The Power of Standard Operating Procedures: Top 10 Benefits of SOPs

Wuraola Ademola-Shanu
April 19, 2022
min read
November 10, 2023
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Discover the top 10 benefits of SOPs and how they can increase productivity, efficiency and employee safety. Improve your business operations with these SOP benefits.
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Smart managers know to train employees to be able to execute tasks without handholding them.

The best way to promote employee autonomy, allow them to enjoy doing what they do and guarantee consistent results is to develop standard operating procedures (SOPs).

This article will answer the question, “What are the benefits of SOPs” in an organization? We’ll explain the biggest advantages of implementing SOPs in your organization.

TL;DR: Benefits of SOPs

  • SOPs ensure consistency and reliability in delivering products and services.
  • SOPs help you achieve consistency, improve quality assurance and safety, save time and money, simplify employee management, avoid knowledge loss, simplify audits, and enhance autonomy.
  • They help maintain brand standards and improve quality assurance and safety.
  • SOPs standardize customer service and improve efficiency.
  • They make it easier to transfer work and serve as a checklist for proper performance.
  • SOPs also help meet legal requirements and support communication and consistency in operational systems.

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What are SOPs?

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are documented processes that a company must have in place to ensure the consistency of products and services delivered EVERY TIME.

Typically, SOPs are created to comply with industry regulations, company internal standards, and operational practices, and to document how specific tasks must be completed in an organization.

Often, when a company is in its infancy, the CEO or management team usually make all internal decisions. However, as the company begins to scale, this decision-making process can “shoot the company in the foot” and hinder your capacity to grow.

Scaling a business isn’t an easy feat; hence, the company’s CEO or leadership team wouldn't have the time to make all decisions or become involved in every facet of the business. In this situation, this is where SOPs come in swooping like knights on chariots, with swords raised to protect your company. SOPs would typically take over and act as an effective way to communicate changes in the way the business is run to employees.

‎It’s also important to note that SOP best practices and formats can vary based on industries. Let's take a look at a couple of SOP examples. Creative organizations could use flow charts as instructional guides. Compare this to an SOP manual for biotech or clinical details where requirements are precise to the T.

SOP formats can also differ based on the changes in your organization, the purpose of the SOP, or the industry regulations governing your business.

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What are the benefits of SOPs?

Providing structure and organization is one of the best ways for a business to succeed. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) can do anything ranging from training new employees to improving consistency and productivity levels, improving important operational processes, and even delivering exceptional customer service. Let's dive into the benefits of standard operating procedures.

1. Produce reliable results

Consistency is the most important SOP benefit since it’s the key to running a successful business. After all, a company might offer different products or services; however, they need to ensure that all offerings delivered to customers are consistent in terms of quality to keep them happy. 

With SOPs, the entire organization follows a standardized procedure that produces consistent results and leaves room for little to no error. If employees are performing their responsibilities in different ways deemed best for them, the probability of making mistakes, forgetting major steps, and reducing the quality of production is higher. 

Thanks to an SOP, you’re setting up your organization for success. You’re creating a culture of guaranteed reliability, quality control, and stakeholder safety. Additionally, for organizations with multiple outlets across a wider geography, SOPs ensure consistency in their day-to-day operations and clearly cement brand recall in the consumers’ minds.

2. Maintain consistency across your brand

Ensuring your brand is presented consistently and effectively across all touchpoints increases brand awareness and recognition is another key benefit of SOPs.

Think about it… You’ve worked so hard to ensure the company’s brand is perceived in a particular way (positively, of course). The organization has invested time, energy, and resources in getting its personality, look, feel, and tone right. It’s important to protect that hard work and investment by creating and maintaining a set of rules and branding standards.

Some variables you would want to cover include:

  • Social media SOPs that include policies on employee social media usage.
  • Use of company customized logos, colors and taglines in all marketing materials.
  • A style guide to ensure uniformity in all published written communications.
  • Guidelines for email formatting and signatures.
  • Rules for speaking to the media or any third party. 

