Digital Themes

Operations Strategy

What is operations strategy?

Operations strategy is an aspect of operations management that is concerned with long term planning for a company’s customer service and business strategies.

Operational strategies focus on the goals and aspirations of the company, as well as the actual plans for getting the business to achieve their goals. These strategies are tasked with ensuring that proper processes and technology are in place to support the business in reaching its goals. This means that strategic plans should include not only the identification of existing processes and technologies, but also considerations around the supply chain, their customers, their competitors, their own strengths and weaknesses, and the business facilities. An analysis of these aspects should be conducted to identify how they support or hinder the business strategy, and what needs to be done to optimize their usefulness and verify operational capabilities.

Proper strategic plans should be utilized for every product or service, new and old. During product development, companies can use these plans to make certain that there is appropriate understanding of the manufacturing strategy and how it ties in to the sales strategy. This helps to make sure that costs are being optimized throughout the process and helps minimize the chances of operations functioning in unexpected ways. Updating plans allows for companies to make sure that their competitive priorities have not changed and that they are continually improving their products and services as new information arises. Tracking competitors and their offerings can help organizations identify not only the weaknesses of the competitor, but also their own. Organizations can then use this information to refine their strategies.

Ensuring an appropriate corporate strategy can help ensure a competitive advantage by:

  • Ensuring quality: By creating an operations strategy, businesses can identify the expected quality of their product or service and then ensure that the goal is being met at every step of the process. This means that the product operates as expected, and all pieces or steps conform to design and characteristics that were set as the standard. Quality can also entail that the appropriate aesthetic, the way products and services look and feel, is met every time. This reduces costs associated with having to remake or remodel products and services, as well as decreasing returns or complaints when quality expectations have not been met.  

  • Improving customer experiences: Operations strategies should include specific discussions around customers, their expectations, and how to meet and exceed these expectations. By setting a standard of care, organizations can clearly lie out the ways that customers should be treated. This helps to standardize customer’s experiences, so that no one feels like they are being left out or treated unfairly. This assurance also helps customers to know what they can expect every time they interact with the organization.

  • Ensuring reliability: A large aspect of operations strategies lies in setting a standard and holding to it. Regardless of the product or service being offered, the company should be confident that it works as expected. Proper reliability relies on proper testing, and operational strategies should include specific instructions about the testing and research that should be completed at every development stage, as well as information regarding how to use this information for future developments.
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