Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are extremely important. In fact, the importance of SOPs in any supply chain operation can not be overstated.
What are SOPs?
Standard Operating Procedures are processes, policies and procedures for running your business. They specifically describe how individual tasks are to be completed. Successful warehouse operations have SOPs for not only tasks on the distribution center floor but also for making appropriate decisions within the Customer Service department.
For example, an SOP might specify parameters that a customer service representative (CSR) has authority to cut an order if product is not immediately available to fill an order, or instead the SOP might stipulate that the CSR must obtain approval from the customer first before cutting the order. In a multi-client 3PL warehouse operation with several customers, SOPs are very important for managing the different requirements for each individual customer.
SOPS play an important role in the success of both the customers of 3PL warehouses and the 3PL warehouse operators themselves.
How do SOPs improve warehouse operations?
- Smoother and more efficient start-ups. SOPs make onboarding new customers easier. They set forth expectations and provide associates with a tool of reference for handling a variety of business decisions.
- Consistency and reliability of service. SOPs are designed to establish operating routines for helping avoid mistakes and reduce errors.
- Cost savings. Shipping errors cost money. Well designed SOPs reduce opportunities for errors and improve operating efficiency.
- Regulatory compliance. SOPs document policies, procedures and processes that substantiate compliance with regulatory requirements.
- Safety. Properly written SOPs reinforce your company’s core values and company statues that ensure the safety and well-being of associates.
With over 200 customers in 11 locations, The Shippers Group maintains SOPs for customers that ensures service and performance aligned with their individual unique operating requirements. Success requires training associates to be compliant with SOPs. It also requires coaching and holding everyone accountable to closely follow operating procedures. Key Performance Indicators or KPIs gauge how well we comply with standard operating procedures to meet goals for service and productivity.