Implementing an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)

by Lawton Brothers | Jul 22, 2021

Consistency and correct use of materials are key in maintaining a clean and welcoming atmosphere in your facility. However, it’s quite rare for everyone to do things in the same manner. That’s why many businesses have implemented Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) around sanitation. These are commonly referred to as SSOPs (Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures) and provide consistency, reliability, and cost savings. Used properly, standards align objectives between employees and can pave the way for future creative solutions to new problems.

Writing Your SSOP

The first step in writing your SSOP is to make a list of the most common and repetitive tasks. Order the tasks according to frequency and include details next to task names. You may not know all of the tasks that are involved in cleaning your facility. Be sure to communicate and ask for input from employees, especially those who are familiar with previous or current cleaning processes. Write out a detailed description for each task, including what, how, and when to clean specific items. Once you have a general procedure outlined, you can put it to the test and alter it as often as necessary. Assign and automate routine tasks and update your SSOP at least once per year.

SSOP Outline

Generally speaking, an SOP includes details on what to clean, how to clean it, how frequently it should be cleaned, and how to monitor or track the completion of procedures. When starting out, completely describe the appropriate steps in a numbered sequence, adding notes for clarification as you go. Write in simple and concise language that is easy to read and consider alternate versions for employees whose first language is not English.

The common elements included in an SSOP are:

  • Company Name
  • Date (most recent update or effective date)
  • Version ID
  • SSOP Number (optional for companies with multiple SOPs or versions of documents)
  • Title (the name of the procedure or program)
  • Scope or Introduction (what is covered)
  • Frequency (how often this should be done)
  • Procedures: Step-by-step instructions. Use a logical, sequential order/ Add notes as needed for clarification.
  • Specify: chemicals (type, brand name), chemical concentration, time, temperature. Break into sections for multiple tasks.
  • Recordkeeping. Identify which forms or logs are used. Example: chemical concentration logs.
  • Person responsible for the SSOP content and updates. Include signature and date lines.
  • Page numbers

    Implementing Your SSOP

    Once you’ve completed your first draft, test it out! Ask one of your employees to follow the SSOP directions exactly and time how long it takes someone on their first attempt. Request feedback from those who test your procedures and implement changes as needed. Over time, your SSOP will support structure in your business and increases productivity and output. As mentioned above, revisit your procedures at least once a year for editing.

    Give us a Call

    Whether you’re looking for a template for your Operating Procedures or you have questions about your current cleaning regimen, give Lawton Brothers a call today! As your choice for janitorial products, supplies, and equipment in Central Florida since 1946, we have all the experience you need with our staff of fully certified professionals. Give us a call today and see how you can get a free cleaning audit: 800.432.0813.

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