3. Improve quality assurance & safety

Well-written and thorough SOPs enable employees to understand the company’s expected standards and results at each stage of any given task. For example, paying attention to detail during the manufacturing process is important to making top-notch products. For example, imagine that workers do not pay extra attention when producing cars or airplanes or conduct quality control before it is released. Your guess is as good as ours: Not only would it endanger consumer lives, but also drive the company to financial ruin.

This clearly shows that meeting quality standards isn't only important for exceptional customer experience, but for safety too. Plant Engineering’s 2019 Facility Maintenance Report showed that 12% of unplanned downtime was caused by operator error and that four out of ten facilities upgraded their equipment and improved/increased training.

What does this mean?

Using SOPs in manufacturing can reduce the chances of human errors that can result in safety hazards, equipment downtime, and the production of inferior products. 

This is why all businesses are mandated to conform to third-party industry standards. The International Organization, for example, publishes documented standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, AND ISO 27001 to serve multiple industries.

4. Standardize customer service

Another SOP benefit is ensuring consistency in the customer experience.

What would happen if a customer complained about a product or service, but your customer success team representative didn't know the right thing to say? Or know how to resolve the issue? There’s a high chance of losing that customer and potential referrals that could come from that dissatisfied customer (86 percent of consumers will leave a brand after only two to three bad customer service experiences).

This is why attracting a new customer is up to nine times more expensive than retaining a current one, and about one in three people (30 percent) say the most important aspect of customer service is speaking with a knowledgeable and friendly agent.

Companies without SOPs would find that their customer service experience is subpar every time they need to solve a customer complaint or when customers have to speak to multiple personnel over resolving just one issue. And for customers? 72 percent believe having to explain their problem to multiple people is poor customer service.

Customers want to work with companies that are reliable and not those that wouldn’t follow up with an angry customer because there are no standardized procedures about proper follow-up times or how to let customers know about new customer service inquiries and policies. 

Customer service SOPs can reduce call handling time by empowering agents with proper documentation and standard response templates.

‎SOPs not only give the right results to your customers via customer service, but they also ensure that the customer service team is doing the right thing for your customers.

5. Improve efficiency

Imagine wanting to make a critical business decision, only to be delayed by a simple question on how to do something or perform a particular task.

A contract might not get signed because an employee doesn't know who has the final say. An organization’s purchasing department might not know to whom to send budgets and invoices to for approval. The same goes for an organization losing out on talented candidates because an HR employee doesn't know who gives the final approval for salaries for new employees. HR SOPs set up Human Resources and other departments are set up for success.

This is where the benefits of SOPs come in. SOPs can remove a lot of guesswork and questions that can slow down an organization’s decision-making process. When there’s a defined SOP for the company’s most important tasks, the organization moves like a well-oiled machine, and it also makes it easier for employees to get things done, whether it’s their first or umpteenth time.


6. Streamline processes

Streamlining your business processes is another SOP benefit. As industries and markets change, organizations need to adapt their existing processes to stay competitive. SOPs can help you identify areas where internal processes can be simplified, automated or made more efficient. This could involve eliminating unnecessary steps, integrating new technologies, or reorganizing workflows.

Another benefit of SOPs is that they can help you identify any bottlenecks within your organization. By regularly reviewing SOPs and creating a process improvement plan, you can identify these bottlenecks and take necessary actions to address them. This could involve reassigning tasks, reallocating resources or implementing new technologies.

‎Streamlining your workplace’s processes not only helps you save time and resources but also enhances overall effectiveness.

7. Helps to transfer work easily

Most employees take a sick day here and there or even a PTO. However, what happens in the case of an extended absence, especially if there isn’t an SOP in place? Chaos happens…in its purest form.

SOPs make it easier to transform routine processes to another employee. Comprehensively explaining how a task or project should be completed ensures that any employee can complete activities with little to no supervision.

8. Serves as a checklist to reinforce proper performance

Caring about fellow workers while carrying out their duties involves one worker teaching another about all the aspects of great job performance. SOPs lend their benefits because a colleague can coach and help a fellow colleague on how to get things done and improve their work skills.

