It’s one thing to have a lot of employees and revenue, but it’s another to have operations management that enables optimum efficiency. Your business is a finely tuned machine, just like a sports car. The indicators of an efficient operation include digital transformation, automation, and communication, among many other factors. If your business is lacking in any of these areas, then you have room to improve.
This article will discuss what operations management is, why it’s important, and how you can apply it to your business. Your goal is to optimize your operations management for scalability, which will help your business achieve its highest potential. This is much like how a car works best when it’s well-maintained, well-engineered, and driven properly.
What Is Operations Management?
Operations management is the process of enforcing good operations practices in an organization. It primarily refers to the supply chain, where goods and services are sourced, manufactured, and distributed. Operations management also ensures that the company follows all labor and environment regulations with an effective production process, which means utilizing optimal outputs with minimal inputs (like time, energy, and resources).
Because they’re responsible for managing many aspects of a company’s workflow operations, operations managers often face challenges, such as:
- Promoting business productivity
- Improving process quality and strategy
- Improving customer experience and satisfaction
- Deploying an enterprise-wide system or set of tools
- Addressing unresolved conflicts among departments
- Recruiting the right talent for different roles
With so many plates spinning at once, it’s easy for operations managers to let some issues fall through the cracks. That’s why it’s important to optimize your business’s operations management procedures to make your Chief Operations Officer (COO) and managers more effective in all aspects including quality control, supply chain management, and workflows.
Why Is It Important to Simplify Operations Management?
Streamlining business operations management challenges the “that’s how we’ve always done it” way of thinking and, as a result, finds easier ways to achieve the same or better results. The benefits can range from short-term boosts in productivity to better decision-making processes and long-term increased profits and agility.
Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of refining operations management for your business.
Creates Stronger Alignment on Business Goals
Enhancing operations management aligns your business processes with your key objectives. This strategic alignment puts all individuals and departments on a path working toward the same goals—without detours or wasted efforts.
Within your business, three strategic alignments need to happen to achieve this kind of operational harmony and functionality:
- Vertical Alignment: Strategies to ensure you’re fulfilling your organizational mission, vision, and values.
- Horizontal Alignment: Strategies to avoid business activities that may compete against each other.
- Operational Alignment: Strategies to make sure that the work is actually done. While vertical and horizontal alignment indicates what the company goals are, operational alignment determines how to accomplish the objectives—including the persons responsible, resources necessary, and processes required to achieve them.
These three strategic alignments ensure that every department of your company is working toward the same goals. Particularly, a finely tuned operations management system will make sure that what your business produces aligns with your higher-level corporate objectives. As a result, you can know that every daily action taken within your company is made in pursuit of an important target, like increasing sales, monitoring production processes, or improving the customer experience.
Upgrades the Customer Experience
In addition to promoting better internal alignment, a streamlined business operations management system also helps improve the end-customer experience. By refining the business process, your operations manager can encourage operational innovation, which will improve customer satisfaction by creating a higher-quality customer experience.
For example, Dell’s operations management team successfully improved its business by adopting a new distribution strategy in its supply chain management. Even before internet shopping was common practice, it used the internet to sell its products—cutting out retail go-betweens and deprioritizing brick-and-mortar stores.
Because of this operations management initiative, Dell was able to give superior customer service, offer lower prices, and increase bottom line profits. Dell started with $70 million in sales and skyrocketed to over $25 billion in 2000, which was all thanks to good business operations management.
Your operations management team can do the same, which will upgrade the customer experience and increase company revenue.
Every organization has bottlenecks that decrease productivity and functionality, but it’s the operations manager’s job to try to eliminate as many of these as possible. Some of the most common reasons for business bottlenecks include:
- Confusing and overwhelming business processes across departments
- Poorly designed workflows that lead to time-consuming tasks and missed deadlines
- Lack of communication and decision-making
- Inaccurate forecasting in the manufacturing process
- Lack of capacity planning and implementation
- Rigid technology that cannot adapt to business needs and production processes
Do any of these sound familiar? If your business experiences any of these, you definitely need to simplify your operations management. If left unaddressed, these bottlenecks can lead to a drop in your business’s overall efficiency and ability to meet growth targets.
