Operations nuggets from the information badger

“In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product and profits. Unless you’ve got a good team, you can’t do much with the other two.”                     – Lee Iacocca

  • Operations delivers the goods; know, understand, and comply with the contracts you have with your clients, partners and suppliers.
  • What gets measured gets done; use a suite of metrics that provide a quantitative view of the overall operational status and forecasts of your business.
  • Report operational progress against an approved business plan monthly; ensure reports include not only the current operational status, but also an objective forecast for the next fiscal year quarter or half.
  • Have and operate a clear risk management methodology which promotes early identification of risks, issues or potential threats; use clear processes that promote an open and supportive  early warning culture.
  • Review operational status with a frequency relevant to your business (weekly or monthly); always look at the order pipeline, the delivery status of contracts, resourcing, risk, and business infrastructure (buildings & facilities, IT service etc).
  • Review attrition of key skills in the workforce and assess its impact on future operations; take action to address the root causes of adverse attrition trends.
  • Always focus on all aspects of security, especially cyber security and matters relating to the security, privacy and handling of business, people, and client data.
  • Pay special attention to both Health & Safety matters in the workplace, and also safety obligations of any type that appear in signed contracts.
  • Track and assess the impact of potential legal claims from clients or subcontractors and suppliers, and also claims raised by the business on clients and subcontractors; ensure the net impact (positive or negative) is included in operational forecasts.
  • Act swiftly and decisively to mitigate any adverse operational trends, and drive action to address issues or risks to a definitive and timely conclusion.
  • Regularly audit operational functions and contracted work to ensure policy, process and quality expectations are met, and to identify opportunities for operational process, control and efficiency improvements; use personnel independent of line management for this purpose.
  • Manage unexpected operational crisis events using a structured approach that engages all relevant stakeholders and formulates an agreed resolution strategy.
  • Have a Business Continuity Plan for incidents  that disrupt or threaten survival of the business (e.g. terrorism, natural disasters, fire, flood, etc), train key personnel and regularly conduct desk-based practice against credible event scenarios.