Role of operations management and how to use them for the organizational growth


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  • In my career spanning more than 2 decades in the financial services sector, I have come across people who give any of the following explanations for the role of operations management

    • They are a support function and can be called a back-office.
    • They do what they are told to do and are order-takers!
    • They are not supposed to think and do, rather they are supposed to only do what they are told to (by the business)!
    • Why should we ask operations management to give any inputs…after all, they do not understand how to run a business!
    • A person who has no creativity, no ambition and wants an easy going life, gets into operations management!!
    • You know what, we can easily outsource the function of operations management to a vendor and we will not only save costs but also get better results.
    • Operations management teams seem to have “huge armies” of staff and many of these staff’ can actually be let go off without any impact to the business.

    Not sure about you all, but do any of you subscribe to the above thoughts or agree with them?

    If you have answered YES to any of the above, believe me, that nothing can be further from the truth!

    What do I mean?

    Ok, read on and open your eyes, while I briefly explain each of the above points.

    1. Yes, Operations management is a support function or a back-office, but that does not mean they cannot be an invaluable aid and support for the front office…We’ll discuss further below.
    2. Please do not treat the operations management staff as mere order-takers. In fact, if you hire the right profile of dynamic operations managers, you will be surprised with the wealth of inputs they can give you to run your business.
    3. Similar to point 2, allow the operations managers the freedom to decide on the best course of action. Remember, they are the experts in ensuring your processes run efficiently and effectively, thereby giving you an envious competitive advantage!
    4. Yes, Operations management folks might not be business people, but unless they deliver the right product all your marketing campaigns and promotions will be in vain! The last thing you must do is to over-ride operations feedback that a certain process is not supported by the system and hence, you ask them to run it manually. In today’s day and age, running anything manually is a strict no no, and a recipe for disaster…so, hear what operations management has to say.
    5. You will be pleasantly surprised by the creativity and ambition which a true operations manager exhibits…Please make the effort and hire the right profile of people in this function. Do not leave it only to HR.

    It is now quite obvious that the last 2 points (i.e., outsourcing of operations function and reducing the number of operations staff) is also a very short-sighted approach and you must not do it, as it would tantamount to you shooting yourself in the foot!!

    In summary: Operations management is the critical link that ensures everything that marketing management does (in terms of conceptualizing a product and running a promotion) is actually successful.

    Please appreciate the role of operations management and if you are not in this role, go ahead and thank the operations management staff in your company for their invaluable contributions to your success and consider them as your partners in growth!

    Written by:

    Parag Tikekar
    Faculty – Management

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