Structure of an Order
A written order has several advantage over an oral order:
- If the order is complete, there is no question about what the order was.
- Being documented, you can follow up on the completion.
U.S. Marine Corps "five paragraph order."
- The U.S. Marine Corps is a likely source for finding the most effective way to write an order.
- The USMC acronym for its "five paragraph order" is SMEAC; Situation-Mission-Execution-Administration-Conclusion.
- To adapt this to business use, I suggest the acronym: STOIC.
- The "STOIC" order:
- Situation. This is what is wrong that I want to fix.
- Task. This is what I want you to get done.
- Order. These are the steps that I am ordering you to do.
- Information. These are the names, addresses, phone numbers, dates, and all other information I think you might need to follow the steps.
- This is probably the cleverest part of the five-paragraph order.
- When giving an unordered order, we tend to rush into the information while explaining the task.
- The order giver tends to have to "keep going back" to some other point before going to the next point.
- First state what you want done. Then add all the information that goes along with it.
- Conclusion. This is what I think about getting the task done.
- Sample STOIC order:
Date: May 1, 2004
From: Roy Reuter
To: Agela Saunder
In the past few weeks we have had to send back four cases of #5000e Windgets because customers returned them to us as defective. In each case it looks like the windgets were squeezed or crushed until some of the inside parts broke. At about the same time that we began getting these returns, the manufacturer started putting the windgets in a blister pack instead of in a box. I think that the windgets are getting broken in shipping.
Set up a procedure for the clerks checking in the merchandise to check the windgets before they go on the shelves.
- When an order comes in, open the windgets first.
- Remove windgets from their blister packs, check them, and put the good ones back in the package.
- Package up the defective ones.
- Fill out a return order.
- Fax a copy of the return order to the manufacturer.
- Fax me a copy.
- Ship the defective windgets back to the manufacturer by UPS or the best way.
- Fax me a copy of the written procedure for my approval.
- Once approved by me, review this procedure with your assistants.
- Send me a note of when you reviewed this procedure with your assistants.
- Use the green return order form DF43.
- Manufacturer is Avalon Gadgets, 34 Maine St Outlayington GA 30399-5643.
- Avalon Gadgets fax is (678) 334-9854
- My fax number is (343) 232-8593.
- Phone me if there is a problem with executing this order. (343) 232-8754.
This extra handling and shipping cost could make windgets unprofitable for us. Hopefully after a few returns, the manufacturer will get the idea and go back to the sturdy boxes they used to use. If that does not happen, we may change the procedure or we might simply continue handling the product.