What Can Operations Teach Services?

If we take time to steal some wisdom from the realm of Operational Management all managers can use their mantra for success regardless of the operational context.

So, what should managers consider as a road map for success? The following pointers should be uppermost in your mind:

  • Environmental sustainability, recycling and wherever possible, reuse. This impacts directly upon the bottom line as both partners in the supply chain expect it and equally importantly this will save money. ALL managers are judged on the cost of their operations so savings should be actively chased. Shouldn’t they?
  • Risk management. Quantification and fully understanding the risks that the business is facing is a key aspect of successful management. Map them, audit them, work towards eliminating them, update them – whatever it takes be fully informed and knowledgeable at all times. No excuses.
  • Globalisation of supply and demand. The world is a shrinking place in every way you can imagine: distance is not an issue anymore, neither is the availability of labour, capital, technology and information. Similarly the concept of the traditional customer has long-gone! Embrace globalization but never fear it.
  • Reducing time to market. No customer worth their salt is prepared to wait long periods of time to receive the good or service they have purchased. Organisations that can deliver immediately or as fast as possible whilst meeting the correct quality parameters survive and success – this that don’t fail. Hence look seriously at lead-times and work to squeeze them down to give you competitive advantage.
  • Achieving and sustaining high quality while controlling cost. This should be the absolute minimalist position in any business: always review systems and timelines to ensure the product or service is the very best it can be for the least cost. Or your competitors will do this for you and you will not have a business!
  • Integrating new technologies and control systems into existing processes. Look to revise and refresh operational systems: just because they were working well last year does not mean they are doing so now! Your competitors are doing this now – so why aren’t you doing this?
  • Obtaining, training, and keeping qualified workers and managers. Quality staff deliver quality outcomes for customers without exception. Assess the human capital you have and identify what can be done to significantly improve your resources here.
  • Working effectively with other functions to accomplish the goals. Successful organisations put aside internal differences and strife to ensure that the unified vision is around customer delight rather than scoring points and internal conflict and friction.
  • Integrating production and service activities at multiple sites in decentralised companies. Large multi-site businesses must have a strong and reliable means of ensuring that effort is directed to the same goal regardless of location. A multi-site organization not pulling together is an organization that is, or will be, failing.
  • Working effectively with suppliers and customers. How good is your supply chain? How robust is it and do the constituent parts actually work together? Where is the friction and how can this be removed?
  • Strategic alliances. Where are your strongest and most important commercial linkages? Are they of good quality, are they robust and reliable? How can they be improved and what new alliances are either needed or being sought?

Good Luck!

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