How to get financial backing for operational improvement

Improving operations management – how to obtain financial backing

  • Reduced operating cost
  • Greater business capacity
  • Improved efficiency
  • Stricter compliance
  • Enhanced customer experience
  • Improved staff morale

Each of these benefits brings a positive commercial impact and together they deliver a boost to overall organisational capability that far outweighs the sums of the parts. But getting sign-off on the investment to deliver operations management improvements isn’t always straightforward. It can be a struggle to convince the board to buy into the importance of back office activities, the benefits arising from improving operations management and how it delivers long term sustainability.

Yet as the CEO or CFO, you are all too aware of the responsibility to drive operational improvements forward, because if you fail to do so, the long-term consequence is a steady decline in performance vis-à-vis the competition.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Benjamin Franklin
Improving Operations Management

De-risking investment in improving operations management.

It is completely understandable that board members express reservations about making an investment in improving operations management. And it’s likely that you’ll have to answer some pretty searching questions, such as:

  • What if we authorise the investment but the promised gains don’t materialise?
  • Are there any hidden cost implications associated with this investment? For example, IT infrastructure upgrades?
  • Don’t we already have this capability?
  • When will the investment deliver a positive return?

 

What Is The Best response?

Addressing these concerns is therefore a critical step, both in terms of gaining buy-in from the board, and also in performing due diligence before making any investment decision. The best way to answer such questions is to obtain a thorough diagnostic of your operations.

And the best way of obtaining an unbiased diagnostic of your back office operations is to use an experienced specialist partner. Although many benefits can be gained from a diagnostic, the principal points supporting investment are:

  • Identifying and accurately assessing potential cost savings and productivity gains
  • Demonstrating how business growth can be achieved without the need for additional FTE.
  • Highlighting weaknesses in existing operations

Once created, the diagnostic subsequently becomes a core element of a robust business case for investment for improving operations management.

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”

Warren Buffett
Problem in business

An objective view of operational performance

The other frequently asked question is “why can’t we carry out a diagnostic using internal resource?” And the answer is that it’s almost impossible to deliver effective change internally. Despite long service and extensive business knowledge, front-line managers will often lack the perspective to fully understand what isn’t functioning optimally, both at a granular process level and inter- departmentally. They simply won’t have the broad experience to be able to identify areas where duplication and other inefficiencies exist.

Using An External Specialist

It’s also politically very challenging to drive change internally. An external specialist has the knowledge and experience to view operations management rationally and objectively, and provide recommendations untainted by any personal or political bias. They can carry out a robust review of your operations and ask the kind of questions that are usually ‘swept under the rug’ during internal reviews.

In summary, using the results from an independent, properly scoped and constructed diagnostic will strengthen any justification for improving operations management for the back office.