Operations Management Aren't Just Buzzwords - Why and How to Implement It in Your Business

Operations Management Aren't Just Buzzwords - Why and How to Implement It in Your Business
The Siliconreview
22 September, 2020

For many businesses out there 2020 has been an exceptionally difficult year. With the COVID-19 pandemic the majority of industries have been affected in some way, shape, or form. It has left many businesses scrambling to improve upon their existing business model, find ways to cut costs, and really take a lean approach. Well did you know that all falls under the umbrella of operations management? That’s right, operations management aren’t just buzzwords to throw around, they have real meaning and real purpose.

But are operations management something your company should be concerned about as we prepare to end the year and move into 2021? Here we’ll take a closer look at what operations management is, why it’s important, and how you can go about implementing it in your business.

What is Operations Management?

When defining operations management it's almost easier to point out what doesn't fit into this category. Operations management involves everything in the operational process of a company. That can include the procedures and processes themselves, marketing, staffing, shipping, and so much more. It is often described as a “holistic approach” because it takes a look at the entire process of a business from start to finish.

In terms of how the “management” word fits in, this is where things get more interesting. Operations management really involves plenty of analysis the gathering of data, critical thinking skills, technological knowledge, and of course interpersonal communication. The entire purpose of an operations manager is to ensure that operations are not only running smoothly, but that there is no waste, no redundant steps in the process, and no procedures being overlooked.

Why Should You Implement an Operations Management Position in Your Company?

In a time where many businesses are looking to cut costs and even reduce staff you may be wondering why should actually hire on an operations management position. How can taking on an additional salary, and therefore spending more money, benefit the company?

All you have to do is look at that definition of what operations management entails. An effective operations manager is one that can come in identify areas of waste, eliminate that waste, and thereby save the company money. They are also able to make processes more effective, more streamlined, and therefore more productive and possibly faster. That increased level of productivity can result in higher profits.

So as you start to look at all the benefits and positives this person can bring to the team, it’s easy to start to see how their salary will be justified.

How to Implement Operations Management Principals?

Did you also know that there are four main types of operation management theories? It’s not necessarily a one-size fits all approach. After all, industries and individual businesses can vary greatly and all have their specific needs. Understanding what the different theories or approaches are can help you to pick the right one for your business.

The four theories are:

Six Sigma: If your main goal is to improve the process output of your business, then the Six Sigma strategy can be the way to go. What this strategy does it look for and then identifies any errors and causes for defects. It then removes those causes, thereby improving the process output.

Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems: What this theory does is takes a close look at the software and hardware components being used in the company in order to make improvements. This one is meant to deliver rapid results.

Lean Manufacturing: Lean manufacturing is a theory many businesses embrace and is meant to constantly improve production workflow and find ways to eliminate excess inventory and overproduction, motion, and other waste.

Business Process Redesign: Sometimes it's necessary to redesign an entire process in order to make improvements. That process could fall into the category of customer service, marketing, production, sales, and other areas. It is as the name implies – a redesign of a current process or system.

You can click here to learn more about the various operations management theories and how you can in fact implement them in your company. Keep in mind it may also be necessary to use a combination of these theories in order to get the kind of substantial results you’re after.

Hiring Tips You'll Want to Use

So if you're convinced you need to embrace operations management and its various theories, and that the position of operations manager will in fact be worth it and probably pay for itself in the savings, then there are some tips to keep in mind. You want to be sure you're hiring on the right individual to lead the company through this period of change, reduction, elimination of waste, and potentially redesign of systems.

Some of the tips you’ll find helpful during the recruitment and hiring process include:

  • Look for someone who has worked as an operations manager before, ideally in the same industry.
  • Ensure they have the proper training and educational background so they are well-versed in the four main theories and how to apply them.
  • A good operations manager will be one that has excellent inter-personal skills and can communicate clearly and effectively with others. Remember, the operations manager will be working with all departments so effective communication is a priority.
  • They must have an eye for detail and be extremely organized. A big part of this job is tracking and analyzing various data, so that eye for detail will come in handy.
  • A good operations manager also knows how to use staff in the most effective way, being able to identify strengths and weaknesses and then set them up for success. At the same time they need to be able to motivate staff, which is typically most effective when you use positive forms of motivation.
  • Finally they need to be able to delegate effectively to ensure nothing gets missed.

Embracing Operations Management

So as the end of the year draws closer and you look for ways to tighten up the business and hopefully improve profits, operations management could be what you need to look into.