Operations Management

If you are already employed or running your own business, you may be thinking about business processes and how businesses operate to their maximum capacity ensuring business growth. You may be thinking about managing business operations. Operations management is often at the core of any growing and strengthening business. Put simply, operations management is vital.

Firstly, we should think about what the operations of any business are. There are financial operations, legal and compliance issues, human resources and employee management, stock operations and supply chain management, marketing and sales, business sustainability and growth, forward planning and innovation…. all these areas exist within any business.

In large organisational structures it is expected there will be a manager in charge of different aspects of the business mentioned above, however in smaller organisations it is not uncommon for the operations manager to oversee staff of each and all of the departments. Any business structure and organisational arrangement can differ tremendously.

The operations manager will be expected to contribute to the success of business or organisation by maintaining or producing products and/or services which lead to customer satisfaction and customer retainment where possible. The operations manager will also consider how costs can be reduced and provide a basis for the business to grow or expand into the future.

So the major role of the operations manager will be to develop a strategic plan in line with the rest of business goals and objective and to implement changes to operations through planning and control steps. The improving performance of the business is monitored and often measured, often against targets or performance criteria.

An operations management short course is a great place to start and to get a flavour for the range of responsibilities are areas in which an operations manager will delve. Try learning something new for a positive change in your work life.

Managing the Operations of an Office
The function of an office must always be viewed as part of a broader function, which is the successful operation of an organisation or business. The office supports and facilitates the activities of a business, government department or other organisation in providing goods and/or services.

Functions of an Office
An office is the centre of business activity, and there are all kinds of offices. In general, though, they share common functions. These include:

  • Initiating tasks by issuing instructions etc to appropriate departments or personnel.
  • Maintaining all documents in order and storing documents for easy access when required.
  • Creating necessary workplace documents, such as letters, memos, reports, receipts, and invoices.
  • Copying and duplicating documents.
  • Recording and monitoring results and outcomes of activities.
  • Handling incoming money and distributing money as required. 
  • Maintaining and updating staff records, payments and legal requirements.
  • Ensuring availability of equipment and materials. 
  • Receiving and communicating with people from outside the organisation (customers, sales representatives etc). 
  • Communicating with relevant people within the organisation.

These essential tasks are carried out through a range of different key processes:

  • Mail distribution
  • Communication
  • Records management
  • Time keeping
  • Pay roll
  • Costing
  • Inventory control
  • Credit control
  • Accounting control
  • Petty cash
  • Word processing services
  • Data entry
  • Systems analysis
  • Office layout/design

As you can see, the typical office is the hub of business operations and, therefore, essential to business success.

Operational Processes
A process is a series of purposeful events that result in a set outcome. A procedure is an established way of implementing or facilitating this process to ensure consistent, desired results. A good workplace process is an in-place system of procedures that:

  • Enable staff to meet or exceed clients’ expectations.
  • Meet business needs (i.e. the process is efficient, preventative, avoids duplication, is do-able, ensures consistency, and generates profit).
  • Includes all points of contact between customers and the business.

Flow charts are very useful for identifying the steps in a process. This allows us to evaluate a procedure according to different criteria. They help us do the following:

  • Identify all points at which the process comes into contact with customers, so that strategies can be taken to monitor and improve customer interactions at each point
  • Identify all contacts and uses of particular equipment, so that we can monitor and evaluate equipment usefulness and consider more effective uses of it.
  • Identify all regular interactions with other processes, so that we can monitor and evaluate outcomes at the end of a process, and monitor and evaluate the flow of products, services, or tasks into other areas to eliminate communication or procedural hiccups or breakdowns at points of transition.
    Train and re-train staff in a way that ensures consistent practice at established standards.


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