Standard operating procedure (SOP) and method of procedure (MOP) are the official documents that provide step by method to follow in a certain process or task.
A method that has not been changed or adapted since it was written up, it can be put into practice immediately without any change. An example could be the method on how to get to a building e.g take a turn left at xyz junction . The SOP method would have this instruction in its steps, whereas the MOP method would say take turn left at the roundabout instead, which is safer for other drivers and pedestrians around you.
Method of procedure method is a method to follow in order to perform a task or follow an SOP. An MOP document may include steps, diagrams and images that enable employees to carry out their tasks efficiently and safely. The method should be clear and clearly written, understandable for everyone who follows it. Is also important that the MOP method is updated regularly according to changes in technology or other work-related circumstances such as new workplace hazards.
MOP vs SOP method: same idea but different approach? Although both methods allow you to do something, they are not interchangeable because they serve two different functions: the method of procedure (MOP) is used by employees to work safely and method of operation (SOP) allows employees to perform their tasks.
In order for a method of procedure method is methodical, methodical and detailed description of the necessary steps that must be followed to achieve a specific goal. In fact, it describes what should be done in detail, as well as the exact sequence of steps that must be taken for this purpose. The method also explains why each task needs to be carried out and describe what will happen if something goes wrong during the execution of the method
On the other hand, a method of operation is a general outline or list of tasks which need to be performed in too great a level of detail. Is a very specific guide containing only few but important information, very often limited to a general description of the method. The method of operation is a way for technicians to understand how a device works and how it can be fixed or assembled.
Differentiating between SOP and MOP:
- SOP is the method already set out for any task, method of work instruction, method of operation
- MOP is a method suggested for any given task where the employer needs to research the best possible way to do it. It’s still considered SOP because company can later put into practice what they learnt with MOP method
- SOP method is used in place of MOP when there is no difference in the result, such as assembling a chair or putting together flat pack furniture thanks to their simplicity and clarity when done by following SOP method. However, the procedure method fails at tasks that require skilled labor such as welding or soldering.
- On the other hand, the operation method can be used for more technical and complex tasks like installing software on your computer where you need to follow multiple steps with required UAT (user acceptance testing). Method of operation method is better suited for TUT (technical understanding) and FLU (functionality under load) procedures testings although it requires a lot of time and efforts from employees because each step must be performed manually and method of procedure method allows testing only TUT (understand the method by reading the method).
- Method Of Procedure method is better when testing something that requires little skill such as unblocking a drain. Method Of Procedure method fails at tasks that require more skilful labor such as welding or soldering. On the other hand, the operation method can be used for more technical and complex tasks like installing software on your computer where you need to follow multiple steps with required UAT (user acceptance testing). Method of operation method is better suited for TUT (technical understanding) and FLU (functionality under load) procedures, although it requires a lot of time and effort from employees because each step must be performed manually and method of operation method is more prone to human error.
- Method Of Procedure method requires many resources and more space because each step of the process must be performed manually. Method of operation does not require any hardware or infrastructure changes but it demands a lot from employees as each step must be performed manually for functional testing under load which can lead to more errors. The Method of procedure method has been traditionally used in companies where high-skilled labors are present on assembly line, while method of operation method is currently used in modern manufacturing with majority of machines and robotics involved.
For example: an employee has written up an SOP document on how to clean a room using equipment xyz (duster, vacuum cleaner etc). The company may then research other ways this could be carried out, by inspecting other people’s method of cleaning their room, or looking on the internet for different ways to clean a room. They then come up with an MOP method on how to do this instead of using method xyz. However method xyz is still considered SOP because they could choose to implement it again at any stage.
Method of procedure is method of operation. An MOP method is created when an SOP method has been changed or adapted to better suit the needs of the company.