Policy, Process, Standards & Guidelines

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Do you have difficulty understanding the difference between Policy, Process, Standards and Guidelines? Why did we need all these and could we not do with just one set of “Poliprostalines”? 🙂

Well, let’s try using a simple context to understand the same:-

Business Case: You sell (or want to sell) oranges in the market, in a big way.

Now, to simplify your job and ensure others also understand that you mean business, and to define “work” and how to go about doing “work”, then these would probably be the broad set of ideologies you may want to establish:

Policy – defines broadly anything that you can do, want to do and won’t do, in line with your vision. These usually will define the framework for everything that you would want to do [usually the WHAT]

  • You will only deal with organic produce
  • You want to create new business models and bring in efficiencies
  • You will take care of employee and customer satisfaction

Process – defines (in detail) how you will do whatever you just said you will do in your policy. Process will essentially outline how you will realize your vision. These will take the form of building blocks for almost everything that you want to undertake [usually the HOW]

  • You will define how customers are handled
  • You will define how to maintain the buying experience consistent
  • You will define how you will handle the entire cycle of selection, packing and distribution

Standards – defines what the best practices are as already established in the industry or as based on your past experience. Standards will help bring consistency within Process(es)

  • You will establish standards for selecting oranges
  • You will establish standards for packing
  • You will establish standards for testing / ensuring quality

Guidelines – defines generic steps and criteria that can be followed to ensure conformance (verify) to standards and processes and policies. Any good to have / boundary conditions can also be described here. Together standards, guidelines and processes help establish quality

  • All sales must complete in 10 minutes
  • Feedback must be obtained from customers
  • All complaints must be recorded and handled the same day

Now, why the hell would you need such separate channels to deliver the goods (a policy, processes, standards and guidelines), well – each have their own purpose, reach and dimension. All work together to complement each other and aid in reaching a vision.

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