4 Reasons Why Every Print Shop Needs Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

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You may think that Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) are meant for large corporations with hundreds of employees and hundreds of pages of documented processes. The truth is, every business needs some form of SOPs, which are just step-by-step instructions to handle routine tasks in your business.

But why do most people miss this simple and valuable step in their business?

  • “I’m running this print shop with another partner, there’s no one else. We know how to run our business, we don’t need SOPs.”
  • “Things are fine just as they are, why do I need to make changes to it?”
  • “I’ve been running this business for a long time, I know how to deal with things as they come.”
  • “If I implement strict SOPs, my employees’ creativity and happiness will be affected, which is not good for business.”

Every business runs on certain standard operating procedures.  When an SOP is well-executed, it elevates your business because it gets easier to replicate high-quality prints and services consistently. Here are 4 reasons why creating an SOP is beneficial for your business.

1. Train New Employees Fast

Having an on-boarding SOP helps new employees understand how things are run in your business, what are their responsibilities and how to complete each process accordingly. With an SOP to refer, they can catch up much faster and can save up countless training hours. You can also easily outline the responsibilities and job descriptions for your employees.

2. Improve Productivity

When each process in your business has its own SOP, it acts as a guide to help you perform your tasks better within a specific time frame. You can use it to evaluate your performance according to the standards outlined by the SOP. This will lead to an increase in productivity while also lowering chances of mistakes occurring.

3. Maintain Work Quality

SOPs show us the work standard to achieve, and it does not guarantee that we can achieve that standard all the time. But with repetition of firm and clear SOPs, you can learn how to achieve that standard via digestible and repeatable tasks. Over time, you build these habits that increase chances of producing high quality work consistently. 

4. Reduce Costly Mistakes

When quality is maintained, you reduce risks and mistakes that can cost your business time and money. For example, if you don’t run regular cleaning cycles on your DTG printer, you risk spoiling the print heads which you may need to take apart your printer to fix it or replace it altogether. Thus, having an SOP for your employees to follow reduces costly mistakes. 

Where do I start?

As a business owner, you want your business to run efficiently. Creating SOPs is a long-term project and it may seem a little daunting. So we recommend you to take it step by step with these tips in mind:

  • Start now, start small. We suggest that you implement SOPs that cover the basics of your business processes rather than waiting for a perfect solution to come around. The goal is to build out your processes, standardize them, and continuously improve them over time, so don’t stress out on achieving perfection.
  • Continuously improve it. As you learn along the way, you will learn what works, what doesn’t, and which areas you can improve on. You can also get your team into giving feedback about how to make it better.
  • Determine which areas are under your purview and which aren’t. This goes back to accountability: what do you actually need to be involved with for your process?
  • Consult if this task is above your skill level. It is possible for everyone to construct their very own SOPs for their businesses. But sometimes, we need extra help to create a better SOPs. There are plenty of consultants and advisors out there who can help you achieve your standardized vision. 

Contrary to what some may believe, every business needs its own SOPs. It acts as a guide for your new employees, it improves work productivity, it is the referred standard your business adheres to, and it reduces costly mistakes. If this is your first time creating SOPs, start small, and work your way up as you learn more about your business operations. Soon, you have SOPs that works best for your business.