What are SOPs? How does an agency use them? What are the benefits? Where do we begin?
SOPs are sets of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help staff carry out routine operations more efficiently, and to ensure no essential tasks are left unmanaged. Think of SOPs as the moving parts each staff member manages in their daily workflow and how that connects to overall agency workflows, tasking, and reporting outcomes
Why are SOPs Important?
- Clearly defines your group/team responsibilities to ensure nothing will be missed
- Provides clarity on interdepartmental communication & goals
- All departments marching toward the same vision
- Serves as a reference point for carrying out consistent tasks
- Defines measurable metrics & standards
What are Some of the Benefits of SOPs for My Transit Agency?
- All staff marching to the same beat toward one common goal
- Improve efficiencies across teams
- Ensure no tasking has been missed
- Maintain consistent quality standards
- Prevent communication silos
- Provide reliable and predictable service to ridership
- Agency reporting metrics consistency (Business Intelligence, myStop applications)
The Importance of Establishing Several Internal Champions
Begin by establishing a group/team that is responsible for ensuring SOPs are being implemented in each of your departments:
- To keep an eye on the big picture and ensure the vision is being followed and met
- To ensure communication flow across departments
- To identify areas for improvement/ identify concerns/ identify missed tasks
- To collaborate in creating a resolution plan, where needed
Communication is Everything!
- Establish performance metric meetings- what do you plan to measure and why
- Get people involved and empower your teams- they have valuable input and ideas!
- Establish regular group meetings- consistent check-ins go a long way
- Importance of taking ownership- establish action plans that meet your needs
of your staff dedicated to helping you achieve your agency’s goals!
Leverage SOPs to Improve Your Agency Practices and Reporting Metrics:
What are your Opportunities for Operational or Organizational Improvement?
- Accounting for all essential tasking across your teams
- Improving schedule adherence
- Increasing ridership awareness through marketing RTPI
- Cross-departmental communication
- Internal training: Train the Trainer
- Data analysis and reports to improve operational efficiencies
SOP Use Cases by Position
EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP USE CASE: Executives provide the overall vision and goals for the agency, then measure goal metrics to ensure agency departments/ teams are meeting the necessary criteria.
PLANNER USE CASE: Planners create and manage the transit agency's schedule data, and any necessary changes, to ensure scheduled service meets the needs of the community's ridership, while also meeting the needs of the agency (well-balanced schedules optimize the operator workflow, vehicle cycles and meet passenger needs). Planners also rely on BI schedule data reports as assistive tools, to inform and analyze what the schedule looks like on the road in real-time to ensure a positive impact on collected revenue service and data.
MAINTENANCE SUPERVISOR USE CASE: Maintenance Supervisors provide oversight and support where needed, to ensure all scheduled service can be performed seamlessly.
MAINTENANCE USE CASE: Maintenance staff proactively manage overall vehicle condition and health, to ensure all scheduled service can be performed seamlessly.
VEHICLE OPERATOR USE CASE: Vehicle Operators provide transportation, for all scheduled stops, for the community’s ridership; moving them safely and on time to their destinations. Operator logon to the MDT (mobile data terminal), and adherence to the schedule, are required to ensure data capture for all scheduled service and for real-time information for passenger trip planning needs.
OPERATIONS MANAGER USE CASE: Operations Managers provide oversight and support where needed for the Operations team, to ensure all scheduled service can be performed seamlessly.
DISPATCHER USE CASE: Dispatch is the first line of defense, managing service-related events throughout the day, for vehicle operators on the road. They provide oversight to ensure operators perform their jobs safely, accurately, and on time, as best as possible.
CUSTOMER SERVICE: Customer service representatives use Avail's real-time passenger information tools (myStop phone apps, myStop website) to provide support for passengers who need assistance in planning their trips, thereby increasing overall customer satisfaction.
MARKETING: Marketing staff manage public messaging to ensure the community is aware of the agency's transportation offerings.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT): Information technologists manage database platforms, firewalls, and VPN access; to ensure safe and secured access to the ITS technology for the agency.
SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION: System administrators manage personnel accounts and position settings for the ITS software
FINANCE: The agency finance team manages partnership accounts, payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and overall account balancing; to ensure a well-balanced budget for the agency.