So what exactly is business operations? Typically, when people think of Operations, they think of manufacturing companies, retail or even hotels. However, business operations are the inner workings of every business, every industry; it’s the heartbeat of any organization. The operations of a business vary across industries and they are structured according to the requirements of that specific industry. Everything that happens within a company to keep it running and earning money is referred to collectively as business operations.
Business Operations refer to activities that businesses engage in daily to increase the value of the business and earn a profit. Some of the most common elements of Business Operations are:
Equipment & Technology
Partners - Venders & Suppliers
A Business Operations expert will take a holistic view of your business including all the areas listed above. They are both a guide and a failsafe, ensuring that a company stays within its budget and that staff and departments cooperate effectively. They help with:
Assigning clear-cut roles and responsibilities
Management of risks, resources and allocation
Creating the best course of action for current and future challenges
The goal is to provide the tools for you to create a roadmap to help expand and optimize your business whether now or in the post-pandemic world.
Why is ongoing business operations analysis vital to your business?
A company’s success or failure relies heavily on the efficiency of its operations. Let’s say that again – a company’s success or failure relies heavily on the efficiency of its operations. This means that establishing an operating rhythm is crucial to ensuring the organization is running effectively and efficiently to meet goals and objectives.
At the launch of a business endeavor, business operations planning serves as a roadmap for business owners and investors to grasp all the moving parts of a company such as personnel, equipment and the processes needed to increase the organization’s value.
Once a business is established, it’s important to periodically assess and analyze business operations to identify inefficiencies and improve communication. Comparisons with industry benchmarks and best practices can help a company make sure its business operations are optimum.
As a business grows, business operations evolve and management should plan to accommodate the changes to prevent any glitches that may occur. If the business does not evolve with the changes, fatal flaws will occur and can result in huge damage to or even the collapse of a business. For example, as a business grows, it must be ready to handle arising challenges such as legal, marketing and capacity issues.
How can King Inspired Solutions help your Business Operations to thrive?
Here are some examples of how our Founder & CEO, Tasha King, improved operations for some large, multi-site businesses.
Jewish Child Care Association
Second Largest Foster Care Agency In NY
As Director of Operations, I provided operational direction and oversight to all of their offices across NYC. These offices supported and served thousands of staff and clients in the foster care community. I was responsible for managing all Operations staff as well as all back-end operations including:
• Facilities & Space Management
• Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management
• Fleet Management
• Mailroom Services
• Reception and Visitor Services
• Document Archival
• Vendor and Contract Management
All offices functioned in siloes with major differences in work practices and systems. This resulted in inefficiencies that created bad business practices and service delays. Very few documented policies and procedures as well as antiquated systems not only made the staff work harder unnecessarily, but made the clients we served receive a different experience and services at each of the organization’s sites.
1) Conducted extensive research that included interviewing senior management and staff to understand the customer/client experience and their level of satisfaction. Also needed to fully understand the different needs at each of the sites to note where processes could be streamlined and where they had to be different.
2) Consistently met with and shadowed all senior Operations staff to understand and analyze day to day activities as well as organizational policies and procedures.
3) Worked with senior members in the Information Technology, Human Resources and Social Services departments to ensure that company and government regulations were taken into consideration before implementing new operational policies and systems.
4) Identified best practices at each location that could be mirrored at other sites.
Results & Accomplishments
In less than a year, there was an overall improvement in services and customer satisfaction. We cut costs, improved services and implemented innovative systems.
1) Implemented Helpdesk Ticketing system for the Operations staff to retrieve and quickly respond to client requests and issues.
2) Found areas to cut costs and save the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars including replaced water bottles with an eco-friendly water filtration system saving the company over $200,000 over the life of the contract.
3) With streamlined practices, all offices functioned similarly where possible and looked like one organization with the same customer experience.
4) Created policies and procedures to improve inefficiencies and navigate operational weaknesses.
5) Created new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and operational workflows to simplify business practices.
International Development Non-Profit Organization
As Assistant Director of Administration at UNICEF USA, I managed the delivery of Administration office services to their headquarters and eight (8) national offices. The Administration team supported staff and donors for all of UNICEF’s fundraising offices including:
The Operations department I led was charged with doing “more with less”. With limited staff, money and resources, I managed a small staff of only nine (9) to execute operational tasks that served 400 staff and thousands of donors nationwide.
1) Assessed and analyzed all positions in the Administration department to evaluate strengths & weaknesses, find redundancies in tasks and responsibilities and maximize abilities.
2) Lead and mentored staff, evaluated job descriptions, assessed performance, developed individual goals and created improvement plans.
3) Consistently met with colleagues and building management in the national offices to assess needs and build good working relationships.
4) Reviewed all vendor contracts for the organization. Met with all key contacts for existing vendors and researched suppliers with national reach to streamline services where possible.
Results & Accomplishments
During my tenure, I streamlined and improved operations in all of UNICEF USA’s fundraising offices. In less than four (4) years, my team improved the functioning of the offices and saw approximately $1M in organizational cost savings in the areas we managed.
1) Served as Project Lead on all office moves and renovation projects. However, due to a limited travel budget, I leveraged good working relationships with colleagues and building management staff in the national office to help with some critical, on-site deliverables.
2) Due to hiring freezes and limited staff, I revamped the Administration/Operations department to include restructured positions, goals and responsibilities that better aligned with the organization’s strategic goals.
3) Improved the business travel experience and decreased travel expenses by implementing a direct bill and preferred hotels program, launching an online booking tool, hiring a new travel agency and creating customer satisfaction surveys. This resulted in decreased spending, streamlined services and improved customer service.
4) Built and streamlined external national vendor relationships for travel, office equipment, furniture, shipping/mail services, teleconferencing, supplies and web conferencing services for all UNICEF locations resulting in better contract negotiations, improved services and cost savings.
Global Financial Services Institution
In my role as Global Head of Mail and Distribution Services at BNY Mellon, I managed mail and print services for all of BNY Mellon. There was a need for a global approach to these business services to streamline practices, remedy ongoing issues and innovate services.
With expiring mail service contracts, there was an immediate need for a global approach to improve and create consistent services across 96 mailrooms located in the US, EMEA, LATAM and APAC regions. My predecessor was responsible for managing a sole vendor that managed only the mailrooms in the US. The remaining mailrooms were run by different regional vendors resulting in different business practices in each of the regions.
1) Worked with global leads in the EMEA, LATAM and APAC offices to identify best practices to institute globally.
2) Lead and conducted RFP process to interview and hire a new mail service vendor(s).
3) Pinpointed specific issues and gaps in service across regions to identify the vendor(s) best positioned to implement the best solutions.
4) Extensive work alongside the Legal team to create and execute a new service agreement.
5) Interviewed and assessed the mailroom services staff and management team to ensure that the new vendor would be the best choice to retain, motivate and advance the best team members.
Results & Accomplishments
In less than nine (9) months:
1) Selected and hired a sole global mail services vendor to oversee and manage transitioning to an improved mail services operation.
2) Worked with the new vendor and global leads to create global policies and systems as well as execute innovative and enhanced services.
3) Created and accelerated remote solutions implemented globally because of the global pandemic including mail digitalization and delivery of services to staff working at home.
4) Made appropriate staff structural changes to adapt to new and improved services.