What is an operations process?
An operations process is simply defined as the organizational method for getting a task accomplished. It consists of four distinct primary activities, which are planning, preparing, executing, and assessing.
3 benefits of an operations process
There are several benefits to having an operations process in place when you embark on a task. Here are 3 of them:
1. Meeting goals
Having a defined operations process in place gives you a greater likelihood of meeting a goal than if you just jump in without a plan.
2. Higher quality product
Putting a focus on the four aspects of the operations process helps ensure that you are putting a high-quality product out into the world.
3. Customer satisfaction
If you have properly planned, prepared, executed, and assessed your product, you are much more likely to have satisfied customers.
Why is the operations process important to understand?
Every organization needs to have an operations process in place when taking on every major task for a variety of reasons:
1. Maximizing profitability
With an operations process in place, you are less likely to encounter unforeseen costs.
2. Preparedness for future runs
In production, implementing an operations process can help your business understand where improvements can be made through constant assessment.
3. Happier employees
When there is a set plan in place, it is more likely that your employees will be less stressed with the knowledge that there is a defined plan in place for reaching goals in the business.
An industry example of the operations process
A small toy company has decided that they want to make a new action figure, so they opt to do a trial run. To plan for it, they figure out what machines will be needed to produce it, who will supply the parts, what kind of funding a run will require, and so on. In order to prepare, they secure the funding, pick their suppliers, and get the machines ready to do the run. Then, they execute the run. Finally, they assess the run to figure out what improvements can be made before officially launching the action figure.
3 best practices when thinking about the operations process
There are a few key practices to keep in mind when thinking about the operations process and how it relates to your business:
1. Keep in mind the order
Remember the order of the activities when it comes to the operations process. It is plan, prepare, execute, and assess. You will likely be doing more than one of the steps at once, but you should not completely move on to another activity step when the prior is not thoroughly covered.
2. The Six Sigma process as part of the operations process
The Six Sigma methodology of define, measure, analyze, improve, and control or DMAIC can be utilized at every stage of the operations process.
3. Understand that the activities will likely overlap
While conducting the activities in the operations process, you will find that the characteristics of one may overlap with another. This is not unusual, as you will find the activities parallel each other as required by circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the operations process
1. In a production run, is it advisable to skip one of the activities in this organizational method?
No, it is most definitely not advisable. Putting a focus on each activity is paramount to the success of a task.
2. How many times will I use the operations process during a production run?
It is likely that you will utilize the operations process several times during a production run and then again on future runs of the same product in order to consistently and continually improve processes.
3. Can the operations process be implemented outside of business?
The operations process is an organizational tool that many find applicable to several areas of life.
Moving forward with the operations process
Having the operations process as an organizational tool when embarking on a task helps ensure the task’s success. Now that you know how it works, you may find all sorts of applications for it. Planning, preparing, executing, and assessing are activities that are all vital in operations. Once you get the hang of the operations process, you will find that its implementation can help almost every aspect of your business run smoother.