​Keeping Staff Involved in SOP updates

Campbell Morissy ​has seen a lot of growth during his nearly four years with Mother Road Brewing. That means a lot of updating the breweries Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), both because of additions and updates to the brewery and new staff being added on.

Morrissy was the fourth production employee for the Flagstaff, Arizona brewery. Now, the staff is up to 13 with more being added in 2019.

October of 2018 was a big wake up call.

“We had a good SOP program. We thought we had a really good training program,” Morissy recalled as the staff doubled in that month. “We were throwing so many people into the fire so quickly. It was really difficult and it stressed a lot of people out, myself included — the new hires included.

“We’ve developed our SOP program a lot more and refined our training. We got to one gig on Google Drive of SOPs. That’s a big achievement.”

Morissy explained that having the files on a computer is nice, and employees can access them quickly this way, but computer access is only available on two computers at the brewery, so paper manuals are still the norm.

When an employee gets hired, they get a binder of SOPs along with an employee manual and safety training practices.

“We have a living Bible, so to speak,” Morrisy said. “If we do an update, it’s your responsibility to print a new sheet or make that change in your binder.”

That means an employee has a physical copy they can take around to look at while on a shift to quickly follow a process and have a reference point.

“Take that versus trying to run to that computer and try to find it,” he said. “It seems counterintuitive this day and age of being paperless. But, the practicality of working on the floor,  having a physical copy was helpful.

“It’s awesome to me to see some of our staff still using them. I’ve written most of the SOPs and God forbid I have to brew or package, I will pull that SOP to know how to do this again. Because it is a how-to guide for our process and its critical to our quality.”

Enforcement can be a struggle, he noted.

“We have two standup meetings every week with all of our staff — both Monday and Friday so we get everybody,” Morissy said. There, they talk about any SOPs that have been updated.

“That’s one of the three touches on an SOP update we have,” he said. “Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming because we update SOPs a lot. We’ve probably done 50 updates since the start of the year. It’s small stuff like a new type of carb stone or something.

Morissy said he thinks it’s exciting for the staff to know that there is continuous improvement. They also try to encourage staff to participate in updates.

“If they have an idea, they have free ability to bring it up,” he said. “So it’s fun to get some of the operator-level positions and getting their initials in the SOP for the most recent update. I think that helps reinforce those because they feel like they’ve had a hand in improving it.”

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