Procedures Give Your Business a Backbone

whale vertebrae assembled into backbone

What advantages does a business have by creating and updating their procedures? Standard Working Procedures (SWP) or business procedures can seem like a futile exercise. Procedures are a business tool that aligns the backbone of your business.

Procedures are an exercise in breaking your business down into defined segments. A series of procedures are used to describe a process.

A business’s process needs to be flexible, like a backbone. The steps in the overall process help give that movement structure. The steps are guidelines that sometimes move. Some procedures are in a critical position and are used often. Whilst other procedures are often forgotten until the procedure causes some pain.

Think of my writing services like a fitness trainer for your processes and procedures. Your business has a backbone, but the instructions making up that backbone need a little training.

Procedures Need Alignment

Procedures need to be reviewed as part of an overall process. People doing the work, such as people operating the machinery or meeting with customers, should be part of the alignment. Think about which steps each person in a chain of events should do. Summarise their steps.

Look for when a set of steps move from one person or department to another. Identify the steps on either side of this break as separate steps. The people doing the work can help you define why and how the transition happens. The transition can be summarised in a process flow diagram, showing the decision or direction of activity between multiple groups of steps.

Ask me to work with you to organise your procedures. I work with you to build a self-sustaining system of documents. I’ll help you start, finish or tune your existing procedures.

Steps Outline Your Business Operations

The steps you write work like a checklist-of-actions (what to and do when). The training document should detail what each person is looking for and how the steps in the procedure are completed.

A training or induction program adds some muscle to the procedure. Training shows a people how to do their tasks. People reference the procedure instead of referencing the training.

The outline reminds people of the sequence in the training, especially when performing a job for the first time. The procedure is also a reference tool when a long amount of time passes between infrequent jobs.

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Obsolete Documents Can Hurt a Business

Procedures get old and sometimes no longer apply. Changes in technology, regulations or market can make a procedure obsolete. In fact, old procedures can hurt a business.

Procedures need to be assigned to a person who manages the steps. That person is responsible for reviewing the procedure every year the steps get older. The person who owns one or mores pieces (a procedure) is responsible for letting others in the business know about major changes.

Obsolete steps should be removed or updated. When a procedure has deteriorated and more than 1/3 of the steps are outdated, the procedure should be rewritten or retired.

Strengthen Your Productivity

Slim down the documents you have. Make sure the structure of your procedures fit your process. Give your business some backbone. Strengthen your productivity with solid procedures.

Rely on me to proof-read your processes, procedures, standards and training documents. I will track down missing information, duplicate information, and mismatched information. My fellow writer’s and I are available to write or edit documents including training materials, procedures, and supporting documents.