Example Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

(Silt Concentration in Sand)

Example of a Standard Operating Procedures developed using TRIM-SOP

About This Example SOP

This is an example SOP from a laboratory for a concrete tile manufacturer. It covers the main steps for measuring silt in sand.

Title for a Standard Operating Procedure

This SOP was written to meet the needs of:

  • inexperienced learners – learning tool
  • competent people – used as a memory aid
  • buddy trainer – training aid

Features of this Example

Steps are Written as Commands

A Standard Operating Procedure is basically a list of steps. In this SOP each step is written as a command. Using command language makes the SOP easier to read.

Command language tells people ‘what’ and ‘how’ – which is exactly what is needed in a SOP.

Instructions in a Standard Operating Procedure

The steps are chunked into groups. Chunking makes steps easier to remember. It also helps people to find the information they need, quickly and easily. Each group of steps is given a name.


  • steps are written as commands, a concise writing technique
  • steps are chunked into named groups
  • commands say ‘WHAT’ & ‘HOW’ instead of ‘WHY’

Supporting Information is grouped in Tables

Information that is not an ‘instruction’ is grouped into tables. These tables are called ‘Supporting Information Tables’ (SIT). Supporting information tables help keep the ‘why’ out of the instructions.

Supporting Information for Standard Operating Procedure

In this example SOP critical steps are identified by a symbol.  This makes the critical steps easy to find. Putting the critical information in one place makes it easy to review before starting the task.

List of Critical Steps in a Standard Operating Procedure


  • information groups are easy to find and review
  • symbols are used to link steps to supporting information

Pictures Add Value

Pictures are a great way to communicate information and reinforce learning. We chose this SOP as our example SOP because of the pictures. The pictures used in this SOP add ‘value’. They show ‘how’ to use equipment and do calculations. These pictures show how a SOP can reduce errors.

How to use images in a Standard Operating Procedure


  • pictures add value when they show ‘how’
  • pictures can be used to explain a calculation

This Standard Operating Procedure was written using TRIM-SOP™ software and templates. TRIM-SOP™ does the formatting so you can focus on content.