For a business with operational processes in dire need of an overhaul, the task of finding a solution can be daunting, especially in a large organization with many departments, locations, and operations.
What some businesses fail to realize is that most operational issues are overlapping and can be brought together under one unified and holistic approach - by implementing an operations management system (OMS).
The goal of operations management is to maximize an organization’s output and deliver results by ensuring that operational processes are designed and carried out in a way that makes the most of company resources.
Operational processes are focused on how your business will deliver your product or service and these processes directly affect your customers. Failing to manage operational processes properly can lead to disastrous consequences for your business.
What is Operations Management?
Operations management (OM) is defined as the design, operation and improvement of the systems that create and deliver a business’ primary products and services.
An operations management system (OMS) is the framework used to improve day to day operations by improving operational processes. For example, a critical function of operations management is managing inventory throughout a supply chain. To manage operational processes, it's important to understand what processes are essential, how they interact with other processes throughout the chain, and to eliminate processes that are redundant or unnecessary.
Defining operational processes means finding the most efficient ways to manage raw materials, production systems, quality control and analysis, IT services, marketing, company policies and so on. This is done by implementing a uniform company culture of continuous improvement, which encourages employees at all levels in the organization to strive for improvement and to develop and share best practices.
Similar to business process management, an OMS sets the goals and outlines how you get there - like a manual for your business. In the OMS, each and every employee’s responsibility in meeting those goals is clearly defined, as are the operational processes needed to achieve them.
A Holistic Approach to Operations Management
A holistic approach to operations management can perhaps yield the most results in our current economic climate. The purpose of this holistic approach is to understand and manage complex operational systems by analyzing the whole system in order to better understand the parts.
This approach is beneficial because it can help you improve system performance in the face of uncertainty and constant change, thanks to a greater understanding of how any small change may affect the whole system. Furthermore, a constant feedback loop helps your organization effectively monitor the effects of any changes made, and quickly make adjustments when necessary.
With a holistic approach, proposed improvements are based on theories developed from use cases, surveys, action research, and field experiments, and decision making is based on qualitative models, not just quantitative.
The Benefits of an Operations Management System
An operations management system is not just a structure for improving operational processes, it's a way of working, a mentality that engages the entire workforce and creates a uniform company culture.
Great Employee Collaboration, Engagement, and Purpose
By focusing on continuous improvement throughout the organization, every employee becomes an agent of change. This helps the organization improve little by little from the ground up through the use of best practices. This knowledge sharing promotes greater collaboration throughout the organization and gives employees a greater sense of purpose, which in turn increases engagement.
Greater Productivity and Efficiency with Less Errors
It’s no secret that strong employee engagement results in an increase in employee productivity. When this is coupled with more streamlined operational processes, the standardization of procedures helps to reduce human error and overall operational efficiency increases.
More Proactive, More Automated, Less Redundancies
The implementation of an OMS also supports digital transformation. OM puts IT at the center of operations in a way that allows IT professionals to be more proactive than reactive, allowing them to more quickly identify and manage risk.
Furthermore, an OMS is supported by digital tools that increase automation and help eliminate mundane and redundant tasks. This again boosts employee satisfaction and helps to quicken the time to market to give your business a competitive advantage.
A Safer and More Adaptable Workplace
By employing metrics to keep a finger on the pulse of all operations, change management is significantly improved. Any issues that arise can be detected and effectively dealt with quickly to increase the adaptability of your business. Tools like employee software monitoring or workflow optimization can help your business leverage valuable metrics. This is essential to staying competitive in a constantly evolving market.
Last but not least, the utilization of best practices and employee monitoring technology strengthens the safety of your workplace. Furthermore, the standardization of procedures, increased collaboration, and transparency that an OMS provides improves both internal and external relationships.
Digital Tools to Support your Operations Management System
A good OMS relies on businesses to track, monitor, and measure key metrics within the organization. This is a common practice for almost any business, but the degree to which it allows companies to effectively manage their operational processes is dependent on the tools they employ.
While comprehensive OMS software exists, you can also increase the efficiency of your organization by making the most of the resources and tools you already have available to you. For example, if your business is already using BI tools, enterprise system monitoring software, time tracking software, or even tools for monitoring employee computer use, all of these can be leveraged to help improve your operational processes.
Generally, OM software helps your business plan, monitor, and coordinate operational processes while identifying and mitigating issues like bottlenecks.
Take a look at these 5 useful tools available to help you streamline your operations -
“Integrify automates many of the repetitive tasks you and your coworkers have to do every day while making the rest of your organization much more efficient. Interify provides low-code, cloud-based software that helps automate processes and streamline workflow.”
“Praxie is a large community for business process software with online best practices, tools & templates for strategy, innovation management, manufacturing operations, change management and more!”
“Zapier is a powerful and easy to use tool that allows end users to integrate the web applications they use and automate workflows. You can connect two apps (or multiple apps) to automate repetitive tasks without writing any code to build the integrations. As of 2021, it connects to more than 4,000 apps, with free and paid plans.”
"Next Matter is an all-in-one operations platform that enables teams to capture, visualize, automate, and execute their processes from end-to-end. Using Next Matter, teams transform their manual, email-driven operations into automated, digital processes that bring their team members, tools, workflows, instructions, and more in a simple-to-use, no-code/low-code system."
Insightful workforce analytics & productivity software helps your business unlock operational efficiency through the power of work data. Insightful is a step up from standard employer monitoring software. Insightful helps your business reduce bottlenecks and optimize workflows, create more efficient processes, and foster productivity. Insightful’s computer monitoring features can provide transparency and visualization that help with the identification, implementation, and assessment of operational improvements.