Enhances Productivity (and Helps Pinpoint Inefficiencies)
Optimizing is all about business productivity—making better quality products, minimizing waste, speeding up production time, and reducing costs. When you focus on operations management, you evaluate the business tasks and production processes that need to be done and simplify them without changing corporate objectives.
Your operations manager will go through all business activities thoroughly, paying attention to:
- Ongoing tasks
- Tasks that need to be done
- The tasks that take the longest time
- Tasks that cost the company money
If they have a holistic view of all these areas, operations managers can figure out how to increase efficiency. By doing so, your business can then use all its resources and workers at full capacity and capability. A condensed operations management system will also pinpoint where and how different the business processes need to improve.
Your operations manager is one of the best-placed people to increase productivity because they:
- Understand all business operations
- Document and review all business processes
- Cross-examine business operations against industry competitors
- Assess each system’s functionality
Ultimately, enhancing workflows for all departments to be productive without friction or barriers.
If you have a comprehensive operations management system that covers all these areas and workflows, then your employees will have a more accurate idea of their deliverables and the expectations from them. As a result, they’ll focus on improving their outputs and functionality, instead of scrambling with unnecessary tasks.
Encourages Team Communication and Collaboration
With strategic operations management, employees will be more connected to each other. This means communication will be easier for increased efficiency—especially if you want to encourage more collaboration across different teams, like sales, marketing, and product development.
Operations management can integrate big teams scattered in different locations, ensuring everybody works the same way and toward the same objectives, regardless of time zone or work environment. This is especially important now, with distributed and remote teams becoming increasingly popular among international businesses.
Accountability also increases with communication, where departments can monitor what tasks are being done and completed. Employees will spend less time trying to get a hold of each other, achieving business goals in a more timely manner.
Improves Time Management
Operations management also improves time management across the company.
Employees won’t need to go through many business processes just to do simple tasks. They can quickly send documents that require a manager’s approval or get an invoice approved from the finance and accounting department in a matter of seconds. They also won’t need a 10-step process just to get a project approved. Streamlined business operations, therefore, minimize the time it takes to complete projects on a day-to-day basis.
When you remove tedious and time-consuming tasks from your employees, they’ll focus on the most important aspects of their job. This practice leads to higher employee satisfaction, which directly influences higher productivity and functionality levels. With less tedious tasks, they can spend all their time toward achieving business objectives (like converting leads to customers, addressing customer demands, or improving customer satisfaction of existing clients).
Reduces Business Risks
Simplified operations management will give you greater business transparency, which will help you identify and avoid potential risks and bottlenecks.
You can capture your employees’ progress, identify where the business process needs to improve, ensure that your business is complying with regulations, and ensure that the product or service you’re producing arrives at the end customer on time and of the highest quality standards observed.
Not only will you protect your consumer base, but you’ll also open opportunities to expand and create new markets.
Optimizing via automation improves quality control within your business by reducing the risk of human error that leads to costly mistakes. This practice helps you with business process optimization. Employees are less likely to produce an output that is not in compliance or of the quality required or even just make a typo while entering large amounts of repetitive data.
How to Refine Operations Management
Now that you know the benefits of streamlining operations management within your business workflows, how should you go about doing that? The factors you need to prioritize revolve around digital transformation, automation, communication, and education across all of your departmental teams and supply chains.
Let’s get into the details.
Prioritize Digital Transformation
A digital transformation framework brings your digital tools together to create an operations management system. With the pressure to stay competitive, build resiliency, and provide customer satisfaction, digital transformation is necessary to improve your business processes and meet customer expectations and market demand.
With the right technology partners, businesses of any size can prioritize digital transformation to cater to today’s customer base. Digital tools, such as a fully equipped call center that leverages a VoIP phone system and software integrations, are specifically designed for the job.
Digital transformation for operations management will reap the following benefits:
Better quality control
- Improved operations functionality and service delivery
- Expansion and growth in your respective market
- Meet customer demand for better customer satisfaction
- Increased innovations with new products and services
Optimization of business processes
- Increased financial viability and predictability
- Superior sales and marketing activities
Leveraging human resources
- Acquisition and retention of new talents
- Ability to leverage a remote workforce
If you prioritize digital transformation, you’ll set your business up for success in the highly digital and fast-paced customer landscape of our modern world.
