Maintenance SOPs are crucial to any organization. It’s critical that you know how to create them and then also implement them for the most benefit.
What Is a Maintenance SOP?
What is the procedure for maintenance? A maintenance SOP is a thorough document that outlines specific steps workers have to do. This document lays out the quality standards and expected practices that should be met. Maintenance SOP steps are usually a reflection of applicable industry standards. Have questions about all of this? Industry consultants are here to help you.
Do You Know the Specific Maintenance Processes that Need SOPs?
SOP maintenance revolves around certain maintenance processes that need standard operating procedures. In most cases, your maintenance SOPs should be developed for tasks that are repetitive or routine in nature. On the other hand, you might want to shy away from doing SOPs for certain maintenance tasks, including ones that are:
- Complicated in nature;
- Creativity in solving problems;
- Require complex decision-making.
Alternatively, maintenance SOPs are good choices for any processes that fall into certain categories.
- Routine inspections of assets;
- Scheduling preventive maintenance;
- Starting, organizing, or finishing work orders;
- Data inputs for diagnostic tools or digital management maintenance software;
- Assigning shift workers maintenance tasks;
- MRO inventory management.
What Elements Do You Include in a Maintenance SOP?
Maintenance standard operating procedures need to have certain things included within them so they work properly. A crucial step in this process is communicating with your actual maintenance team. Have them give you input about the SOP. They’re the ones who will implement it, and they should already know the best ways of doing these tasks. Maintenance SOP common components might involve:
- Any compliance standards or regulations that matter;
- How many professionals each task takes;
- Parts, tools, and equipment necessary;
- Certain skills required;
- Detailed instructions.
Writing Maintenance Procedure
At some point, you’ll have to start writing your maintenance procedures. You won’t find a single method that works every time, but you can follow a particular set of best practices that serve you well. If you need help writing any standard operating procedure for maintenance, then schedule that now.
PDCA stands for Plan, Do, Check, Act. The “plan” part should be handled by the person who does this task the most often. They’re going to be your SME, or subject matter expert.
Your SME should also be the one that goes through the procedure step by step to institute any changes that need to take place.
Once a procedure is sufficiently clear, other employees and even managers can try it out to check and make sure that it works for everyone involved.
When a procedure is complete, employees will be free to act on it when it is required and then report back to management about how well it works.
Rules for Writing Standard Maintenance Procedures
When it comes to writing your company’s standard maintenance procedures, there are some rules that you should follow.
- Remember that the goal is always being of service to the user.
- The burden of any written communication falls on the writer instead of the reader.
- Any first draft is a rough draft. It must go through a review process prior to publication.
- Avoid paragraphs. In fact, using numbered line items with a single item per step is ideal.
- Use a writing style that is concise and precise.
- Put everything in sequentially.
- Apply step check-offs when appropriate.
- Quantitative values are better than using check-offs.
- Aim for an elementary-grade level of reading if it’s procedure appropriate.
- Graphics help clarify meanings.
If you want guidance on writing standard maintenance procedures, then check out our guide on how to do just that.
Tips for Developing Maintenance SOPs
Developing maintenance SOPs is crucial, but you also need to make sure they’re communicated effectively to your team members who might be responsible for their implementation. Need help? We have experts who can do so.
Tips for Naming Procedures
Name your different procedures so employees can ascertain the procedure just by its given name. Using the right naming convention can be flexible and scalable as your company gets bigger.
- Leave expansion room in the number portions of procedure names.
- Use “gaps” in the identification method for future entries.
- Use identifications that are simple, easily remembered, and meaningful.
- Be consistent with terminology, acronyms, and abbreviations.
- Don’t use only numbers.
Tips for Laying Out the Steps
When you write SOPs, they need to be logical and clear. You can improve your odds of clarity and ensure more adherence to an SOP by doing certain things.
- Differentiate procedural stages with the right headers, such as “Engage the Compressor” followed by the steps that achieve that.
- Utilize parallel structure with every instruction, such as “Press the start button. Check the pressure. Make a record of the temperature”.
- Use active voice by starting every sentence using a verb. For instance, do “Press the start button” rather than “You need to press the start button”.
- Write every step as its distinct instruction.
- Steps should start with verbs except when an employee needs to know where to start. For instance, “From the left side of the control panel, turn the handle counter-clockwise”.
- End every step with a period.
Tips for Selecting the Response in Maintenance Procedures
If you’re not sure how to select a certain way in a procedure, do so in the way that your SME or technician says is how the step would be performed properly. You might find that a checklist is useful instead of short answer responses. One thing you don’t want to do is overthink it or make things complicated. Remember, procedures need to be as simple as possible and explained at an elementary-school reading level.
Maintenance SOP Examples
Maintenance SOP samples are useful in coming up with your own. Examples of common maintenance SOPs include routine verifications of infrastructure, plumbing, HVAC, utility lines, and anything else central to the operation of a building. They might also include replacement flooring, restroom upgrades, furniture installations, wall decor, and lighting. A maintenance SOP should usually include multiple steps:
- Objective: What is the procedure for?
- Scope: When does this procedure apply specifically?
- Responsibility: Who is responsible for the application of this protocol?
- Accountability: Who is going to make sure the assigned employees get the work done and done right?
- Procedure: Detailed instructions step by step.