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The difference between a process, a procedure and a work instruction can be summed up as breadth and depth. A process defines the big picture and highlights the main elements of your business–breadth.
A procedure captures those elements and adds more information for functional responsibilities, objectives, and methods–depth. Your work instructions fill in more detail for your procedures with detailed specifics–more depth. The three, taken together, have different roles to play in defining the standard operating model of your business.
What is a Process?
A process is the conversion of an input into an output. A process typically operates at a higher level, possibly across many functions, and may cross department lines. Process maps are used to depict business processes, which make up and define your business. Core business processes must be controlled and procedures help maintain control.
Example Revenue Process
Let’s look at the Revenue Process, one of the ten core business processes. The revenue process starts when sales takes an order. The order is pulled from inventory and shipped. But the revenue process is not complete until the order goes through collections and is converted from merchandise into cash.
A process is in control when objective are clearly defined and metrics track how well the process is achieving the objective. Clearly defined responsibilities, measures, and operating time frames help to establish the controls that are typically found within a procedure. The revenue process operates across many functions and departments, which may result in a number of different procedures. What is a Procedure?
What is a Procedure?
A “procedure” is a term used in a variety of industries to define a series of steps, taken together, to achieve a consistent result, in this case a process. Procedures can be called a Standard Operating Procedure, (SOP), a good manufacturing practice (GMP), or a business best practice. Procedures are required for compliance, are helpful for training and procedures help to retain important information.
Individual procedures for the Revenue Process may define sales orders, pulling inventory, shipping, collections, and cash deposits. A lot depends on functional boundaries, the size of the organization, the type of business, and where critical control points should be placed.
Free Sample Procedure Templates Provide Examples of Procedures.
Many times different processes intersect. The revenue process may intersect with the sales process, inventory process, cash process, and manufacturing process. Your business model defines what processes and procedures are important and how they may intersect. Procedures are not the same as work instruction, although many people think they are the same thing.
What is a Work Instruction?
A work instruction is used to describe something more basic like a specific step in a process or procedure. Work instructions tend to be very focused on an individual role whereas procedures may include multiple roles. Work instructions include job aids, assembly instructions, visual aids, or even simple checklists that must be followed.
A sales Order procedure may call out a work instruction checklist for confirming, qualifying or accepting the order. It may include questions for credit worthiness, product stocking, or delivery times. Another work instruction may exist for completing order forms, credit forms, or entering the order in the computer system. Work instructions tend to be detailed and very specific.
The standard operating model of your business is defined within your business processes, which are further defined by your procedures, which are supported by your work instructions. Your processes define the big picture, highlighting the main elements of your business. Your procedures capture those elements and adds functional responsibilities, objectives, and methods. Your work instructions fill in more detail for your procedures with specifics.
Use them in any combination to accomplish your goal of building a business management system. Review free sample procedure templates to see how easy and fast it is to customize the MS-Word templates for your business. No other company provides a complete set for your whole company.