2014: Advent Quality: Recipe Book

by on December 5, 2014

Along with specifying your raw materials, you want to specify your process. Otherwise, your team of highly-skilled operatives may all make slightly different cups of tea, and you want your customers to feel confident that your product will always be what they expected.

So you specify what your process must achieve: the water must be within a particular range of temperatures when it is added to the leaves. The pot must be within its own temperature range. The quantity of leaves and water per pot are defined, as is the time the tea is left to brew, and the amount of tea per cup, and the amount of milk and sugar, and the order in which they are combined.

You can, if you like, write the first draft of your SOP now. An SOP is a Standard Operating Procedure, and they are basically recipes. The more precise your requirements, the more detailed your SOP will end up, but every process in your factory is going to need one. Even the process of moving part-made product to the next process has an SOP. Your collection of SOPs provide, not the manual for your factory, but the manual for how you make a widget.

Writing an SOP is an art. For one thing, it’s almost impossible to write one SOP. Even when you’re only working on one procedure, you need to think about the system it slots into, because you need to avoid gaps. You want SOPs to be sufficiently detailed that, if you follow one to the letter, you’ll end up doing the right thing.

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