What Happens if Your Computer Crashes?
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are common place on dairies. Guidelines cover milking procedures, animal health and care protocols, calf care and more. But what about your farm office? What would happen if tomorrow your bookkeeper left, your computer permanently died and no one was left who knew how to run your office and data management systems?
Better get things down on paper, says Dick Wittman of Wittman Consulting in Culdesac, Idaho. Wittman is also part of the Farm Journal Legacy Project advisory team. He says an office SOP should document all office procedures, including:
- How databases are managed. On your dairy, how is current and archived financial information filed? How do you manage herd data archives?
- Computer access protocols. This documents who has access to specific information.
- Data backups. “Old school farmers like to have records stored in big three-ring binders,” Wittman says. “But we’ve gone to online technology using cloud-based systems so data can be stored and accessed anywhere. It’s organized in files like it’s in a binder, but everything is online.” Having documentation that shows how files can be accessed is critical.
- Network and internet protocols and procedures.
Wittman says once you have the SOP developed, use the information for training and orientation of all office and management staff. Continue to update the form as needed or as new information is available.