9. Meet compliance and legal requirements

Depending on your industry, SOPs might be required to protect your employees and even customers—and ensure that the company wouldn't be held responsible for anything wrong, in the face of litigation.

10. Streamline audits and improves process performance

SOPs play a crucial role in streamlining audits and improving process performance. By identifying deviations and incidents, SOPs enable you to quickly assess the current state of the process. This helps in auditing the process and identifying any gaps between the documented and actual performance.

For instance, in the financial industry, SOPs can outline the procedures for conducting audits, verifying transactions or handling sensitive customer information. By following these guidelines, employees can avoid errors that may lead to financial discrepancies or breaches of confidentiality.

SOPs also provide a reference point for evaluating and enhancing processes. This allows for easy review in case of any incident investigation, helping organizations identify the root causes and take corrective actions to prevent similar scenarios in the future.

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Why do you need SOPs in your organization?

It’s also important to note that a standard operating procedure is different from policies and procedures.

While SOPs lean more towards a standardized way to get things done within an organization, policies and processes give employees more leeway to improvise. As a result, policies and procedures can generate the possibility of producing standardized products or services, but an SOP guarantees that a product or service is produced the same way, every time.

If you're not already convinced, here are a few more benefits of SOPs:

  • Help with communication: SOPs make it easier to communicate process changes to employees.
  • Support consistency: The more consistent a process is carried out, irrespective of the assignee, the less chance of delivering substandard products or services to customers.
  • Drive continuous improvement: Regularly evaluating and updating SOPs ensures that your organization is always striving to be better, adapting to new challenges, and staying ahead of the competition.
  • Minimize errors: When team members perform tasks or activities using the SOP, there’s little to no chance of making errors. 
  • Allows employees to focus on value-added tasks rather than getting caught up in redundant or time-consuming activities.

SOP benefits for small businesses

While SOPs are valuable for all organizations, especially larger ones in technical industries, we want to address the benefits for small businesses specifically.

Small businesses often lack the necessary resources to implement SOPs. But SOPs can bring numerous benefits to small businesses, including:

  • Implementing SOPs can transform a small business from being person-driven to process-driven, resulting in improved efficiency and productivity.
  • SOPs enable small businesses to deliver superior customer service at a low cost, particularly for employees with less experience and qualifications.
  • SOPs demonstrate an SMB's commitment to process improvement, enhancing credibility—especially in a B2B environment.
  • SOPs provide a global view of processes, helping small businesses identify opportunities for automation and streamlining.
  • SOPs can be applied to every aspect of the small business, including sales, administration, HR, marketing, IT, safety, and hygiene.
  • SOPs can help small businesses bring consistency and efficiency to tasks and processes, ensuring they are performed consistently and efficiently.

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Streamline SOPs with Scribe

Use Scribe to create step-by-step SOPs in seconds - Benefits of SOPs

‎Not sure how to implement SOPs or how to speed up your SOP process? Scribe is an AI-powered process documentation tool that does your SOP documentation for you. With Scribe, you can document and socialize best practices in seconds.

Scribe auto-generates step-by-step SOPs that are easy to create, store and share via link, embed or export. Click on the Scribe extension, go through your process, and Scribe creates a visual SOP. Illustrate complex processes with clean and concise steps, annotated screenshots, text and click targets.

Start with one of our pre-built templates, or ask Scribe's generative AI to write your documentation for you.

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Use Scribe's generative AI to write SOPs

You can easily add additional information, clarify steps, or include relevant tips and tricks. Scribe allows you to customize your SOP by incorporating visuals, such as images, screenshots, diagrams, videos, and more to improve comprehension.

Scribe user Nate McCallister shares how easy it is to create SOPs in just a few quick steps.

Easily share your SOPs by sending link, or export the SOP in various formats, such as PDF or HTML, or embedding in your favorite platform or learning management system.

Wrapping up: top SOP benefits

SOP benefits include increasing productivity, increasing employee safety, standardizing customer service, improving efficiency, and improving employee training and management—all things that a forward-thinking organization should invest in. The benefits of SOPs and return on investment (ROI) are worth it!

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