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5 reasons why your business needs to digitise SOPs

Sebastian Vowels
Implementation Consultant

This article is one of our favourites from around the web. We've included an excerpt below but do go and read the original!

Original source:
  • January 10, 2023
  • Digitisation

Businesses across mining, METS and advanced manufacturing are looking for ways to improve efficiency, enable remote access and streamline processes. Many are turning to cloud platforms and digitisation as the baseline to their solutions.

One area that companies often overlook is digitising Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). 

We’ve all worked with SOPs, either writing or performing, but many are still kept in a dusty folder (coffee stains included) and can go on for 30+ pages without really providing us with practically useful information.

The time has come to digitise your SOPs, and let me tell you why.

A quick word on ‘digitising’

You might think to yourself ‘but all our SOPs are already written on the computer’.

When we say digitising, we don’t mean just the authoring of your SOPs. We mean the complete lifecycle of authoring, distributing, completing, revising and reporting. So before you cut yourself too much slack, read on.

1. Automatic revisioning

The first and most obvious benefit of digitising SOPs is automatic revisioning. With traditional, paper-based SOPs, it can be difficult to ensure that everyone is working off the most current version. How familiar does this sound:

“Which email did you send it to? No, we can’t use that one, it's got a typo. Oh, Bob’s got it, wait… Bob’s using version 3, but we’re up to 24…”

It's a huge frustration for those of you charged with keeping order. But even worse, this can lead to confusion, mistakes, and sometimes injury or damage.

With a digital SOP platform, the most current version of a procedure is automatically distributed to all users with a single click, superseding old versions and ensuring that everyone is on the same page instantaneously.

This way of working not only saves time but ensures that everyone is safe in their daily work.

2. Access anywhere

But Seb, what good is a digital SOP platform if I need to be at my desk to access it? That's a great lead-in question and I appreciate you for asking it.

The access-anywhere nature of digital SOP platforms really is the winner here. With traditional approaches, employees may have to be at HQ or a site office near the filing cabinet nowhere near where they will actually be doing their work to read an SOP (assuming its the right version printed out too!). I can remember constantly printing off new SOPs and never once did I open the folder to actually use one, primarily because they were on the other side of the office from where I was working.

This changes with a digital SOP platform. Employees can access the procedures from any device with an internet connection. Mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktops, heck even your fridge might be able to jump on.

In fact, roughly 91% of Australians have an online presence. Just think about that, 9 in 10 people have the tools already to access a digitised SOP. Only 1/10 of people would need some help accessing digital SOPs, assuming your business doesn’t already provide devices.

There are so many people who are ready to work with digital SOPs already and get information on the job - right when they need it.

3. Environmental impact

If the above reasons aren’t good enough to consider digitsing, what about our shared future?

A big benefit to replacing the dusty folder is the positive impact it can have on the environment. 

By transitioning from paper-based SOPs to digital platforms, businesses can significantly reduce their paper usage and waste. This not only helps to conserve natural resources, but it also reduces the carbon emissions associated with the production and transportation of paper. ESG, anyone?

Now, all we’ve been talking about is just moving your flat and bland (sorry, someone had to say it) SOPs into the cloud. From dusty folder to cloud-based dusty folder.

What if we could find a way to make your SOPs really effective? 

4. Workflows: Contextual flexibility

Well look, here’s the plug: HINDSITE. We have the tools to not only bring your procedures into the digital realm, but also bring your SOPs to life! We call it workflows.

One of the main benefits of workflows is the ability to incorporate dynamic branching. This allows the workflow to cater to a wider range of scenarios than a traditional, one-track manual.

Gone are the days of Goosebump SOP’s (cousin to the R.L.Stine novels) where you have notes in the margins saying “If you encounter this error, please go to page 134”.

Digital workflows allow you to create branches and joining pathways that your team can take depending on the activities they’re performing or issues they’re encountering. Basically, it's tailored to what's in front of them.

This is especially useful in industries where there are multiple variations of a single task that need to be performed. With workflows, you can provide a single set of instructions for each variation, ensuring that all employees are following the correct procedure for their unique scenario.

5. Just-in-time learning

HINDSITE also has an entire content management system built in (think an ‘industrial YouTube’), giving your team access to internal videos and photos of content relevant to your work.

What’s better, you can show learning content within workflows to provide contextual learning at the time that it's relevant.

Got a step that’s a bit hard to explain using the written word? Just record a video and put it in the workflow at the exact point that it’s needed. Now your team no longer has to try and decipher your instructions, and they also feel more confident in executing the task.

Think about a new starter coming along. Instead of handing them a static SOP binder, you can give them an app with step-by-step instructions and visual content that guides them along the way. Imagine how much more confident and job ready they’re going to be.

Show learning content within workflows to provide contextual learning at the time that it's relevant.

Shameless plug aside (HINDSITE in case you missed it), please look at digitising your SOPs.

The technology exists and there are just so many reasons why it makes sense for your organisation. Automatic revisioning, access anywhere, and having an impact on our environment. Now is the time to take action.

Shameless plug back in (that's HINDSITE for those of you in the back), we can help you go digital and beyond with your SOPs.

Workflows allow you to create dynamic branches to ensure your team has relevant information at all times plus you can include specific and detailed content when it's needed allowing your team to work with confidence.

Give us a call - we’ll help you upgrade your SOPs!


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