As companies and organisations, we set up operations for the same reason; to align and have different parts of our machine (company) working smoothly to achieve the desired outcomes.
So before you foster excellence, you have to have operations in place and understand why they are the way they are. To illustrate, imagine any appliance we use in the house. It has a way it operates to serve us well. It has different parts that may include wires, coils, switches and more that work together to achieve our desired outcome.
Now that we appreciate why operations are in place, the question is how do you make them outstanding!
Vision and Purpose
We establish organisations for particular purposes. For example a company that is established to support organisations and companies with their research, strategies and branding has several moving parts in play to do what they do.
This means the “why we exist” and “what we do” drive the other decisions made regarding operations and roles.
As an operations specialist, making sure everyone involved understands and owns the vision of the company fosters operational excellence because everyone is aware of the desired outcome.
Roles and Responsibilities
You must know why and where you need human resource.
then, you must have the right fit which involves putting right resources in the right places for example a car needs to move however, it will not use the side mirrors to move. If as a driver you need to see what is on the side of your car, you will not use the wheels for that. The more work that comes along, the more specialized the car will become. Operational excellence requires these roles and responsibilities to be clear.
You maintain your operations by maintaining the people. Are they happy at work? Are they heard? Are they clear on their roles? One of the biggest reasons operations in companies suffer is because the people are not being managed and heard.
As an operations specialist, I have learnt that the kind of people you bring into your organisation to get it moving matters and determines how the company performs.
It is also crucial that their opinions are taken seriously because they are the ones best suited to advise on whatever part or section of the machine that they are handling. Listening to them on a regular basis also helps to identify risks that may be cropping up.
Keeping your team members and employees in the dark will not help you build trust with them. They need to be aware of your vision, where you are going, what is or is not going well. Once the team is aware, they will operate with the knowledge of where the company stands and what the values and priorities are.
The key to resilience and excellence is the team, now if you want excellence in your team, you have to take good care of them, no matter how hard it might be. Even when the company or organization goes through challenges, communication is vital because it informs and manages their expectations.
Yes, communication is key but how does the communication flow? Structure could mean planning, strategy, hierarchy and so much more but in short structure is order. There must be a framework or plan that determines to whom, people go and for what. More importantly, it needs to be followed. This is even more essential when you get new members on the team. They need to find a system in place to help them quickly navigate through the company and hence focus more and better on what they need to accomplish as their role in the vision.
It can negatively impact the excellence of your operations when people are dishonest about things like their time, skill level and priorities. It is important that you cultivate a culture of truthfulness in your organization so that no one is working blind expecting one person to know what to do when in truth, they have no idea. When you encourage integrity in your organization, you avoid a lot of negative situations for example before you fall critically sick, you may notice a recurring headache or tummy ache, if you don’t get to the bottom of it at the “headache” stage, more symptoms and illnesses will come up.
When it comes to team work, It is not just about sitting together in a room and holding each other accountable. It is knowing how important your role and function is in the operation of the company.
When one person drops the ball on their part, it affects the operational excellence of the entire organization. For instance, if the person in charge of procurement is not on top of their tasks, all other teams might have their budgets and service providers in order but final purchases will not be done and thus affecting the operation of the company.
In a nutshell, all the above are keys and values that need to align and exercised together in order to make your operations top notch. If any of these are missing or not adhered to, it is difficult for an organization to have world class operations.