Operations & Process

Operations & Process

Operational processes make up the foundation for every company. They can either be bottlenecks that prohibit growth, or assets that enable growth. How are processes contributing to your business?

Areas of Focus

• Customer Fulfillment: Making the process easy for customers to work with you is essential. Creating custom portals for ordering and viewing products available can be an asset. If customers prefer a person to person engagement, meet them in that way. Fulfilling on your customers needs should be on their terms whenever possible. 

• Customer Service: It’s extremely important that customers feel taken care of throughout their purchasing experience and beyond. Allow your customers to voice their concerns, opinions, and recommendations in a way that will actually be acknowledged. Then listen, learn, and modify accordingly to gain their loyalty. 

Never forget the customer. While many grasp the importance of a strong customer service element, less realize that attaining this requires ongoing training and measurement. Don’t expect employees to know exactly how they should treat all customer situations. Being proactive in education, and implementing processes and tools to assist them, will pay off in dividends as customers continue to return.

There are always opportunities for improving processes, as there is always something to be tweaked or optimized. However, identifying what to improve, and how to improve it, is just as important as actually executing the improvement. Make sure you’re letting the data speak. 

• Process Metrics: To improve upon processes, it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of those currently in place. Choosing what to measure is critical for informing improvement decisions.

• Process Improvements: It’s one thing to identify areas for process improvement, but it’s another to improve these processes in a way that doesn’t interfere with normal operations. An incremental and methodical approach is key to initiating effective and balanced change.

• Supply Analysis: Establishing a consistent and cost effective pipeline for supplies to come in dependably and on time, can be extremely important for building sustainable operations. Material costs, among others, can constitute a substantial portion of total manufacturing costs. Gaining insight into these costs is critical. It allows you to proactively negotiate with suppliers, build in time and materials into your quotes, and positively affect your bottom line.

• Vendor Relations: A strong and diversified vendor network can be critical for creating strategic advantages over competitors, and will ensure smooth operations during uncertain times. These relationships can be just as important as those you build with your customers when creating long term sustainability in your organization. 

• Manufacturing Process Analysis: Reducing overhead manufacturing costs with a build-to-order model that reduces the amount of on-hand inventory needed can be helpful. Building in automation and LEAN manufacturing processes where applicable, can provide not only cost reductions, but also an ability to measure performance. When processes can be measured, accurate decisions can be made around requirements for machinery, human capital, and other factors. 

Ensuring that the process of getting your product or service out to the market is focused, streamlined, and accountable, you can bridge the gap between growth and profitability.

While backend operations (supply chain, manufacturing) and front end operations (customer fulfillment, support) are often recognizable, the power of strong staff operations are sometimes under appreciated. When this is optimized, overhead costs go down across the organization as staff members are able to execute on more in less time.

• Roles & Responsibilities: Identifying the correct operational roles throughout the organization is key to making the right hires that remain viable for the organization. Mapping out who holds what responsibilities, whether those responsibilities are fulfilled through contractors or internal employees, and how these responsibilities connect to company objectives, are all essential items worth getting right upfront.

• Talent Engagement: Keeping talent engaged is critical to ensuring that company operations don’t just continue, but thrive and evolve over time to improve the company’s overall capabilities. If incentives or changes in operations are incorrectly or inconsistently positioned, it can create a toxic work environment.  It’s important to build a positive accountability framework that will keep the staff engaged, encouraged, and motivated to do their best. 

• Communication: Ensuring that leaders are communicating with transparency and authenticity at all times will build trust amongst employees. Allowing team members to collaborate and hold accountability on behalf of the organization will build a much stronger culture for success. Implementing the right processes and software can significantly improve overall staff performance.

• Synchronization: Ensuring that organizational processes are viewed as a whole, in terms of how they link together, and how people embrace those processes is an important facet for driving improvement. Overall internal operations are only as strong as its weakest link.

It is vitally important to establish processes for staff members to utilize, and tracking metrics that can be evaluated for efficiency.