Automate Repeated Tasks
Automation is a major point of digital transformation, as it enables you to effectively streamline your operations. As a result, you’ll be able to leave redundant tasks of the business to computers—and achieve the kind of digital transformation that pushes your business forward. With automation, you can build sustainable and reliable business processes that protect and raise your end profit.
Even with our modern world moving toward an IoT system, operations managers might be wary of automating their operational processes. Many of their reasons revolve around budget constraints, lack of familiarity with automation options for production processes, and lack of time to spare migrating to a new system.
Your operations manager or COO might have similar concerns. A survey even showed that 57% of operators do not have automation projects scheduled in the near future.
In reality, however, operations automation can help with reducing your business operation costs, increasing productivity, ensuring high functionality, availability, reliability, and performance optimization. Automation is well worth the time and investment for your business to thrive.
If you’re not sure what specific business processes to automate, then these are the questions you should ask:
- What will make your organization’s processes more efficient?
- How often will you use this automation?
- What will make your work easier?
- What does your organization need?
- Which tasks take up the most time?
Once you’ve identified the areas to automate, then you’ll be able to refine your operations management.
Focus on Communication
For your operations management (and overall business!) to function like a well-oiled machine, you need to use effective communication tools. As mentioned earlier, good communication encourages collaboration, alignment, and optimized customer service.
One way to do so is by incorporating Computer Telephony Integration (CTI), which connects your telephones with computers seamlessly. When you use cloud-based calling software, you can also integrate the communication program with your CRM and Helpdesk systems. As a result, you’ll have greater transparency and visibility across departments. You’ll also be able to increase authenticity in customer interactions and optimize your workflows.
Operations Management Benefits of Integrating a Cloud-Based Call Center
- Accessible and relevant customer data
- Seamless internal collaboration
- Automated sales and support activities and data collection
Customer Service Benefits of Integrating a Cloud-Based Call Center
- Use CRM integrations to connect conversations
- Segment target audiences
- Score leads for sales teams
- Personalize customer interactions
- Anticipate customer needs
- Access robust call center analytics
When you prioritize communication, you put your customers and your internal team first.
Educate Your Team
When you’re done implementing those changes, educate your team on the new course of business operations. After all, operations management is nothing without a well-informed and aligned team.
Ensure that you have regular and frequent training opportunities (with refresher courses) to educate your team on business operations and boost their skill sets. If you conduct sessions that dive deep into the company’s current and new business processes and tools, you’ll increase productivity and overall performance as a result.
Here are a few tips when educating your team:
- Keep workers engaged by listening to their inputs for efficient operations management.
- Share metrics and KPIs with all employees to motivate them and hold each other accountable.
- Schedule regular team meetings to boost morale, improve productivity, and increase efficiency and functionality.
- Encourage frequent but short breaks to generate focus and complete tasks with fresh eyes. This not only lets team members relax but also helps them maintain good healthcare practices.
- Emphasize excellent customer satisfaction and experience to be the end goal. This eliminates tasks that won’t contribute to customer satisfaction, workflows, and business results.
- Set up a virtual call center for everybody to stay connected even when working remotely.
Optimized teams have higher functionality and productivity. This enables your business to deliver quality outputs at the least amount of time—leading to higher profits. Educating your team on optimizing efficiency reduces the time your employees spend on unimportant tasks and limit distractions whenever possible.
Simplified Operations Management Through Communication + Automation
Your business is a machine that can reach unimaginable speed and efficiency. In order to unlock its potential, you need to simplify operations management with good communication and smart automation. Doing so will have your business processes at its highest efficiency. This will help you produce quality outputs at minimal input, which will directly impact your bottom line profits.
Not sure where to begin? Our team at Aircall can help set you in the right direction.
Aircall is a cloud-based call center software designed to foster seamless communication across your organization. The system anchors on business process automation for the benefit of both internal and external stakeholders. Aircall combines its call center system with software integrations, giving you a proper scope of your operations to streamline and centralize all necessary information and data.
Aircall connects to your tools, gives you operational visibility, and enables productivity across the board. As a result, your organization will run smoothly and efficiently—and makes sure you’re ready to power ahead into the future.