Operations management is key to running any business, big or small. It’s an important task to get right to allow your business to reach its full potential. Effective operations management will empower you to improve processes with your business and create a competitive edge in the market. 

Keep reading to learn some key tips for improving your operations management. We’ll cover:

  • What operations management means in business
  • Key steps for improving operations management
  • How Countingup can help improve your operations

What operations management means in business

Operations management refers to how you manage your business’s processes and administrative side, so everything runs as smoothly as possible. The ultimate aim is to make sure you have processes within your business that save time from unproductive task elements or inefficient processes. 

Operations management affects product and service businesses differently since the time investment in each business type is very different. That said, there are actions every small business owner can take to improve their operations management. 

Key steps for improving operations management

No matter what type of business you run, these steps will allow you to identify roadblocks and bottlenecks and find ways to improve your operations management.

  1. Find and resolve small issues

Getting rid of weak spots is key to improving your operations management. It’s important to deal with these issues right away before they can turn into bigger problems. Large setbacks can cost you a lot of time and money, especially if it brings the entire business to a halt. 

Start by taking a look at how you run things today and figure out where you can improve. It’s also good to consult experts and other professionals in your industry so you can bounce ideas off them and see how they handle similar issues. Brainstorm solutions and put the ones you think will work best into action.

Once you’ve fixed your current problems, create a plan for managing issues in the future. Set up a system where you can log things you notice and then set deadlines for resolving these issues.

  1. Remove unnecessary steps in the process

After you’ve found and resolved any problems you have in your daily operations, take a look at where you could remove or automate steps that take up unnecessary time. Remember that just because one system has worked for you for the past few years doesn’t mean it’s the best method now.

Letting go of old habits to make room for new, more efficient ones is important for improving your operations management. Make sure all your systems are up to date and look for solutions that can automate steps you’ve completed manually so far. 

Obviously, you shouldn’t change processes that make your business unique. For example, if you run a small cupcake business using an old family recipe, you wouldn’t change how you bake the cupcakes. But maybe you could update your equipment or find a more efficient way to take orders?

If you’re managing your bookkeeping by hand, switching to modern accounting software like Countingup will allow you to shave hours off your time spent balancing your books.

  1. Keep up with trends in your industry

While you’re removing inefficiencies and updating your system, take a look at what’s going on in your industry right now. It’s important to be aware of the current local economy, changes in laws and regulations, and the overall state of your industry. 

Things happening inside and outside your sector can affect your daily operations. Perhaps there’s a new tool that all carpenters now use? Or maybe most entrepreneurs like you now manage their business finances with an accounting app like Countingup?

Staying updated on developments that affect your business helps you find best practices to improve your operations management. Regularly checking new trends and gadgets in your industry can also help you get ahead of the competition while cutting costs.

  1. Regularly review your operations

While it’s easy to get caught up in the daily hustle of running a business, forgetting to stop and look at your business operations means you won’t know if they’re effective. It’s important to take a step back and review your processes from time to time.

Methods for reviewing your operations management can vary. Typically, operations management reviews involve measuring the time taken to complete certain tasks and mapping how jobs or processes are broken down into smaller units. 

From there, you can try to work out ways to skip stages, combine efforts, remove bottlenecks or smoothen workflows, so the overall measure of time decreases or maintains at an optimal level.

  1. Track and measure your performance

An effective way to keep your operations management on track is to identify goals you want your business to accomplish. Once you’ve settled on your goals, create smaller milestones you need to hit to get closer to your goals. Setting goals and objectives is key to ensuring your business is headed in the right direction. 

Decide where you want to go and plan actionable steps for how to get there. Learn more about the difference between business goals, how to achieve your business goals, and objectives and learn how to set key performance indicators for your business.

Save time with modern accounting software 

Thousands of business owners are using the Countingup app to save time on their financial admin and focus on growing their business. 

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for self-employed people across the UK.

With automatic expense categorisation, receipt capture tools and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances and save yourself hours of accounting admin, so you can focus on doing what you do best. Find out more here.