What’s Your Operations Action Plan for 2013?

Written by Carol Coughlin. Posted in Operations Management

In September, we revisited our top three financially focused New Year’s Resolutions  – those finance-related planning steps that can make the biggest difference in a company’s growth and success. In reality, though, you can’t stop with the numbers. Operations action plan also needs a good, hard look.

So, this month we’re sharing our Top Three Operations Action Plan Steps to help you approach end-of-year planning more holistically and synergistically.

Here’s what every company needs to do operationally for greater success in 2013:

Collaborate to Curtail Waste: End-of-year budget planning is the ideal time to find, evaluate and overcome inefficiencies. Challenge teams or departments to brainstorm ways to reduce their costs and time requirements, and also to increase quality control. Involving your team also helps ensure the success of the overall budget in the coming year since everyone will have taken part in setting goals and in creating strategies to achieve them.

Compare Contracts to Cut Costs: Now is also the perfect time to review insurance policies, contracts and vendor agreements. A little research will reveal if you have the best rates, and if you company is fully using the services it’s paying for. Consider combining certain policies to receive a better deal. Additionally, be ready to re-negotiate contracts – especially those obtained in the current year. Now that you are a known entity, vendors may be willing to give your company a price break based on your payment history or 2013 projections.

Consider Compensation Creatively: Reviewing your company’s existing compensation programs and inviting creative thinking into the compensation planning process can have a significant impact on the bottom line. End of year is a good time to consider or re-consider pay-for-performance programs where pay or bonuses are tied to results. It’s also a good idea to review how your company’s compensation packages and policies are communicated to staff. Make sure to put the total value of compensation in writing and include financial compensation, as well as benefits. These might include healthcare, bonuses, paid time off, use of a company car or phone, as well as innovative perks such as on-site child or pet care for employees. Additionally, examine these same benefits from a cost perspective, and don’t forget to include wear and tear on company vehicles.

During the end-of-year planning process, it’s easy to see how financial and operational issues intermesh and how changes in one area impact the other. This is why it’s critical to examine the big picture each year. Setting aside time to review, analyze and act, financially and operationally, on behalf of your company’s growth and success can make the difference between a stellar year and one that’s less than spectacular. Obtaining objective guidance can also help you look at each business from a new perspective and spark out-of-the-box ideas that help your company save, profit and grow. But whether you go it alone or bring in support, one thing is certain: You can’t start planning for success soon enough.

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Carol Coughlin

Carol Coughlin founded BottomLine Growth Strategies, Inc., in 2006 as a way for small and medium-sized businesses to access the same high-level financial and operational expertise that gives large companies a distinct advantage. Using her own extensive corporate experience and willingness to sit in the hot seat as a catalyst, Carol helps BottomLine Growth clients climb to the summit of their success.
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