Administration and/or Server Administration occupations of the IT sector. The course will be implemented to ensure at least 67% of total contact hours on practical/hands on skills training or practice and 33% trade/occupations related theory including OHS and soft modules;
b) The course is designed to enable trainees to acquire a range of technical and vocational, practical, personal and organizational skills valued and utilized both within and beyond the workplace;
c) The course is designed to meet the required competencies of the occupations needed in the IT labor market in and outside the country;