What is an Operational Strategy and how Can Fintalent Help you hire the best Operational Strategy Consultants?
An operational strategy is a plan or program of action for an individual or business entity to achieve operational goals. An operational strategy describes processes, mechanisms and measures that will be implemented to meet these goals.
This includes the overall aims of the organisation (economic growth, efficiency) and the content-related objectives (examining activities, products or services). Operational strategies can apply to one specific function within an organisation, such as finance management. Alternatively they can focus on only one part of the entire company’s operations, such as marketing or human resources.
An effective operational strategy is central to the proper functioning of an organization as well as the realization of that organization’s mission and both short and long term goals. It is imperative that firm’s hire an operational strategist that not just understands the importance and role of of an operational strategist in the day to day functioning of the organization but also one that as the required expertise to do so. Fintalent, the hiring and collaboration platform for tier-1 M&A and Strategy professionals offers hiring managers a platform to recruit some of the best Operational Strategy Consultants available. The invite-only platform has a large pool of Freelance Operational Strategy consultants available for hire.
Operational Strategy is a term that many firms forget about or struggle with the concept of implementing well enough so that they can see the benefits it has on their business. They typically fail at understanding what operational strategy entails and how it could complement their business needs. Many times, operational strategy is overlooked because it is overshadowed by other important areas of planning and thinking within a company. However, when properly implemented, operational strategy is inexpensive to implement, with no negative side effects.
Operational Strategy is crucial to any company’s success in the modern market economy. Without properly implemented operational strategy, companies are often locked into their past ways of doing business or even losing out to firms that have better chance for successful future growth.
Key objectives for success of an Operational Strategy
It is important to note that most companies do not have enough time or resources to implement every aspect of operational strategy without getting stuck in complicated details or off-track choices at the onset of implementation. Operational strategy must be implemented as its own separate goal after the central planning of the business has been finished. Three essential objectives are required to give your firm a great chance at success:
- To increase efficiency of your existing processes by speeding up the process to allow for smoother performance. This is the main purpose of implementing operational strategy, and why it is often overlooked by many companies. To speed up an already existing process through an increase in efficiency prevents multiple unnecessary mistakes that would slow down your business, or even cause you to lose customers.
- To enhance or recreate your company’s processes to work more effectively. In order to set up effective processes, certain key strategies must be implemented. This is especially true for companies that already use a lot of manual labor, which cannot be replaced through just outsourcing. In this case, manual labor must be made more efficient or replaced completely with machines that can handle the same process and still allow for quality results and high quality control.
- To improve the company’s profitability through a more efficient process. This is very similar to the second objective, but different in a few ways. Improving the company’s profitability means you have decided to streamline your process so that you can set up threshold values for certain processes, or increase consumer satisfaction. Either way, the goal is to make sure that your profits are bolstered by your newly implemented processes, which can be done by allowing for more efficiency in costs and labor alike.
All three of these objectives are easy to understand and even easier to implement into an existing business, if properly planned out. There are several key strategies that must be implemented before these objectives can be achieved, which will be described below.
How to implement an Operational Strategy
There are five major guidelines that must always be followed for each firm:
- Articulate a clear objective before deciding on action plans (e.g. better cost control, higher sales, etc.). Before even beginning a decision-making process for a certain area of the business, it is important to have a clear objective of what you want to achieve from that specific action. It is important to have a clear objective because it helps you stay focused on what is truly needed during the implementation of your strategy. Once you have your objective set out in front of you, it is time to move on to the second guideline.
- Keep track of what you do and why (e.g. cost analysis, performance criteria). Keeping track of what you do is one of the most important things to do during the implementation of your operational strategy. Keeping track of all your changes, improvements, and costs will help you determine whether or not your strategy is working or if it even needs to be changed. It is also highly recommended that you keep detailed records so that if any consultants need to look into certain aspects of your company, they can easily access these records without too much hassle for yourself. Once again, having a clear record helps ensure that you are following all proper processes and keeping up with goals without getting too sidetracked on details that may not be necessary at the moment.
- Take into account how your strategy fits into your organization’s overall long term plan (e.g. brand positioning, customer loyalty, etc.). It is key to understand that operational strategy is used to improve the business, whether it be in costs, efficiency, or effectiveness of the company; however, it is important to figure out whether or not your strategy fits within your overall strategic plan for the future. For example, if your objective is to increase sales through advertising on new social media outlets but you are trying to limit extra costs by outsourcing most of your marketing work it may deter from future goals by increasing expenses with little benefit.
It is important to understand how your operational strategy will fit in the overall plan for your business, because if it does not make sense within the newest strategy for your company, you may need to change it slightly to make sure your business will follow through in its own strategic plan.
- Make sure that the culture in the department or facility where you are implementing this strategy is in line with what needs to be done (e.g. cost focus, scheduling efficiency). The culture in a company’s facility is one of the most overlooked parts of strategic planning, but it can actually have a huge impact on whether or not a certain new strategy has a good chance at success. If the culture within a department or facility is focused on cost as its highest priority as opposed to say efficiency, it will be much harder to implement various strategies for improving costs, because the cost focus will move the company away from that objective.
