“In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words; people, product and profits.” Lee Iacocca
All companies operate on a set of processes. These processes drive all avenues of a business ranging from Internal operations, business development, sales, marketing and execution to name a few critical functions. When these processes are missing or loosely defined a business faces several long term disadvantages which arise in areas such as productivity, efficiency, price and overall morale of the team. If these factors are not paid close attention to from the start you will substantially increase the risk to your business, keeping it from reaching future growth. This is a set of measures that can be put into place at your startup to help reduce this level of risk.
1. Product/Service development is a critical stage in a company’s development. This process should be clearly defined from time of inception, selection, development and execution. Using such a process allows you to push viable product/services faster through the levels aided with input from all divisions or team members. At the same time it allows you to kill product/service ideas at earlier stages to maximize efficiency.
2. Break down the product/service you are providing into components. This helps identify a supply chain and is critical when you want to know the level of business risk exposure. This is something I am still in the process of learning. This has brought about a greater amount of transparency and increased efficiency in the companies I have been involved in implementing this strategy.
3. Delivery and execution mechanisms are vital to ensure that your product/service gets to your customer at the right time and place and matches their expectation. This operations component must be tweaked constantly to ensure that customer satisfaction levels remain high and retention levels are maintained. If this part of operations is neglected you may find yourself at a severe disadvantage against a competitor who has concentrated in making their delivery mechanisms optimal.
4. Internal processes such as finance, communication and CRM should be automated with the help of technology to achieve a faster flow of communication from one department to the other. When organizations begin to scale is when a disconnect takes place internally. I have experienced this many a time and now rely on technologies to keep everyone connected and keep the flow of information and communication clear and fast.
Listed above are some of the steps I have taken in businesses I am involved with to increase operational efficiency and decrease risk of process breakdown . Operational management is actually a very complex topic, The above is a very simplistic approach that startup or younger companies can adopt to establish processes which will help them to scale faster in the future .
If anyone reading this post has domain knowledge regarding operations management at a startup or SME’s I would appreciate your comments and feedback on this post.