When it comes to running a business in the digital era, with so many factors affecting delivery, budget, production, and more, the role of an operations manager has never been more vital. Without an effective operations management plan in place that is overseen by an operations manager in order to align operations with the business goals, businesses may fall victim to inefficiencies that could be detrimental to their business or get left behind due to not keeping up with the times.
Having an operations management plan in place will help businesses future-proof themselves against all advancements in the business climate as they will be able to adapt to them as they see them coming, and also help businesses to streamline their processes in order to be more efficient.
What is operations management?
Operations management is the administration of business processes and practices with the goal of creating the highest level of efficiency and quality possible within a business. Operations management is the driving force behind a business’s operations, which means it revolves around the production and delivery of products and services as these are the operations of the business where it is needed.
Implementing an operations strategy that aligns with the business strategy is vital to the success of a business as it ensures that the business will remain competitive in the ever-changing market. Having a strong operations strategy will help businesses optimise the use of their resources, processes, people, and technology in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Operations management and operations strategy go hand in hand as the strategy is the set of decisions that an organisation makes regarding the production and delivery of products or services. When considering each step of the manufacturing process or delivery of a product, all these decisions regarding the various operations form part of the operations strategy.
Operations strategy is the plan that businesses use that specifies the design and use of resources to support the business strategy. This includes decisions such as:
- Location of production and distribution
- Scale of operations
- Type of facilities available
- Obtaining of materials
- Employee skills and talents required
- Use of technology
- Processes needed
- Equipment needed
- Quality control methods
The operations strategy must be aligned with the company’s business strategy in order to achieve the business’s long-term goals.
The role of an operations manager
The operations manager is responsible for overseeing the operational activities at every level within the company. Using technology to simplify the process, operation managers are responsible for:
- Overseeing daily operations
- Developing operational policies and procedures
- Identifying and addressing problems and opportunities
- Managing budget
- Planning, reporting, and auditing
- Ensuring regulatory compliance
- Supervise supply chain and inventory management
- Ensuring everyone involved completes their tasks on time
The benefits of operations management
When it comes to the benefits that operations management can bring to a business, there are more than a few to list. A strong operations strategy revolves around refining and specifying a business’s strategy and formulating strategic initiatives and operational plans to help all the departments within a business to successfully implement and work towards the overall business strategy. The benefits of doing so include:
Improves employee efficiency
Having all departments and employees working together towards the same goal ensures that everyone is on the same page and knows exactly what is expected of them. This will help employees be more efficient as there will be no guesswork for them and they can carry on with their tasks because they have everything they need to complete them. An operations strategy helps ensure that all employees contributing to an operation make use of their time and skill efficiently.
Promotes department cooperation
An operations strategy outlines and defines how the tasks of various departments tie in with each other and how they can work together in order to achieve the same goal. Having a defined correlation between departments allows each department to understand how they are related to each other and helps to enhance the decision-making process because everyone is aware of how their tasks overlap or which are dependent on each other. This will promote department cooperation and lead to a more efficient working environment for all.
Improves resource management
There is usually a limited amount of resources available in a business which means that it is vital to ensure that all your resources are used efficiently, especially when times get busy. This is where operations strategy helps. Having an operations manager who is aware of all resources and department needs ensures that the departments that are in need of resources get them at the appropriate times and that no resource is double booked which could cause a delay in operations. Operation managers can also see which resources are not needed as frequently by their department and can reassign them to departments in need.
Improves customer experience
An effective operations strategy includes discussions around customers, their expectations, and how to both meet and exceed those expectations. This allows businesses to clearly define ways in which customers should be treated which help to standardise the customer experience so that it is cohesive and ensures that customers are treated the same every time they interact with the business. Having a standardised customer interaction helps make and keep customers happy, and happy customers are more likely to return to the business.
Gives the business a competitive advantage
An effective operations management strategy gives the business an opportunity to stay ahead of the competition by always having someone, the operations manager, on the lookout for advancement and trends within the industry. Managing internal and external factors in a business is an operations manager’s duty, and this allows them to foresee and adapt to any changes before their competition may.
Having an effective operations strategy in place helps promote a business’s reputation of delivering quality products/services and customer satisfaction which leads to an increase in both customers and revenue. Happy customers are more likely to return and they may even bring with them a few of their friends because they believe in the business’s products/services and values.
Ensures product/service quality
Operation management centres around the operations of a business and how to make it more efficient as well as to ensure that checklists are created to keep all parties involved on track with their tasks. This ensures that quality standards are met and that no shortcuts are taken in the operations in order to produce the same quality product/service time and time again.
As you can see, operations management is a great business strategy to utilise because of the many benefits that come along with implementing an effective operations strategy. From ensuring all standards of quality are met to creating custom workflow processes that will help the efficiency of operations, operations management is key to the success of operational businesses in today’s times.
Brush up on your operation strategies by signing up for an operations management course online and give yourself the tools you need to succeed in the digital age.