You may think I hope not to the above question but in fact it is a positive for a business to have an SOP. This is an acronym for Standard Operating Procedure and is really a necessity for a business to ensure things are consistent and your customers always receive the experience you want them to have.
For instance one of your cleaners may leave 4 coffee sachets in a room and another may leave 6. If you have a client who is a heavy coffee drinker and drinks five coffees during their stay, they will sometimes have enough to last the night but when the 4 coffee cleaner prepares their room they will get frustrated and annoyed at missing out on a cup of coffee. You may say well they can always come and ask for another one, but that is a nuisance that the customer may not want to have and it may be the catalyst for them looking for alternative accommodation.
The SOP will ensure that all tasks are completed to a consistent standard in a safe and economic manner. This means happier customers, less accidents and more efficiency within the business making it stronger and flowing down to a healthier profit.
So how do you prepare an SOP. First you must analyze the task you are writing the SOP for.
1) Choose the task
2) Perform the task and document each step
3) Identify the critical elements which must be done a specific way. Eg: 6 coffee sachets.
4) Identify any hazards
5) Isolate or eliminate the hazards by documenting the correct procedure and materials (eg: chemicals and dilution rates) for the task and any safety equipment or clothing which must be worn.
6) Set out the steps within the SOP and the order in which things must be done.
Next it is important that everyone is aware of and follows the SOP for these tasks. When you employ new staff they should be given a job description and the SOP for the tasks you are expecting them to perform. This clarifies things for both parties. It is not just the staff however who should adhere to the SOP, the business owner must also perform the tasks in the same way. If you do things differently why is this? Does the SOP need to be changed?
When you look at your business it is often too big a task to work on things like an SOP. Where do you start? There are just so many things that happen. When things are very big and daunting however you just have to remember this saying. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time” It would be too hard to sit down and write SOPs for your whole business but one winter afternoon when it is quiet (looks like we are heading for some of these soon) just sit in front of your computer and pick one thing and document an SOP for it. It can be anything from checking a guest in to cleaning the pool to cleaning a bathroom to taking a booking.
Keep this process up and eventually you will have enough SOPs that you will have created an operating manual for your motel. This will add to the value of your business, make it clearer for staff, managers and minders and will help when it is time to sell your motel. It is completing a number of small tasks that eventuate in completing a major one. Just like eating an elephant one bite at a time.