The Value of SOPs and Making the Most of Them - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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The Value of SOPs and Making the Most of Them

This information came from a session during the 2022 ELEVATE conference and expo. Don’t miss the 2023 ELEVATE in Dallas on Sept. 10-13.

Processes and systems are the bedrock of your company. Implementing standard operating procedures (SOPs) can turn your organization into a place of order and predictable business systems.  

Bob Maffei, owner of The Maffei Companies, says SOPs can be implemented in operations, human capital and leadership. When creating an SOP, Maffei encourages building it, measuring how successful it is and learning how to improve it.

One example of an effective SOP is his company’s Shop Job and AM Rollout program. This is where 29 specific jobs are performed each morning by five a.m. rollout teams. These tasks were assigned to specific people, such as fueling up the trucks and sharpening mower blades. Other duties were to go through detailed checklists to ensure all the equipment was in the correct location and in good working condition.

Maffei says they had around 25 employees working an additional 2.5 hours a week (20 minutes a day every day.) He says this became an important and desirable role to have in the company because these individuals were setting the team up for success. Employees with excessive tardiness or absences would lose the opportunity to participate in the rollout program.

While they had around 60 to 70 trucks and 35 to 40 trailers, this program ensured the trucks were gone by 7:30 a.m. each day.

Part of the reason this program is successful is because the SOP is written out detailing exactly when and what should be accomplished and the overall goals for the program. Maffei says this prevents employees from feigning ignorance, but you also have to inspect what you expect.

The company had cameras on the yard that would show who was still there after 7:30 a.m. and it became a point of pride for crew members to not be one of those late individuals.

As a people-centric business, Maffei says you need systems to succeed. He suggests using transformational leadership that defines goals and measurements to drive organizational engagement. Maffei says your team needs to know the score, so make sure expectations are clear to employees from the start.

Transformational leadership is defined by idealized influence, inspirational motivation, individual consideration and intellectual stimulation. These behaviors lived out call for ethical behavior, encouraging team members to exceed expectations, accommodating various individuals on your team, and soliciting team members’ input and ideas.

Cascading goals can help break down your vision and mission into strategic priorities and departmental goals, which are reached through individual goals. When your team does reach these wins, Maffei says you need to take the time to celebrate.

For more content like this, register for next year’s ELEVATE in Dallas, Texas, on Sept. 10-13.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.