This past week I spoke to an audience of business owners, C.O.O.’s and Plant Managers on how to design and execute on an Operational Strategy. I walked them through a business model that I’ve applied with my clients numerous times, helping them to gain clarity around their operational priorities. The model applies to businesses with 2 employees, all the way to 2000 employees, with the intent of ensuring your energy, investment and momentum are pointed in the right direction. You can find the model below.
Are your operations focused on achieving the most significant strategic objectives that will move the business forward or simply fighting fires amidst daily tactical priorities? Despite your best of intent, the very nature of a business operation drives a tactical focus. No matter how strategic a Manufacturing or Plant Manager might be, they still get dragged into tactical decisions, the majority of which consume their day. Amidst managing these daily priorities more significant decisions such as assessing when is the right time to invest in new equipment; when new staff should be integrated into the operation; or how to instill accountability and drive into middle management all become disjointed decisions which are made during a spare moment while fighting fires. The result? Poorly thought out decisions that do not contain the strategic focus nor the consideration of the greater strategic objectives of the business. This lack of strategic focus occurs despite involving operations in the formulation of the business strategy as many of the less significant operational priorities never surface as a true business priority during strategy formulation.
It’s absolutely crucial that a robust operational strategy is developed that focuses on both delivering on the business strategy, while ensuring operations are managed strategically. After all once you sell it you have to deliver it in a timely, consistent, high quality and low cost fashion. No small feat indeed.
The model below provides the framework for developing an operational strategy. Consider the following questions as you work through the model to help you formulate a robust strategic architecture for managing day to day priorities while retaining a strategic focus:
- What are the greatest challenges and opportunities impacting your operations during the next 24 to 48 months?
- Which improvements (people, equipment, technology) will support meeting these challenges & opportunities?
- What capital and resource investments are required to achieve these improvement in the next 24 to 36 months?
- How will innovative solutions from internal and external sources identified, captured, tested and introduced?
- How will the strategic objectives of the business connected with achieving operational priorities?
© Shawn Casemore 2013. All rights reserved.