The Streamlined Business Blog

The Streamlined Business Blog is all about getting—and keeping—Operations Under Control by implementing good business systems, processes, and standard operating procedures. Our staff experts blog regularly on a range of topics including: Operations Mapping approaches, systems-based management, standardizing operations, calculating costs and ROI for systems improvements and a whole lot more.

Policy and Procedure Manual

Policy Procedures – 7 Signs You Have Outgrown MS Word

If your method for developing SOPs and policies is MS Word® or MS Excel® you may be unaware that there is a better way! Don’t get us wrong, MS Word is a fantastic tool for general purposes—just not for SOPs. If you only have a handful of procedures that rarely change, then the “do-it-yourself” in READ MORE

Zavanta Software Principles Highlighted in New Book “Secrets of Success with Procedures”

In his new book Secrets of Success With Procedures, Jack Nicholas, Jr., BS, MBA, P.E., CMRP, CRL, internationally recognized expert in business operations and maintenance reliability and a decorated US Navy veteran and naval engineer, shares his experiences on the importance of written procedures to operations success. Jack describes and discusses many management attributes centered READ MORE

SOPs – Why Not Just the Steps?

This question comes up a lot in Zavanta Coaching sessions. To save time and get to the point,  why not just list the steps for how to do a task?  Clearly, the action steps are one of the biggest parts of SOPs. But, step by steps  are not the only information that makes for good READ MORE

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If Your Procedures Sound Like Shakespeare, You Might Want to Reconsider

If, your answer be “Yes” then goeth to step 17a, but if no goeth to the next step wherefore you can prepare to move to step 17b. If “maybe” then henceforth see HR Procedure 127.5 line 7 …. While this might be slightly exaggerated, it is not all that far off from the kind of READ MORE

Share Your SOPS How You Need To, When You Need To

One of the key elements to making policies and standard operating procedures actually useful is to share your SOPs with your employees.  While this sounds obvious, a lot of organizations create old-fashioned SOP documents and employee handbooks only to store them in a binder somewhere that lives in a file drawer with the extra pens READ MORE

What’s the Right Level of Detail for Procedures and Work Instructions?

Two common mistakes people make when writing policies and procedures involve opposite sides of the same coin—Not enough detail or Too much detail.  Some policies and procedures fail because they are so vague and generic that people can’t use them.  Other policies and procedures are so long-winded and complex that people can’t follow or understand READ MORE

Tip – Every Word Counts. Even the Little Ones

When you are writing policies and procedures, job aids, and work instructions, clarity should always be your first consideration. Remember that people in your organization turn to the company procedures manuals and new employee orientation training guides for two main reasons: 1) they have no idea how to perform a task or 2) they are READ MORE

When Should You Repeat Yourself When Writing Policies and Procedures?

Deciding how—and when—to repeat information is a common problem that most writers face especially when writing policies and procedures. Obviously, being concise is important. Repeating detailed information throughout your content increases the length of your employee manuals and makes updates more difficult. However, judicious repetition is necessary to emphasize important facts, instructions, and warnings and READ MORE

Tip – Keep Sentences Short

In an earlier post, we recommended that you keep this mantra in mind when writing policies and procedures for your organization: Time is money and people are busy! Your colleagues don’t get paid for plowing through long-winded prose in your company procedures manual. Cut to the chase and keep sentences short. When possible, limit the average READ MORE

Tip: In Steps Use Powerful Verbs that Show Action

Nothing happens on a Hollywood movie set until the Director hollers Action! The same is true when it comes to procedures. Have you ever tried to follow a written procedure and work instruction and not been able to figure out what you are supposed to DO? It’s the actions that you want people to perform READ MORE

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