It is important to keep your current company’s culture in mind when implementing strategies for improving costs, sales, or efficiency. Keeping your current culture in mind ensures that no matter what strategy you try to implement you should not have a problem with following through because your workers are already accustomed to acting mostly on their own without too much direction from senior management.
- Evaluate each action after it has been implemented and make adjustments as needed (e.g. performance review/reward, cost reduction). After you implement your new strategy for improving costs, sales, or efficiency it is important to evaluate whether or not the strategies you used were effective. If the strategies were not working then it is important to adjust them accordingly. If you find that there has been little to no improvement in profits from the implementation of a certain strategy then it is wise to talk about making some changes that can have a positive impact, instead of just giving up on the whole process.
Evaluating after action plans ensures that your company will be able to keep up with its strategic plan and stay true in its own culture. It also ensures that the changes you make are positive ones that will not conflict with any previous actions.
Methods for Determining an Operational Strategy
- Get the support of key members of staff or executives (e.g. business development manager, marketing director, etc.)
- Keep track of your operations (e.g. sales figures, costs)
- Look at current issues and how to deal with them (e.g. cost effectiveness, scheduling efficiency)
- Develop a balance between cost and revenues (e.g., maximize profit after cost is subtracted from revenues)
5 Consider your internal structure to determine potential profit maximization choices (e.g. outsourcing, vertical integration, etc.)
Common Questions to Consider when Developing an Operational Strategy
- How can I reduce costs?
- How can I save time without spending too much money?
- Can I expand my operations?
- Which areas are important to look at when looking at costs?
- Should I outsource parts of my business to cut operating costs, or does it make more sense for me to keep them in-house?
- Will it improve service if I continue the same policy in the entire field/organization or will it do better with multiple policies?
- Should I go for geographical expansion, merger & acquisition, diversification.
Operational Strategy is used to focus on all of the various aspects of making sure your company can stay competitive in the marketplace. It is important to make sure all parts of the business are working properly to make your company as efficient as possible. Sometimes, however, it is hard to keep up with all the factors that affect your company’s competitiveness without proper planning and operational strategy. These strategies help businesses stay on track and improve their overall performance through proper implementation of various action plans for increasing revenues, cutting costs, etc.
A clear definition of an organisation’s objectives and how these are to be achieved helps create a framework for future activities. For this reason, the process of determining the strategy employed by an organisation is known as strategic planning.There are numerous reasons why organisations develop their own individual operational strategies. Operational strategies are important in ensuring the success of an organisation or business, assisting in decision making and enabling organisations to increase their market share in the marketplace.
Operational strategies should always be comprehensive and deliverable. They should not be developed in isolation but rather, alongside other management goals. Operational strategies may overlap with short-term goals or business initiatives. However, operational strategies will describe the processes that an organisation or business will put into place to achieve their long-term objectives; they are not intended to be implemented over a specific time period (e.g., an operational strategy designed to increase sales of a company’s products would include details of how this can be accomplished, rather than including a time frame for its implementation).
Operational strategies should also aim to ensure that the aims of the organisation stated at both the strategic and operational levels are aligned and mutually supporting. This ensures that changes to one level (strategic) do not come at the expense of another level (operational).
An operational strategy should outline how each decision point will be made, and what supporting information is required. The strategy may also include measures used to monitor the progress of the objectives as well as those involved in decision making. This provides important evidence as to whether an organisation is achieving its objectives and helps identify areas for improvement. Operational strategies can also be used to develop strategies for other areas within an organisation.
Operational strategies can be employed in support of a competitive strategy. They can help an organisation to maintain or improve its competitive edge and performance over time, rather than simply maintaining its position in the marketplace. This enables an organisation to respond and react quickly and efficiently to changes within the business environment. For example:
Operational strategies should be flexible and accommodate any changes that may occur in the marketplace. They should be reviewed regularly and updated accordingly, if necessary. Over time, they will become part of the culture of any organisation, ensuring that the characteristics that achieve market success are retained while those which no longer add value are removed or modified accordingly.
An operational strategy should provide the basis for the development of specific, measurable objectives which will enable an organisation to achieve its long-term goals. This will assist an organisation to take advantage of any opportunities that may be presented, while also preparing it for any challenges that may occur in the future.
Why you Should Hire Fintalent’s Operational Strategy Consultants
An operational strategy covers the details of how organisational resources can be used to best effect. It should ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively, so as to optimise operational efficiency. An organisational strategy is of a higher level and scope than an operational strategy which underlines its importance. It describes the short-term goals of the organisation, while the operational strategy describes how these goals will be achieved. An organisation may use more than one operational strategy to achieve its organisational goals, but each operational strategy must support and complement each other in order for this to occur successfully.
Given the importance of a coherent organizational strategy for firms, the importance of adequate know-how in implementing such strategy cannot be overemphasized. Firms often have to look for external Operational Strategy consultants in obscure places to fill the gap. Fintalent offers hiring managers in search of experienced Operational Strategy consultants a platform to hire the best Operational Strategy consultants.