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The Maintenance Management Blog

July 08, 2014

Operations Management Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

Operations Management Mistakes

Whether you are a fledgling operations manager or a hardened veteran of the manufacturing industry, one thing is for certain: We all make mistakes. However, some mishaps are bigger than others, and in today"s blog post, we are going to look at a few operations management mistakes that you absolutely cannot afford to make.

As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. Unfortunately, there are rarely courses you can take that will teach you how to avoid real-world mistakes, especially for future operations managers, who rely so heavily upon hands-on experience as job preparation. Part of that learning experience is making mistakes, and while you can't avoid missteps forever, knowing about some common pitfalls in advance may help you dodge them. Don't believe the hype of all those futuristic sci-fi flicks - you can change the future and avoid cataclysmic mistakes!

One of the biggest errors you can make in any job that is performance-based is not defining and documenting goals, expectations, and the current state of affairs. This last part is crucial to the whole process, as you can't improve performance - or indeed, even improve period - without knowing where you currently stand. Don't make this simple mistake - map out where your operations currently stand and create a roadmap, complete with directions, on how to improve existing processes.

You may have heard the acronym KISS. If you have not, it means, "Keep it simple, stupid." This advice is critical for operations managers, particularly in an industrial and manufacturing setting. Creating complex and overly thought-out processes and procedures opens your operation up to failure and mistakes. Don't make things complicated. Indeed, take some time to review existing procedures and see if they feel too complicated. Is there any way to simplify them? If so, consider reworking them. It will make your system run much more smoothly.

Another common mistake newbie operations managers make is being reactive instead of proactive. Good leaders in any environment look for weaknesses and consider worst-case scenarios. Just as important, they anticipate - and plan for - things going awry and take the steps necessary to ensure that things never reach the boiling point. Know the dangers, prepare for them, and steer clear when possible. You will find it is easier to go around the iceberg than clean up the mess afterward!

One thing many managers seem to take for granted is education. Once they are trained and used to a system, they fail to keep on top of changes in the industry, technology, and process improvements. Falling behind on the latest trends in the industry is a huge mistake that will ultimately lead to poor performance in the long term. Great operations managers are always on the cutting edge, keeping an eye out for new innovations and tech and willing to experiment with new ideas. Never let yourself stagnate or become comfortable with your process - it is much harder to catch up once you fall behind.

Finally, never shy away from using all of the tools at your disposal. Aside from analytics and metrics, software such as a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) or maintenance management/facility management software will go a long way toward helping you improve every aspect of your job. From reporting to planning and implementation, a CMMS is a must for any serious-minded manufacturing professional.

At the end of the day, mistakes are unavoidable, but hopefully the above tips will help you dodge a bullet or two and - hopefully - achieve your operations management goals!


Lisa Richards

About the Author – Lisa Richards

Lisa Richards is an experienced professional in the field of industrial management and is an avid blogger about maintenance management systems and productivity innovation. Richards' undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering opened the door for her initial career path with a Midwest-based agricultural implement manufacturer with global market reach. Over a span of 10 years, Lisa worked her way through various staff leadership positions in the manufacturing process until reaching the operations manager level at a construction and forestry equipment facility. Lisa excelled at increasing productivity while maintaining or lowering operating budgets for her plant sites.

An Illinois native, Lisa recently returned to her suburban Chicago North Shore hometown to raise her family. Lisa has chosen to be active in her community and schools while her two young girls begin their own journey through life. Richards has now joined the MAPCON team as an educational outreach writer in support of their efforts to inform maintenance management specialists about the advantages in marrying advanced maintenance software with cutting-edge facility and industrial management strategies.

Filed under: Operation maintenance software, operations management — Lisa Richards on July 08, 2014