While most businesses are well aware that they need to have an operations manual, not every business is too aware of what it should consist of. A lot of businesses decide to look at other firms’ operational manual and then take that as a starting point for their own manual. This can provide ideas and a rough guide but with every firm being different, it isn’t always helpful to take the idea and structure from another firm when creating your own operations manual. This is why it is important to have a think about your own business and what you hope to achieve from having an operations manual.
You set a standard for your business
Your provide customers with consistency
Your employees will be better trained and know what is expected of them
There are so many variables involved with operating a business, of any size, that having so many structures put into place to ensure consistency is crucial. No one is trying to say that a firm like McDonalds offers the best quality of food to their customers, but one of the reasons why so many people choose to eat there is that there is a consistency to what they offer. No matter where you are in the country, you know that buying a product from one store is likely to be the same experience as buying the same product in another store. This is all down to the consistency of standards that the company has, and operations manuals are a huge factor in this.
You should never rely on one person or a small number of employees to carry out tasks
If you are a small firm and one team member or manager takes training because they know the best way to get things done, what happens if training needs to be carried out when that person is on holiday? Say the trainer suffers an accident or is dealing with an illness that will see them missing from work for a lengthy period of time. A business that has created an operation manual and which has outlined every aspect of the working practice will be able to carry on with a minimal amount of disruption. A firm without an operations manual will find themselves significantly disadvantaged.
These are some of the things your operations manual should include:
- A contact list of people that may need to be contacted at certain times
- A checklist (or number of checklists) outlining the main functions of the business
- How To guides
- Outline Company policy
These are the main elements that should be contained within every operations manual or operations manual template but depending on the size, scale or scope of your business, it may be that you want to create mini guides of the daily operations undertaken in your business. You will know what your business entails of and you will have the best idea of what needs to be recorded.
Your operations manual needs to be of use
It is important to bear in mind that an operations manual
should be able to provide the information that people need to go about their business on a daily basis. If someone new arrives at your firm and they are unable to determine the working practices or how to complete an integral part after looking at your manual, your operations manual is not up to the required standard.
It is also important to ensure that your operations manual can be easily revised, amended and updated. In an ever changing with improving technology and business practices, many of the best practice working methods in your organisation can quickly become outdated. This means that there is a need to ensure that you can update your operations manual quickly and easily. This is why it is helpful to create templates for your operations manual
, allowing changes and new practices to be put into place as and when they arise.