Made to Last: Developing an Operational Strategy

Making operational improvements is difficult on its own, but ensuring that they are sustainable is even more of a challenge. When developing an operational improvement strategy, it’s absolutely critical to think about the long-term risks and challenges. Otherwise much of the investment that the organization makes in improving its operations will be ultimately lost.

Developing the Correct Metrics

You can’t ensure that your improvements are operating correctly without first identifying the correct metrics. If your operational improvements are efficiency-based, for instance, you will need the appropriate data to properly track how efficient the operations are. If your operational improvements are revenue-based, your job may be easier; you will simply need to be able to track your profit and loss and associate it with the improvements that you have made. Metrics need to be as accurate as possible, but what you’ll really be looking for is how your metrics operate in relation to each other. If your operational improvements are lasting, you should be able to see a steady trend for the better.

Invest in Resource Management

Ensuring that your operational resources are aligned with your initiatives is key to creating long-lasting change. When it comes to resource management, you need to streamline your operational resources so that there are no incompatibilities or disruptions between initiatives. Sometimes it may appear that there are not enough resources to keep up with a company’s goals, when in truth the resources are there, they are just allocated poorly. A broad overview of the company’s operations and assets is necessary to make sure that every asset is being used to the fullest extent.

Run a Detailed Analysis

Analysis should factor into every part of the operational improvement process, from assessing the organization’s weaknesses to determining the best and most risk-free methods of addressing them. A careful analysis should run through the operational improvements step by step, asking important questions such as: How will this impact the organization? What risk factors are involved? How will this change in the coming years? Further, each initiative should be future-proofed by examining how the initiative will fit into the company’s focus in the future as well as right now.

Develop Your Relationships

Strategic relationships should be developed between vendors and resource providers to ensure that a business can grow with as much room as possible. Referral sources and services will also provide a vital safety net for a company that is poised for growth and interested in long-lasting improvements. When it comes to business, profit rarely occurs within a vacuum. The more support an organization has, the more likely it is to be able to succeed. Vendor acquisition and contract management can also become an important part of this strategy.

Create a System of Accountability

Accountability is not about blame or pressure. Rather, accountability actually empowers individuals with the responsibility to have a direct impact on the organization’s operations and its success. By creating a network of accountability, you create a clear cut grid of responsibilities that directly relate to certain initiatives. Through this, the individuals throughout your hierarchy will be able to own individual outcomes and will be able to work towards it together in a focused and determined manner. When accountability systems are introduced, it becomes easier to identify areas in which operational improvement may have faltered.

Though it may take some time, investing in sustainable operations improvements is the only way to truly develop an operation over time. Without sustainability, these operational improvements will be costly and ultimately unrewarding. But not every business is well-equipped to assess and analyze its own improvements. SAMS offers detailed support for organizations of all sizes and industries, including operational assessment, consulting, and improvement.