SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) vs. Policies, Procedures and Work Instructions

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#1
I stopped using the term SOPs in 1992 and went to the more ISO 900x friendly terms of policies, procedures and work instructions. At this division, we have lots of technical and supervisory personnel who were hired not only from competitors, but also from other countries. I have found that a lot of the folks from outside the USA still use SOP in their lingo. Unfortunately, I have also found that they do not necessarily use SOP in a standardized way. Some of them use SOP to define procedures, others work instruction, and sometimes to mean any or all tiers.

What terminology do you use?

What tier of documentation do you think of when someone uses the term SOP?

I realize that it really doesn't matter as long as the terminology is consistent and works within our system, but I really find that SOP as used here is just a tad bit vague. Or am I just being too anal?:biglaugh: (putting on my kevlar and turnout gear for this one!)

Thanks Cove members, and especially Marc for all the great info we get here.
 

Mike S.

An Early 'Cover'
#2
Steel,

I think you're right that for the most part it "doesn't matter as long as the terminology is consistent and works within our system". However, here's what I did for 9001-1994:

LEVEL 1 = QUALITY POLICY MANUAL
LEVEL 2 = DEPARTMENTAL PROCEDURES
LEVEL 3 = WORK INSTRUCTIONS (and ROUTERS)
LEVEL 4 = RECORDS

Level 3's sometimes get called "SOP's" or "Process Instructions" or even "procedures" informally during discussions, mainly because, as you say, there seems to be different terms used in different companies and some people who have come from other companies continue to use what they are familiar with. Somehow, we all seem to know what each other is talking about. I'm not sure yet what naming convention I'll use for 9001:2000. Maybe this thread will give me inspiration...
 

Douglas E. Purdy

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
SOP SI DSI WI - All Procedures

SteelMaiden,

I was raised back in the late 70's to mid 80's with SOP for Standard Operating Procedures and if in a Corporation there would be Coporate Policies. But for the most part there wasn't much more as far as a documented structure. It wasn't until later 80's that the traditional documentation pyramid was presented to me.

The attached presentation presents the pyramid (3D) as I currently develop systems. It is different than others, mostly in that in my thinking the traditional 'forms' & 'records' level is a part of each level, not a level onto its own.

As for the third (Bottom)level I distinquish between System Instructions and Departmental Specific Instructions, BUT that does not stop me from having Work Instructions (involving manufacturing operations), Calibration Instructions, Inspection Instructions, etc.
 

Attachments

E

energy

Guest
#4
I'm really archaic

Steel,

Believe it or not, we use the prefix QAP for all documents (Except Engineering). What does it mean? Everybody knows. Quality Assurance Procedures. Why? People constantly referred to "Quality Assurance documents/procedures when inquiring about what do they need for the ISO effort. As the Document Control person and the "Publisher" of our documents/procedures, I gave them what they want. Doesn't really matter what you call them. On rare occasions, I will hear the term S.O.P. during a meeting involving new hires and invariably someone asks "what are those?" For some reason, wish I knew:vfunny: , our employees show more concern for what they perceive as a "Quality" document/procedure. Personally, I think they also like to say the word "Quality" subconsciously because "Standard" doesn't sound as good to them. Makes them feel like a part of something important. It is ain't it?:vfunny:
:ko: :smokin:
 
N

noboxwine

Guest
#5
Here's mine

Quality Manual= Useless, but there, 'cause the standard says so! What a value! No ROI= Continuous Improvement? Anyway, only 3 hours of my life that I'll never get back.

Process Instructions= Any document in any useful format that defines how work objectives are achieved. This covers the Big 6 and others as needed.

Quality Documents= Anything other than a Process Instruction that aids in meeting work objectives or shows evidence of conformance.

Records= Said evidence of conformance.

Bar Napkins= Still the best for Process Mapping and Design
(ok, now I am done)

And a Good Day to All

:D
 

massfrompak

Involved In Discussions
#6
Re: SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) vs. Policies, procedures and work instructio

I think procedures consist of interection between different departments in form of input/output & work instructions only tells some one how to operate the job.

Ahsan Saleem:truce:
 
F

fireonce

Guest
#7
Re: SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) vs. Policies, procedures and work instructio

We use SOP = WI ,which is called 3rd level document in our company,Quality manual is called 1st level document,and common procedure is called 2nd level document.
 

JaneB

Inactive Registered Visitor
#8
Re: SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) vs. Policies, procedures and work instructio

Some of them use SOP to define procedures, others work instruction, and sometimes to mean any or all tiers.

What terminology do you use?
Whatever the client organisation likes and works for them. Some like SOP for everything (procedures, instructions etc), some loathe the term.

In general, I tend to think of them as roughly:
Level 1, Policy
Level 2, Process
Level 3, Procedure
Level 4, instruction/checklist etc. ('work instruction' if you insist)

But I work with organisations ranging from very small (a few people) up to very large (hundreds). Naturally the amount & type of doco they have varies accordingly.

What tier of documentation do you think of when someone uses the term SOP?
Middle, usually - ie, procedures. Could also be processes.
 
Q

QC Kid

Guest
#9
Re: SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) vs. Policies, procedures and work instructio

I tend to call documents what they are and place more importance on their purpose.
A manual can be vague or as detailed as you require. A procedure should outline a process in as much detail needed to complete the procedure. A work instruction should clearly define the work to accomplish and eliminate possibility of confusion. A report should be complete and accurate. Records, logs and lists should be maintained.
 

Peter Fraser

Trusted Information Resource
Trusted
#10
Re: SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) vs. Policies, procedures and work instructio

I tend to call documents what they are and place more importance on their purpose.
A manual can be vague or as detailed as you require. A procedure should outline a process in as much detail needed to complete the procedure. A work instruction should clearly define the work to accomplish and eliminate possibility of confusion. A report should be complete and accurate. Records, logs and lists should be maintained.
Good, simple and clear! I especially like the fact that you do not imply that a "process" is any sort of document - it is "what is done" (whether described or not). This still seems to cause a lot of confusion. (A process description could be a procedure)

I tend to use "WI" for something done by 1 person ("take this away, do it and don't come back until it is finished").
 

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