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10 questions Operations Managers can answer

Discover the questions that committed Operations Managers answer to drive their business forward.

As an operations manager, you have many responsibilities to your business. Faced with these, among other questions, it’s a challenge daily to provide meaningful answers that impact your business. If you’re an Operations Manager, use this list as inspiration to deliver the right answers to your business’s requirements.

1.  Which employees need help getting aligned with the company’s mission?

Business ambitions,or mission statements, are often lofty and abstract.

“To discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.” - A mission statement of a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Operations Managers who oversee multiple departments face an ongoing challenge of aligning people’s day-to-day tasks with overall business objectives. Tasks may include inventory management but each individual needs to be made aware of the bigger picture – in this instance, helping patients to overcome diseases.

Eight out of 10 employees feel more engaged when their work is consistent with the core values and mission of their organisation. The best Operations Managers take these numbers to heart and strive to align employees with the overall business agenda. All employees need encouragement to align with the company’s mission.

2.  What improvements can be made to achieve productivity goals?

In 2017, manufacturing productivity advanced just 0.7% for the whole year. The general decrease in productivity reflects less output but a strong gain in hours worked. Operations Managers need to promote employee engagement. Happier employees work harder, raise productivity outputs, and even increase operational efficiency.

3.  Which processes can be made more efficient?

The technology used by employees will also play an important role in their efficiency. If technology is slow, outdated, or requires a lot of maintenance, employees won’t be able to fulfil their potential for maximum productivity. By keeping technology up-to-date, higher rates of efficiency are more easily achievable.

Operations Managers should assess technology and related processes to decide if an efficiency overhaul is required. By making operations leaner, customer demand can “pull” a product through production, rather than management forecasts “pushing” it onto the shop floor. By streamlining operations and meeting customer demands, Operations Managers can drive the growth of the company.

4.  Which resources are being wasted and why?

Prioritising conservation can help Operations Managers to prevent wasted resources. There are seven root causes of resource waste:

  • Transport
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Waiting
  • Over-Processing
  • Overproduction
  • Defects

5.  How can we reduce time of development and manufacturing process while delivering on customers’ values?

Streamlining business operations will help Operations Managers to increase efficiency, without failing customer demands. Adopt the following approaches to reduce time of development:

  • Perform independent activities in parallel
  • Alter the sequence of processes
  • Limit interruptions to production
  • Minimise delays

All of this must be done while avoiding any adverse effect to product quality.

6.  How can we reduce costs without sacrificing quality?

Reducing costs while maintaining quality isn’t always easy. Operations Managers may consider negotiating with vendors or suppliers, planning productions schedules to reduce overtime expenses, or transitioning to predictive maintenance schedules.

7.  What technological advancements are available to help us control processes and systems?

Save time and money by introducing the latest technologies to their business. Operations Managers will be aware that advancements in automation, robotics, big data analytics, and Internet of Things can improve operational results.

6.  How can we reduce costs without sacrificing quality?

Reducing costs while maintaining quality isn’t always easy. Operations Managers may consider negotiating with vendors or suppliers, planning productions schedules to reduce overtime expenses, or transitioning to predictive maintenance schedules.

7.  What technological advancements are available to help us control processes and systems?

Save time and money by introducing the latest technologies to their business. Operations Managers will be aware that advancements in automation, robotics, big data analytics, and Internet of Things can improve operational results.

8.  How can we synergise multiple sites and measure their performance?

Some businesses will operate multiple plants or locations. Operations Managers need to adopt a synergistic approach for however many plants they are responsible for. Measuring performance, cutting costs, and optimising processes across all sites will mean that the Operations Manager is contributing to the wider business and achieving consistent growth.

9.  How can we work more effectively and efficiently with vendors and suppliers?

Transparency across the supply chain will help Operations Managers to work more effectively with all third-parties. Efficiency is dictated long before raw material arrive. Honest, collaborative relationships with vendors and suppliers will help Operations Managers to achieve greater efficiency at every stage of the process.

10. What do I do every day to further the company’s mission?

Operations Management is tricky because it is equal parts high-level/strategic and hands-on/technical. An Operations Manager must balance not getting lost in the nitty-gritty to lose sight of the mission and goals of the company; but also not to spend time only on the strategic and neglect his daily duty to take action to further that strategy.

Conclusion

Efficiency, alignment and productivity are the key objectives for any Operations Manager. If you’re not able to to answer all of the questions above, use this list to refocus your resources and become the Operation Manager that drives business growth forward.