Fundamentals: Operations – Part 2

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein

As discussed last time, the purpose of operations is to manage the resources needed to create your company’s products and services. It involves having the systems and processes in place to deliver on the promises made to your customers in an efficient and effective manner, while providing the opportunity to scale up into new markets, thereby increasing the value of your business.

A basic operations function encompasses development of a detailed plan to achieve optimum balance of needs or demands with the available resources. The planning process addresses the following:

(1) identifies the goals or objectives to be achieved

(2) formulates strategies to achieve them

(3) arranges or creates the means required

(4) implements, directs, and monitors all steps in their proper sequence

At this point, you may want to consider bringing on a Chief Operating Officer (COO), either as a fulltime C-level team member or on an outsource basis. Many owners, especially in smaller firms, run all aspects of the company, including operations. COOs take on a large share of this responsibility when it comes to day-to-day operations and continual improvement of the firm’s efficiency. They must know what’s going on in every area, including marketing and sales, manufacturing and finance. COOs report directly to the CEO and oversee various department heads and mid-level executives. A strong COO reduces the company’s risk, which increases its value.

Especially for those thinking about making a successful transition out of the company, it is important to begin giving up some operating responsibilities now. Ask yourself, is it time to create a COO position and fill it with a good leader?