Business operations are vital for every company regardless of its size, type, and industry. Naturally, all brands aim at increasing their effectiveness with reducing costs and resources used in any given process. Skilled managers have to be aware of ways to generate better results with the least money and time spent, means, they should learn about best practices for the market at all and for its specific sectors, in particular.
Here, we’re going to talk about both approaches to management and software applications designed for business optimization.
Key Principles of Business Operations
To begin with, let’s discover what business operations stand for and how they are important for literally all corporations. Basically, this term is a part of a larger business administration approach according to which each process should be overseen and monitored. Respectively, the BA idea includes the management of finance, human resource, projects, marketing, and, globally, business operations.
This smaller vision centers around three primary principles:
- A company should generate income.
- Business assets should increase their value.
- Both business and assets should be sustainable.
Overall, business operations serve to keep the corporation working and making profits. While goals are similar, exact operations may be extremely different for different brands because a global shipping company requires to manage much more stuff than a small online store.
Ways to Optimize Operations
Still, there are some universal time-proven rules which work for the majority of industries. We call them best practices because a lot of teams have implemented them and got good results. Here are some examples.
Mainly, this point refers to small issues because all managers realize that the big ones are necessary to solve ASAP. Instead, minor problems are often considered as insignificant. Well, you can’t be more wrong. Small concerns tend to turn into big problems with devastating consequences, e.g. a few unsatisfied customers will spread negative feedback and prevent new leads to emerge. Thus, you want to solve minor issues all the time.
Employees are the driving force of any business. While one manager physical can’t be everywhere and know about everything, a team of loyal workers helps a lot. Means, it’s always better to have inspired employees who want to contribute to business operations, who will notify you about problems and deliver suggestions. Explore some engagement ways:
- Reward effort – even a minor job should be noticed and honored.
- Be open – let employees know that you’re always ready to discuss ideas.
- Understand vision – be sure that both you and staff realize the team’s goals.
- Concentrate work – focus the entire team on common goals.
- Hold meetings – they facilitate reaching of all the previous points.
Firstly, it’s better to define clear goals, ideally, with precise statements: not just «to make money» but «to make $1 million till the year’s end by entering a new market in Canada». Then, it’ll be easier to measure results using dedicated reports + analysis software. KPIs work good in this case, as well. Another useful hint is to take a rest and evaluate business operations without being involved in them. It helps to get a fresh view.
An outsourcing strategy also can be viable for businesses which want to focus on core things. Thus, managers should define main tasks and keep them inside the company while other processes may be delegated to external teams. Recent trends in distributed development show that Eastern Europe has one of the best price-to-quality ratios, so modern outsourcing to Ukraine can be greatly profitable for foreign corporations.
The world is changing. Old-fashioned companies are at risk of disappearance because they refuse to implement new technologies or methods. For instance, modern ERP systems are already indispensable for big brands with several branches because they help to organize data in the most optimal way. By using software tools, you can streamline business operations and cut costs, so let’s look at some useful applications.
Software Tools for Managers
The software is cool, really. It helps managers to monitor processes easier, collect, share, and deliver data faster, focus on creative tasks instead of mundane work, and so on. Big enterprises benefit from ERP, brands which work with customers should opt for CRM apps, and almost all teams may be interested in automation or mobile solutions.
The most useful software types for streamlined business operations are as follows:
- Automation tools. Take care of routine tasks (scheduling, notifications, reports) and allow employees to do a more unique job. Examples: FlowForma, Nintex, Integrify.
- Connectors and ecosystems. Organize dashboards and collaborative environments with shared databases for all staff members. Example: Comidor.
- Report makers. Small apps focused on the single task of creating reports and, sometimes, analyzing them. May also deliver visualization. Example: ProcessMaker.
- Trackers. Combine reporting and monitoring features, so managers can evaluate the performance of their teams. Example: Process Street, Bpmonline.
Most often, all of these tools are combined in big ERP systems provided by leading vendors like SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, PegaSystems etc. In out-of-the-box apps, specific general features are combined but clients barely can customize them. Instead, solutions created from scratch are designed for each customer individually and include only desired modules.
From the first idea of optimized business processes to modern complex software applications, companies aim at boosting performance and lowering expenses simultaneously. Globally, this approach defines every action and the results of market competitions focused on customers’ attention. During this market war years, entrepreneurs and managers defined some working approaches called best practices. In addition, they adopted modern technologies to digitize these methods and save even more on routine work.
The mentioned ideas for business operations aren’t exhaustive. However, they should form a nice checklist for initial optimization of nearly every business. Use them wisely!