Operations management: why it matters to your small business

Operations management was once seen as something that only applied to manufacturing businesses. However, effective operations management is at the heart of all successful businesses, no matter how big or small they may be.

If you want to provide a better quality and standard of service/product to your customer, whilst minimising your costs, time and effort – you need to be able to manage and understand the resources and processes you use. Otherwise known as the inner workings of your business, this includes your employees, the technology and equipment you use within your business activities, as well as the flow of information in both client-facing and business-related activities.

Why the need for operations management

When you first start out in business, there’s a certain amount of trial and error needed, to get started. But as your business grows, you need to ensure you’re staying as efficient and effective as possible. This is why you need to manage the resources at your disposal. You need to understand and refine the operations within your business, to effectively build and grow it further.

This includes knowing that you’re using the right software and/or tools for you, optimising and clarifying the processes and  how you use them, documenting those processes in your SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) so you can evaluate and analyse as you go, as well as ensuring that all staff are working effectively and efficiently to the standards you expect.

Operations management enables you to develop a clear strategy to follow and have a clear documented process to replicate. You cannot scale your business, if you have no idea of what was needed and implemented, to get you to where you currently are. A successful business has a solid operation at its core – one that is regularly reviewed and updated.

The importance of planning effectively

To be effective and efficient, the different parts of your business should work well together. You want to know what steps are needed to reach your business goals and everything that’s needed to get you there.

This means planning out the projects and procedures involved, factoring in maintenance for equipment, ensuring there’s a plan for checking and updating your procedures and processes regularly, as well as ensuring employees are following those procedures and processes in their working patterns.

By planning everything in advance, you can ensure you have a clear process in place, as well as transparency in your practices. Planning gives you a chance to get clear on your objectives and expectations, as well as cut down on any confusion and miscommunications – two big causes for delayed completion dates and errors in service and/or production. This planning stage also helps you to address potential pain points within your business and minimise the likelihood of costly errors, further down the line.

Project evaluation and analysis – a crucial part of your operations management

Once you’re implementing your plan and managing your operations, it’s essential that you evaluate and analyse your results, to clarify what is and isn’t working for you. You’re looking to ensure your desired quality and standards are being adhered to, but also checking for consistency and tweaks you can make to the processes. You cannot make improvements if you’re not evaluating your results – so don’t skip this crucial part of managing your operations!

If you want to scale your business, you need to know what was needed and implemented, to get you to where you currently are. This is why operations management matters to your small business. It enables you to develop your SOPs so you have a clear strategy to follow and a clear documented process to replicate, so you can confidently, effectively and efficiently grow your business and continue providing the highest level of support to your clients.

If you’d like help setting up your Standard Operating Procedures or want to hire someone to oversee your operations management, why not get in touch? Working in partnership with you, I can liaise with your internal team and help you establish your SOPs, track and manage your objectives and ensure your systems are set up. So why not get in touch? Let’s have a chat and see how we can get you to that next level.

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