SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) is defined by IBM as a set of instructions that describes all the relevant steps and activities of a process or procedure. This definition is one of the simplest and most straightforward definitions of SOP. When an organization compiles an instruction (usually step-by-step) that often allow workers to carry out an operation, such an organization can be said to be making use of SOP. Standard Operating Procedure is often adopted by most organizations because it brings about efficiency, uniformity in performance, and quality output; and at the same time tackling the problem of miscommunication and failure to comply with the regulations of the company.
In the military, however, SOP is slightly different. The term standing rather than standard is sometimes used. That means that rather than being Standard Operating Procedure, it becomes Standing Operating Procedure, especially in the U.S. and UK military bodies. This slight difference in term is simply because SOP in a military deals with a unique procedure to one unit, which may not be standard to another unit – therefore there is a need to be accurate in military terms, since the word standard would simply mean that only one kind of procedure should be used in all military.
The application of SOP in organizations is important in ensuring that production operations are performed consistently in order to maintain quality control of products and processes. Consumers and clients, either from individuals or to companies, desire products that are consistent with quality and specification. SOP therefore helps organizations to maintain standardized products, and ultimately, quality. With the right use of SOP, productions would not deviate from their original qualities, or standards as the case may be.