How well you carry out your role as an operations manager impacts your company’s profitability and competitiveness, irrespective of its size. When you create efficient operating procedures, you minimize production costs, thus increasing the bottom line for your organization. Your leadership skills will be tested when you’re tasked with optimizing productivity while keeping all members of your team motivated and happy. It takes certain vital traits and approaches to be a successful operations manager. Here’s a look at some of those.
1. Be a realistic, but effective, communicator.
There’s little room for the “obey now, grieve later” approach in modern-day business management. When you’re in charge of operations, you should keep this in mind and be conversational when engaging your team members. But remember that effective communication includes more than just making your intentions known, delivering timely reality checks and providing constructive feedback.
You also need to listen to your team members to provide strong and trusted leadership for the best results. For instance, after determining that a problem with operations is causing unnecessary production delays and revenue losses, you should go beyond firmly talking with operations staff about the need to improve. Explain why you’re making the request, and, if possible, back up your reasoning or assertions with recent production data. Make sure your team members share alternative ideas and their part of the solution.
2. Prioritize efficiency.
Efficient production is one of the most viable ways to increase small-business profits without raising prices. You can lower costs by adopting the just-in-time approach, which minimizes wastefulness, among other benefits. Instead of making products in batches, you’ll have proper operations strategies to produce the exact number and size of units required at any given time.
By delivering high-quality products in the most efficient way possible, you can boost your company’s competitiveness. The resulting cost savings can be reinvested in innovation or financial rewards for your operations team.
3. Emphasize a cost-effective supply chain strategy.
To deliver an effective and efficient supply chain, you’ll need to liaise and coordinate closely with all key partners, including logistics providers, transport partners, manufacturers and customer service. For example, in the case of my organization, we coordinate with our team of transcriptionists and customer service to ensure projects get delivered on time to clients.
A cost-effective supply chain has two key attributes.
• Efficiency: The system optimizes resource allocation and utilization, including financial, technological or human resources. It leads to the reduction of time wastage and operational costs. Since processes are moving quickly, the final product reaches the customer on schedule.
• Effectiveness: An efficient supply chain isn’t necessarily effective. Effectiveness means the system meets or surpasses the expectations placed on it by customers, manufacturers, vendors or any other key stakeholders. This is achieved by delivering the correct products within stipulated deadlines while simultaneously ensuring their quality.
4. Prioritize quality.
Quality is a key differentiator in a highly competitive market. Since you’re responsible for critical supply chain decisions, you have better control over your organization’s sources of supply, which is where quality assessments should begin.
We always ensure that our newest transcribers receive extensive training and feedback during their first three months in order to maintain a high level of quality products that are delivered to clients. For companies with physical production, high-quality production procedures encourage productivity and foster pride in the final product. It can help minimize costly internal and external failures, thus increasing the bottom line for your organization.
5. Lead without micromanaging.
Competent and well-mentored employees don’t usually need micromanaging. Once you’ve put together a solid team and provided the necessary tools to do their work efficiently, you should give them some space to perform. Your leadership style should encourage working with minimum supervision and focusing on helping struggling team members improve.
However, you should also be able to identify underperforming members and take adequate steps to nudge them toward meeting their production goals. Additionally, as a manager, you should also be able to identify and address sensitive issues.
When a mission-critical employee isn’t pulling their weight at work, the entire team’s efficiency is affected. So, you can get involved in that case to identify a lasting solution instead of punishing the member in question. Strong operations leadership means creating and maintaining a highly motivated and productive workforce, not a constantly scared one.