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FLEXO Magazine : July 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES be responsible for a procedure. Do not call out specifi c employee names. It is better to address the responsible job title or function (e.g., pressroom manager, stockroom clerk). The responsibilities section is important because it works as a guide for auditors (internal and external) to ensure employee training compliance. Companies can also use this section as a tool to creating a training curriculum. Procedural steps. The steps are what the employee follows when performing the process or task described in the procedure’s purpose section. When developing this section, describe how to execute the process in the same order that the tasks are performed. Companies should defi ne a logical sequence of steps and sub steps, neither too large nor too small, that are to be followed. Use the imperative voice for clarity and economy of words. Write to the level of the reader’s ability or a little below. Include hints and help tips where possible. Using fl owcharts is a great way to explain process direction and is acceptable for communicating internal processes. Add illustrations, analogies, models, anything that will aid understanding of the process and the end product. In addition, the procedural steps section should also give instructions for correctly completing (i.e., fi lling in blanks) any supporting forms and reference attachments associated with the procedure (e.g., training records, inspection history, etc). Include suffi cient detail to ensure consistent execution of the task. Frequency and records. These sections describe how often the procedure is carried out and what records are produced as a result of the procedure. For example, an environmental, health, and safety compliance procedure may require an EHS audit be performed every two years. In this case the frequency of the procedure would be every two years and the audit report would be a record associated with the procedure. The records section should also state where the record is kept. Revision history or document control. Revision history or document control allows an organization to review earlier versions of a procedure. The organization can also revisit methods and programs previously employed. Such tools enable fi rms to avoid duplicating mistakes or having to re-create processes. Avoiding duplication and limiting the number of mistakes an organization makes can ultimately save money and time and reduce employee frustration. Procedure “owners” or delegated authorities should be accountable for the timely review, updating, and dissemination of policies and procedures in their area. 42 FLEXO JULY 2009 Write to the level of the reader’s ability or a little below. Include hints and help tips where possible. PROCEDURE FOR WRITING PROCEDURES Now that we have examined the sections a procedure should contain, let’s take a look at how to actually write a procedure. Developing an effective procedure takes practice; however, there are several steps you can take that will aid the process. These steps are found below: Prepare a fi rst draft of the procedure. Begin with the procedure’s purpose, followed by the scope, responsibilities, and any background, defi nitions, and reference documents sections. Next, describing the procedure in short steps. Use simple language and avoid describing multiple steps in the same sentence. A simple fl ow chart can serve as a valuable tool in identifying the steps employees will perform during the procedure and can help determine if any large steps should be broken down into smaller steps. Brainstorming using relevant employees and sticky notes can be a good fi rst effort at determining the actual process. Sticky notes allow for reposition- ing of the workfl ow until everyone agrees on the proper process fl ow. Be sure to include all relevant employees in the preparation of this fi rst draft! The scope of a document can be specifi c so that it includes only a subset of employees or processes, or it can be general and include the entire organization, location, or process. It is important to beta test procedures to ensure they are understandable, effective and complete. When done correctly, they will result in uniformity, effi cient and effective performance. To determine the effectiveness of a draft procedure, ask an employee not familiar with the workfl ow to read and follow the procedure. Observe their actions and modify the procedure as necessary. Repeat the steps above until the procedure provides an effi cient workfl ow that satisfi es the procedure’s purpose. On a separate fi rst page write a short, narrative introduction and overview of the entire procedure. This way, employees who normally read and perform one step at a time must preview the job from start to fi nish before beginning. This page can also contain the background discussion and any key defi nitions associated with the procedure. Prepare a header on the fi rst page. It must include the company name and business unit logo, document title, date of creation and specifi c document number as assigned by document control personnel. Also include an issue number generated by change control. Create a table directly under the header entitled, “Amendment History and Approvals.” Include columns for the issue date of the procedures, description of changes and signatures for the procedures originator, www. f le xography. org
Sustainable Spring 2009