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7 Important Trends in Operations Management in 2020

7 Important Trends in Operations Management in 2020
Alexandra Zamolo
Alexandra Zamolo, Head of Content Marketing
8 min read

When you're running a business, there's two ways to increase profit:

  1. Sell more
  2. Cut costs

Let's focus on number two. Even seemingly insignificant savings in production can add up. Shaving just two cents off your landed cost per unit can pack on an extra 2 million dollars in profit at the end of year. This is why operations managers are so fundamental to a businesses ability to stay profitable. 

While the pace of technology innovation moves at breakneck speed, and businesses rush to catch up to the latest trends, operations mangers play an increasingly important role in carving out a competitive edge. 

So, whether you’re planning an organizational overhaul to become more competitive in your market or merely seeking to cut down on your overhead costs, these seven trends will help deliver the results you need to meet your operations management goals in 2020.

1. Investment in the Employee Experience

Finding enough people with the right skills and talent is one of the top operational challenges for business. In response to this hurdle, businesses are investing more in the personal growth and development of their labor force.

Satisfied employees work harder and invest more in your company, but how can business owners encourage employee satisfaction and improve employee experience?

Promoting transparent, accessible internal communication is one method that will prove effective for specifically recruiting and retaining millennial employees – who look for feedback forums, clear expectations of their performance and workplace, and need to know their work matters and serves a meaningful purpose.

Facilitating peer-to-peer communication can provide the following benefits for your workplace:

Addressing these concerns makes your company more competitive and caters to frontline employees who may feel overlooked. Internal communication and mobile collaboration platforms don’t just increase efficiency — they also contribute to positive employee experience, which boosts retention and mitigates costly turnover.

Working together, whether through mobile collaboration or in person, promotes better team productivity and develops more meaningful work by cultivating valuable relationships between team members.

2. Implementation of Mobile Communication Tools

If your business’s operations and internal communication are not mobile, you’re missing out. Whether you’re in the technology industry and rely on mobile devices to achieve sales targets, or you’re in the hospitality business and need client portals to reach your target market, mobile accessibility will continue to play a vital role in operations management for 2020.

Apart from today’s reliance on mobile devices for communication, consumers also turn to their smart devices for everything from household goods to travel accommodations and job applications.

While researching mobile operational communications technology, it’s important to keep in mind that leadership and frontline workers might take different criteria into account as it relates to their scope of work and priorities. One way to successfully navigate this potential area of divergence is to make sure positive user experience is a core functionality.

Put another way, since everyone at your organization will be engaging with the new communication platform, the shared experience and ease-of-use should be paramount.

Establishing outlets for mobile collaboration, such as via a team app, enables a multitude of improvements to employee and overall workplace experience, including:

  1. A readily-available channel for employees to better connect and share information securely and instantly.
  2. A faster way to send out relevant business information in real time, bypassing email or hard copy methods of sharing information, such as bulletin boards.
  3. Mobile accessibility for remote staff to access the information, tools, and connectivity they need to best perform their job regardless of their role within the organization. This is especially relevant for frontline workers who don’t have a company email address, or whose work necessitates an on-the-go communication solution. Mobile collaboration meets this need while simultaneously addressing other operations management concerns.

3. Automatization 

Automating internal processes throughout your business can save money and increase efficiency. Online reservation services, automated chatbots, inline translation functions, and mobile hotel check-in features are only a handful of examples of business dependency on technology.

By dedicating machines to specific business tasks, companies are freeing up employee time for focusing on their products and their customers. Rather than assigning an employee to monitor the company website and answer the same questions multiple times, programming a chatbot to respond to FAQs saves time and resources.

Automatization goes beyond your company’s internet presence. In 2020, personalization of experiences and content will gain momentum, driving competition as businesses commit to delivering more customized goods and services — and to do this, digital transformation, especially delegation of operational processes, will be essential.

We’ll see increasing use of automatic scheduling and delivery of targeted internal media campaigns, work schedule notifications, and read-receipt functions in company, one-to-one, and group messaging all of which add automatic convenience to daily operational processes.

4. Data-Backed Performance Measurement and Employee Analytics

Solid performance data gives companies the intel they need to implement changes in areas from development and production to customer service.

However, 79% of executives acknowledge lacking the right tools to analyze and act on this data.

With metrics solutions that deliver comprehensive measurements, business owners can make more informed decisions regarding business practices moving forward.

Taking the temperature of internal communications and operations management is just as important as tracking external website performance and on-site sales, as they can also zero in on employee productivity and the success of your workforce communication.

Mobile collaboration apps allow organizations to see which employees are actively engaged in collaboration, and which may require encouragement or assistance, by measuring usage and participation in real-time.

5. Gathering Workforce Feedback

Beyond sales figures-based analytics, consistently gathering employee feedback through surveys contributes to better business overall through improved goal alignment and transparency.

Operations management may appear to span only materials and products, but as outlined earlier, people are an essential component of any business structure. In such a tight labor market, where job seekers have many options in choosing a workplace, the importance of investing in improving company culture, and incorporating employee feedback on it, cannot be overstated.

With a mobile operational communications platform, acknowledging employees on a personal level and based on their work performance helps create a sense of community within organizations. Keeping the line of communication between staff and management open is an excellent way to track team vitals.

Developing pulse surveys (and automating their delivery to employees via your mobile communication solution) collects employee feedback in a digital, easy to interpret format so you can assess the results, establish implementation timelines, and action solutions more quickly.

Pre-scheduling pulse surveys allows organizations to consistently monitor and receive employee feedback at crucial times, such as at the end of busy quarter or peak service season, without setting up one-on-one meetings to solicit their input.

6. Improving Demand Responsiveness

In 2020, operations managers will continue to hone and develop demand-responsive supply chains. Consumers spending habits are becoming increasingly fickle. Volatile market fluctuations are more common than ever.

Operations managers will have to master the art of demand forecasting in order to ensure that inventory levels are  consistent with current demand. 

Too much inventory creates cash flow problems for the business. At the same time, having the ability to fulfill large orders at the last-minute is a must.

Having an agile, highly responsive supply chain can help ensure that production levels can steadily meet demand without creating excess inventory. 

7. Strengthening Customer Relationships

It's essential that operations managers in 2020 understand the factors that influence buying decisions and optimize the business accordingly. The role of an operations manager is evolving beyond simply acting as an agent of cost control. Operations is increasingly tied to global performance objectives which encompass everything from product quality, delivery time, to customer service. 

In 2020, operations mangers will work closely with customer service departments to better understand their end users. Relationship management is more important to running a successful business than ever, so it's no surprise that operations managers will find new way to optimize the process.

Are you ready to build an ROI-driven operations management strategy? Download our white paper, The Ultimate Operations Management Strategy for Distributed Workforces to get started!