Operations Redefined (The Term Itself)
For too long, the term Operations Management has been relegated only to a portion of a business — usually the back office or supply chain. This limited view has denied the root of the term, operate, and so we have most businesses operating in a state far from the ideal, often to the detriment of its executives, workforce, vendors, and customers, whether or not it turns a profit for its investors or is well-considered by the public.
My education in business management came about untraditionally, rooted in an intense and practical study of organization and administration, during what would normally be university years, working for a humanitarian organization that I bet you’ve heard of but actually know little about, and which happens to have amazingly effective IP. One day I’ll tell you about it. What’s relevant right now is that my years working at their organizations across the country staffed by people of all sorts from across the world, and then all my years in the businessworld since — temp gigs, contracted projects, and long durations at small shops, SMBs, multinational enterprises and startups alike, altogether involved with every industry that exists under the sun — showed me that all businesses have the same categories of challenges, issues, and potential solutions. Even broader details — missions, products, jargon, markets, pricepoints, popularity, logistics, culture — can be reduced to common categories. Each of these categories framed in a certain context has their own thrusts, predictability, pitfalls, and revenue impact.
See what I’m getting at? Commonalities well-organized across Knowns and Unknowns yield patterns. There are patterns everywhere, through everything, and the ability to see them is potentially make or break for an organization (or an individual or product or process), as long as you know what you’re looking for — and as long as you know that you are the one doing the looking! That second part is a skill unto itself. If that skill of knowing you are the one doing the looking is not recognized, value is impacted — value of the data itself because you could be blind to other relevant viewpoints (relevant by validity or merely because of who owns the other viewpoints) and of your own perceived value to the group you are viewing.
See, it could very well be that YOU see what’s going on, but if your existence in the group is not framed in a role where you’re supposed to be able to see it, it will quickly be discarded or buried by all but the most humble executives — and those are rare.
Then, if value is impacted, ability and access to whatever it is you’re supposed to discover in order to carry out whatever your end goal is will be impacted. Given enough pressure over a long enough period of time, business tanks and whatever was created goes down with it.
Having observed such chaos and its resulting implosion or explosion in different settings, and despite all the jargon that is rampant throughout the businessworld, each niche with its technical glossaries and parodies of exclusive ridiculosity (witness the advertising industry’s endless jokes at itself); despite, even, the existence of Industrial Engineering and Management Science as officially recognized and highly degreed subjects, there is one very basic term that has yet to be sufficiently recognized and attended to, and if so attended, opens the door to further recognition and alignment of well-organized priorities: OPERATIONS.
In an attempt to begin making up for all the time this term has been back-burnered, degraded, diluted, or otherwise misunderstood to the detriment of businesses and people across the globe, I’ll publicly redefine Operations now as “The analysis and execution of end-to-end actions in pursuit of a goal. It’s adopting the skyscraper view and inspecting the details of what, why, and how an individual and team chooses, produces, demands, delivers, and influences within and from a designated role through to deliverability and ultimate viability of the individual and the whole.” Cre8factory’s approach to Operations Management is then “Analysis and guidance of strategy and execution in the determination and direction of failure or success.”
Key to that analysis and guidance is identifying where one actually is compared to where one would like to be, and the steps to get from one to the other as necessary to any progress, let alone success. If you’re in the corporate world, you’ll recognize the concept of a Gap Analysis. If you’re an economist, the Production-Possibility Frontier likely comes to mind. But for goodness sake, don’t stop at either. Any billionaire worth his salt will tell you the devil is in the details. So when you’re drilling down, be sure to turn your information detectors all the way up.
It helps to liken anything potentially directly creating or merely contributing to viability to a cross between a physically manufactured product and a SaaS for the sake of identifying and tracking each component necessary to its profitable and lawful production, protection, quality control, deliverability, publicity, distribution, servicing, and ease of duplicating.
Where success is stalled, stopped, adversely impacted, or otherwise unattained, pivotal data are hidden by lies, unwillingness, or simply lack of knowledge.
If you are not moving towards success with minimal blowback, you are missing something!
In the next chapter, I’ll go over how to flush out what you’re missing.
Need my expertise? Contact me. I’m @cre8factory anywhere on the web.