On the face of it, you might think that business operations would be only focusing on the actions that will be taken to implement the strategic plan. And that is true…well, partly true. Sure, the business operations team is certainly responsible for how goals get accomplished. For this discussion, think of business operations as the nitty-gritty of the business. This means the systems, processes, product/service performance, customer satisfaction, managing logistics, inventory, manufacturing, increases efficiency in organization and other recurring activities that increase value.
Suchitra Mishra, a member of the Kaizen Biz community, wrote a post that elucidates the value of including business operations in where and why the business pursues a particular direction. It is easy to forget there is treasure to behold in the details.
Visions evolve…due to reality
The CEO has the job of envisioning where the company will go over time. It seems counterintuitive but business visions evolve. Conversations with their team members, participating in mastermind groups or reading material are all common ways that new ideas or techniques are discovered. Even experiences in one’s personal life can affect one’s business vision. Getting the vision realized in real life needs effective strategies.
Data is reality
As more experience adds nuances to the business vision, it evolves. Adding more nuances are numbers. This is where business operations shines. They provide the necessary grounding for strategies to flourish in real life. As Slack, Chambers and Johnston write in Operations Management, 4th Edition,
The role of the operations function means something beyond its obvious responsibilities and tasks – it means the underlying rationale of the function, the very reason that the function exists.”
The details in the data illuminate how the vision can be realized
In business, the data is reality. Having records of the customers’ experience, the performance of revenue streams, line workers’ input, leading indicators, the effects ofchange on the organization and other types of information are a start but being able to articulate them in a strategic planning session makes them more useful in the evolution of the business strategy.
Mishra sums it up best,
No one knows the inter-dependencies between people, process and opportunities better than the business operations team in an organization. So why not leverage this team for fool-proof strategies?”
What role should operations play in strategic planning?
Who is responsible for coordinating or connecting the disparate departments/groups for strategic planning?
How could business operations be the “voice” for the stakeholders?
What could prevent the integration of the business operations’ perspective?
What are the internal and external benefits of using the business operations’ perspective to drive innovation and growth?
*Join us on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz for this discussion on Friday, March 16th at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT