The role of an Operations Manager brings with it a wealth of responsibilities; from anticipating team needs to ensuring quality standards and increasing productivity, the challenges are many and varied. But that also brings rewards, in being able to play a key role in the success and growth of an organisation.
The role is crucial for managing the business’ strategic approach to onsite operations. Here, we take a look at some of the challenges facing senior Operations professionals. Do they resonate with you? Have we missed any? We’d love to hear how you overcome these in your role.
1. Managing Scope of Responsibility
The remit of Operations is wide, collaborating with departments including HR, Finance, IT, Marketing and Logistics. Operations is usually first on the list for project management, implementation and troubleshooting; so the sheer breadth of the role can be intense.
The breadth of scope requires extraordinary multi-tasking skills, as well as knowledge of a variety of areas of the business. It’s essential to understand what’s required to enable the organisation to grow, and how this fits with business objectives. Simply spending time ‘on the ground’ across your various locations is invaluable for developing this knowledge; enabling you to know exactly what will help to make fee earners lives easier or staff to be more productive.
2. Adapting to Changing Needs
Operations is a fast-paced environment, with a lot of plate-spinning! Priorities change, so being able to confidently adapt is a vital skill. Yet, being super organised is also necessary, so balance is required. With numerous requests piling up, managing expectations and prioritising workload can be a challenge.
Managing conflict between departments or processes is another area of concern. Clashes can adversely affect the efficiency or productivity of operations, so it’s necessary to ensure that quality processes and standards are met. As the glue between departments, encouraging collaborative communications and goals between stakeholders can help get everyone on the same path.
3. Ensuring Process Quality and Compliance
Often sales staff hate admin or anything that prevents them from doing what they do best – selling! However, data quality and compliance requirements must be met. Errors can cost a business, and not just in terms of data breaches, security and reputation. Without the necessary business information it’s difficult to assess productivity, budgets and targets effectively.
One way to ensure process quality is to implement systems that ensure that only relevant information is quickly recorded, if possible via automated technology that prompts the user or flags errors. Education is helpful; explain why the processes are important (and how they will ultimately help staff to be more successful).
4. Implementing New Processes
So, you’ve finally selected a new supplier or system that will make a big impact on cost or efficiency (or both!). Implementing the new process can be fraught with hurdles, making you wonder if the benefits are worth it. Challenges may include;
• Loss of productivity during implementation and training period
• Promised budget or resources unavailable
• Disruption to the supply chain
• Employees reluctant or unable to adapt to the new system
Operations teams need to be strong at not only identifying improvements, but also ensuring employee engagement and driving change forward.
To reduce the risk and ensure successful implementation, relevant stakeholders need to be included early on to encourage buy-in. Again, education and additional performance support during the transition should encourage better commitment from all parties.
5. Focus on Innovation and Improvement
In the quest to ensure streamlined Operations teams always need to be one step ahead. Do employees have everything they need to do their job, to the best of their ability? Are they lacking equipment or processes? Part of the job is anticipating needs before your teams know they have them!
With a focus on efficiency, it’s crucial to focus on innovation and improvement. This could mean seeking new ways to reduce overheads, or introducing innovative ways to increase productivity. Consolidating suppliers may bring cost reductions and simpler processes, while new printers or IT systems can reduce downtime.
6. Sourcing and Developing Talent
Surrounding yourself with a great team is no easy feat. Successful businesses need great people to prosper; and this element of the Operations role is fundamental. As well as finding talent, employees must be trained, supported and developed – the responsibility for which falls into the Operations remit, in conjunction with HR and Training.
Employees must feel supported and able to meet KPI’s, and have the necessary resources to do so. Reward and motivation initiatives must fit operationally, along with well-planned schemes for on-boarding and development. Demonstrating effective leadership is central to meeting sales and profit targets.
7. Supporting Customer Satisfaction
In a customer-centric organisation, ensuring customer satisfaction is not just down to sales or marketing. Operationally, your teams are interacting with customers every day; there is no better way of knowing what customers like and what they don’t like! You are well placed to report any problems and implement processes to help solve them.
KPI’s can play a key role here. Ensuring that customer-facing employees can access relevant information at the right time is an effective way to resolve issues. Technical support can assist this further, providing real-time guidance and suggesting relevant prompts or resolutions.
The Operations team is an invaluable element of any business; improving efficiency, reducing costs and driving company performance. As someone that plays a vital role in enabling your business to succeed, we’d like to do the same for you.
Our consolidated multi-category solution could help you to:
• Reduce operating costs
• Ensure effective overhead/spend management
• Simplify processes through one order, one invoice and one delivery
To find out more, speak to us today.