Why Operations Management is So Important for Your Business
You’ll quickly find that staying on task with project benchmarks, billing and follow up are critical to your business success — the key operations management.
Operations management isn’t just any one aspect of being involved in a business. It has multiple disciplines which together pull disparate aspects of business operations together to make them manageable and interconnected. The processes needed to pull off effective operations management ensure that different parts of the business don’t work independent of one another leaving the business functioning like it’s trying to run in four different directions at the same time.
The Operations Manager takes on various roles and is often given a different title depending on the industry. For instance, within a physical goods manufacturing company, being the Operations Manager makes sense to people. However, with service businesses, they might be called the Project Manager or be named after the type of service the company is known for. Nevertheless, the chief role they perform isn’t all that different.
Whether you’re the founder and CEO, or plan to work your way up through the company, you’ll either eventually become the Operations Manager or their boss. So, it’s a good idea to better understand their importance to the business now.
Operational Perspective on Financial Matters
Accountants are used to working with facts and figures, but sometimes they cannot see the woods for the trees. It’s fair to say that they’re not known as a group for their furtive imagination. Similarly, while their spreadsheets and ledgers might be on point, they’re less clear about what money is needed for working capital or to improve internal operations.
An Operations Manager understands the processes and workflows that allow the business to produce, whether that’s a service or physical goods one. They’ll be more familiar with how the existing working capital is deployed specifically and the places where there’s too little money available vs what’s needed.
While the accountant may look at the total spend or what’s in the budget as fixed numbers on a spreadsheet, the Ops Manager knows when previous budgetary decisions are or will cause operational difficulties. They can raise these concerns and get them addressed before the situation becomes too severe.
Operational Perspective on Information Technology
There’s often a complete disconnect between what the IT department feel the right solutions are for the business and what’s actually needed.
In many respects, IT people love complicated software and technology that’s on the cutting edge. It keeps it interesting for them. Other times, they’re mostly familiar with the regular software and hardware solutions required in companies but are fairly unfamiliar with what’s needed on the operational side of things. The more specialist the operational requirement for the IT team, the worse the disconnect seems to be at times.
An Operations Manager isn’t in love with the technology. This frees them up to look sternly at what hardware and software solutions are needed to streamline how the business runs and to improve its efficiency too. This could require a simplification of what’s already there because it’s overcomplicating matters and confusing staff with too many options when only a few key ones are regularly used.
In other situations, sometimes a completely different technology is required to address bottlenecks in processes that overlap with IT. The Operations Manager will liaise with the IT department to work out the details of what’s needed and how it can be successfully implemented on their side.
Operational Perspective on the Engineers
Engineers are notoriously focused on figures and details. However, this can be to the degree that they’re myopic about other business aspects. Big picture view (or operational view) is not something that engineers do well. They’re excellent within their field, but struggle to see things from the company’s viewpoint.
This is an area where the Operations Manager certainly can help bridge the gap between processes that are brutally efficient and ones that will work cross-departmentally. Also, adjusting processes from engineers to make them more broadly applicable is worth doing too.
For people who like the idea of having a career as an Operations Manager, studying for a masters in operations management is a great way to go. The course from Kettering University can be taken online which is ideal for busy executives wanting to advance their prospects. It’s certainly a career that will never get boring.
Operational Perspective on Promotion and Marketing
The creative people in the marketing department love to come up with some inventive ideas. So much so that sometimes their ideas don’t gel with the reality of what’s currently possible for the company.
For instance, the reason some feature-packed product ideas haven’t been tried in the marketplace is because that many features would cost so much to produce that the sticker price would be unattractive to consumers. Just because a product idea can be dreamed up, or a flashy marketing plan can be devised, it’s not always right from an operational standpoint.
The company might not be able to produce the product or provide the service right now because it’s beyond its current capabilities by a wide margin. There may not be the capital to invest in new machinery to get tooled up to manufacture a vastly different product, and trusting outside manufacturers might be unwise. These aren’t concerns that the marketing team have, but it’s where the rubber meets the road with the operations team who might be expected to pull it off.
While an operations manager isn’t the gatekeeper for the business – that’s the CEO’s responsibility – they do inject some fiscal and operational reality into proceedings. This prevents the business from committing to a new product that it’s incapable of producing at a price point or a volume that will be necessary. A splashy marketing campaign might be fun but unrealistic based on the budget available. The marketing team will then be encouraged to be flashy on a smaller budget and get more creative about just how to do that. Ultimately, the larger a corporation gets, the bigger the departments become. Someone has to be there to get them all to cooperate for the good of the operation and the business as a whole. No one said it would be easy!