SOPs Standard Operating Procedures


SOPs – Standard Operating Procedures:  What Do You Do If…?

Standard operating procedures are–or should be–an integral part of most operations.  They are explicit instructions that describe what to do in a specific situation.  Some SOPs can be common to most businesses–COVID, data security or remote work.  But most standard operating procedures are not cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all documents.  Franchises can issue SOPs with the same content that all appy to all franchisees.  But it is unlikely that there is an existing standard operating procedure to cover the machining of your proprietary part that has just been patented.  One company may need more data security standard operating procedures than another that requires more OSHA-compliant standard operating procedures.

The most effective SOP standard operating procedures are often those that incorporate STE simplified technical English into them.    With easy-to-understand, unambiguous SOPs as the goal, STE can make that goal achievable.  

While some SOPs may be directed at a specific audience where each reader is familiar with the subject, that is not always the case.  Diverse audiences are common now and integrating STE into SOPs can help bridge that gap.


Standard operating procedures benefit most organizations as they can ensure consistency and compliance, equity and engagement.

Southwest Business Services has provided remote technical writing services for more than 30 years. We create custom SOPs – Standard Operating Procedures and Work Instructions. We have long been committed to providing highly professional, due-diligent technical writing services–at an affordable price.  


Core Standard Operating Procedure Offerings




Standard Operating Procedures

Ours Include:

We work with many formats and we have developed our own hybrid format that incorporates the best of many styles to create a proprietary SOP suitable in many circumstances.  All formats are audience-centric.




Standard Operating Procedure Industries

Noninclusive List:

  • Healthcare
  • Pharma
  • Legal
  • IT/Software
  • Hospitality/Restaurants
  • Education
  • Manufacturing
  • Nonprofits
  • Regulatory/Compliance

We have worked with clients in many industries across the globe.  As subject matter experts, we have filled in any gaps in our knowledge so that we can create actionable, useful documentation.




Standard Operating Procedures – Business Case Study

How Our SOPs and STE Improved Staff Engagement, Increased Data Security and Reduced Turnover

This Company was in post-COVID recovery mode and facing disengaged employees, client data security issues, and increasing turnover. Easy-to-understand, unambiguous standard operating procedures were the cornerstones of a transformed company.


Our client, an engineering firm with both onsite and remote employees, needed standard operating procedures that would promote its post-COVID recovery.

Standard operating procedures were developed or revised in three key areas:  Disengagement, data security and turnover reduction.  The disengagement solution is shown below and the rest is in the full case study.

One of the primary issues here was that onsite employees began to interact with clients face-to-face once again while remote employees did not.  This is a sampling of the SOPs that were developed.  A series of standard operating procedures was developed to ensure that remote workers were part of the team at every decision-making meeting.  Contributions of the remote team were recognized equally with onsite employees.  While this was a Company choice, they decided that making salaries the same for both remote and onsite workers would promote retention and engagement.  Engineering calculation software was provided and paid for by the Company with uniform standards for its use.  Procedures were developed for the consistent evaluation of remote or onsite employee productivity and performance.


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A procedure is a uniform method that outlines how to perform a process

ISO 9001

What Is a Standard Operating Procedure?

According to Divestopedia, standard operating procedures (SOPs) are the documented processes that a company has in place to ensure services and/or products are delivered consistently every time while meeting minimum quality standards. In practical terms, most SOPs are written as a step-by-step series of operating instructions that can show employees what they need to do to accomplish a given task. SOPs are designed to ensure an efficient, quality output on a consistent basis, regardless of who follows them. A well-written set of SOPs can thus help to reduce miscommunications and promote adherence to industry regulations. In the end, if your business doesn’t have an SOP for a specific task or goal, then it doesn’t have a process.

Contact us and we will show you that it is in fact easier to let us do it and with better outcomes–unambiguous and easy-to-understand.

Types of Standard Operating Procedures

Management Standard Operating Procedures

These standard operating procedures describe how any other SOP should be generated, renewed, circulated, and managed. These SOPs are designed to give the framework on the steps used to define, document, and apply any other company standard operating procedures.  They are suitable for overseeing the regular sequence of creating, endorsing, and reviewing the current SOPs. 


Technical Standard Operating Procedures

This type of SOPs provides concise details on how to perform and accomplish certain tasks. They are usually offered in the form of an inspection, a recurring work order, or a preventive management work order.


Common SOPs Formats

SOPs usually vary from one document to manifold forms with a blend of explanatory tools. Most of them carry a title page, a flow chart, videos, and a table of contents, steps, and procedures.  Irrespective of the outline used, the SOP must have the scope of the SOP, necessary steps for completing the task, objectives of the tasks, and accountability measures.  Besides, it should provide details about the person to undertake the task and the one to contact when issues arise. Here are the main SOP formats:


  • Hierarchical Steps

Hierarchical-steps SOPs are used when the task involves multiple steps that entail intricate implementation. This type of SOP format gives steps in a special manner such as 2a, 2 b, and much more.

  • Flowchart Format

Flowchart SOPs are commonly used for several possible results. Thus, if you want to create an SOP for a task that does not have a predictable result, you can use a flow chart layout to map out and organize your procedures. Each of the steps in the flow chart gives a direction on what the worker should perform next.

  • Checklists

An SOP checklist is one of the easiest methods of creating standard operating procedures. To create the SOP, you can use Microsoft Word to create the header. Below the header, include the checklist items one by one. You can now print it for distribution to all workers.

  • Step-by-Step Checklists

Step-by-step SOPs are created in a bulleted or numbered layout. The numbered list gives an outline of the crucial steps required to finish processes. This type of SOPs style is very simple. It does not need further clarification. This is ideal for tasks such as how to use a particular piece of equipment, how to log in to a certain program, and much more.  Consistency is the most important thing in undertaking operations in an automated manner. 

STE Simplified Technical English and Standard Operating Procedures

This concept makes many cringe–especially those in professions where antiquated terms have become part of their vocabulary.  A large firm of 25 attorneys came to us because they needed standard operating procedures that described how to handle cases by type.  The objective was to ensure that the same procedure for handling the cases was used by all attorneys.  While you are doing this, we suggested, why don’t you consider simplifying some of the language used.  Skeptical at first, the firm’s final documents had a few less hereuntos and hereinbefores, legalese.   

Inclusive Documentation

Simplified Technical English, STE, was developed to help the readers of English-language documentation understand what they read, particularly when these readers are non-native English speakers.” – ASD-STE100

Simplified Technical English is not the destruction of technical vocabulary.  The process of translating a document into STE is no easy task.  So, for most purposes, it is often best to follow Einstein’s lead:  Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler..



Why Simplify Your SOPs?

Why Use STE Writing Rules?

Standard Operating Procedures written in Simplified Technical English–or written in Plain English–are worth it for one very important reason:  Easy-to-read, unambiguous content.  If you have esoteric content that only a few will understand, then you probably shouldn’t put it in a standard operating procedure.

▪ Quality assurance and improvement
▪ Standardized way of writing
▪ Reduced word count
▪ Improved safety
▪ Efficient authoring
▪ Quality improvement in writing and translations
▪ Improved customer experience
▪ Facilitates content management, XML
▪ Reduction in overall documentation cost
▪ Cheaper, faster and better translations

Find Out How Simplification Can Improve Your Documentation 




Because we can make your standard operating procedure actionable, useful, informative, and unambiguous…  Guaranteed