by Peter Hanseen, M.P.A.
If you have ever been tasked with overseeing an organization’s approach to on-site operations activities, it’s possible you have asked yourself, “Where do I start?” After all, an Operations Manager is the consummate Jack or Jane of all trades, yet required to be master of many, rather than master of none, as the saying goes. And the areas of expected influence are diverse.
Expectations for Operations Managers
See if this list sounds like a typical expectation—whether stated or unstated—about the things you are heavily involved in or are responsible for as a key influencer:
- your organization’s interdepartmental communications standards
- corporate reporting and internal file accessibility
- human resources process improvements and associated enablement tools
- corporate social responsibility and sustainability programs
The zipped-up version of that list is: The operations manager oversees many corporate initiatives that are designed to aid the growth of the organization against a diversification of goals, while managing tasks that increase productivity.
There is a tendency in prioritizing activities—and understandably so—to try to pinpoint singular items that are high profile, hot-button issues with a seemingly clear fix. For example, it may be abundantly clear that certain departments have not recently had industry-specific training, and this deficit is causing a decline in service, and in some cases compliance shortfalls. The fix is easy—coordinate schedules, organize and make arrangements for the proper training to be completed, and watch the corresponding uptick in service while checking the box on compliance.
Solution Productivity Yield and Prioritization
Giving attention to a singular, easily identifiable area of organizational shortfall with a specific fix will produce essentially a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio in what I’ll call ‘solution-productivity yield.’ In the example above, 1 training input yields 2 identifiable results: service improvement and compliance validation.
Let me suggest that the most successful Operations Managers, Directors, and Vice Presidents are those who have the ability to identify, uncover, and advocate action against priority areas that appear relatively latent. Because of their seemingly latent quality, these priority areas are neither the scapegoat nor the hero in organizational process activities. These priorities are not ones that appear at the top of any lists—in fact, they may be completely disregarded or put on the back burner. However, organizations benefit when successful Operations personnel discover and advocate for solutions in this particular category of latent priorities. Why? Because often these lesser-priority areas have a surprisingly disproportionate ability to influence outcomes across many touch points and processes in an organization. Instead of a 1:1 or 1:2 solution productivity yield, these may have as high as 1:3 or 1:4 ratio in solution-productivity yield.
Corporate Document Management Practices
One very specific, often latent priority area that Operations Managers would do well to examine is corporate document management practices. In many organizations there exists a serious shortfall in the area of consistent, well-thought-out and executed document management programs. Document management practices that have existed for years and include traditional paper documents, files and file folders, cabinets, storage space on-premise, and even storage space off-site, coupled with the necessary human capital storage and access activities these antiquated methods require, have negative organizational impacts. Because things have always been done ‘that way’ and they seem to work, any change in this area is low priority. A newer cousin to the old school methods of document management, yet also a method that leads to a latent perception and priority categorization, is the idea of >partial digitization—which leads to a Frankensteinian program of document storage, retrieval, and workflow—and also yields a predictably unsecure environment. Electronic copies of documents are stored on a shared drive somewhere, with storage protocols and structures being determined at the whim of whomever is filing the documents, or one department does it one way, and another department does it another way. All the while, physical copies of some or all documents are stored in various locations. But surprisingly it works to some degree, and business and processes go forward, so it remains.
Start By Implementing Document Management
The answer to the question, “Where to Start?” could lie in a focus area’s solution productivity yield. The solution productivity yield that will be experienced when Operations teams surface, prioritize, and remediate the issues associated with poor programs in document management are many. Leverage a solid core document management system and your organization’s interdepartmental communications standards will have a structure and format that will be easy to manage and understand. Implement a good document management solution and it will include compliance and security measures that can withstand audit scrutiny with regards to file accessibility. Supply the Human Resources department with a solution that enables them to manage employee records against compliance and retention standards, as well as providing easy and secure file accessibility, and you’ll see vast improvements in that area. Make the move to true digital document management, and your organization’s social responsibility and sustainability program get a clear nod toward environmental consciousness.
Document Management With eFileCabinet
eFileCabinet’s document management software serves as a high yield productivity solution that is used by corporations to organize their critical documents and, in many cases, to maintain compliance with regulations that govern their respective industries, including HIPAA, SOX, FINRA, the IRS, and others. If you’d like help implementing a paperless document management solution that will yield high productivity for your organization, call us at 877-574-5505, fill out the contact form on this page, or chat with us now.