The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the nature of business operations and operations leaders’ roles across all industries. In some sectors, the pandemic completely halted operations.
Still, some companies have adapted to the new normal, creating new levels of automation, agility, and productivity.
Take remote work, for example. According to a report by McKinsey, about 25% of the workforces in advanced economies could work from home between three and five days a week. This figure represents four to five times more remote work than before the pandemic. It could also significantly change work geography as workers and companies shift from large cities into suburbs and small towns.
Fintechs should focus on transforming their operations to accommodate this shift in workforce preferences. Operations leaders should be asking themselves: How can we design our operations to adapt to the realities? There are four important strategies necessary for operations leaders who seek to reinvent their work and position their businesses for the next normal.
Build process excellence. Like the route to travel to work, your business process is the recipe for success. Process excellence is focused on making processes more efficient and effective through design and iterative testing. It is a series of steps that your employees take to achieve the same output every time.
The main goal is to deliver consistent, positive outcomes with minimal variation and waste.
Process excellence is more than documenting processes; it tests that the process steps deliver the expected outcome, and if not, to improve until the outputs are consistent. Getting process excellence right is the baseline to scaling the other strategies for operational resilience.
Drive platform excellence. Fintechs should think of the platform as the vehicle for travelling. While you may have the perfect route mapped out, it is worthless if the car keeps dying on the road. The technology you deploy for your operations is as important as your processes.
A platform works according to different rules. It is where your employee and customer share or exchange information independently or co-dependently without any intervention from the platform owner. Having platform excellence in your organization has never been as crucial as it is today.
You are devising a strategy that allows you to take advantage of the increasing innovation that separates successful organizations from obsolete ones.
Achieve information excellence. If you have unknowingly violated the 1-way traffic rule, you will appreciate the importance of “seeing” information on time.
How well we communicate within our operations can impact how your employee interprets it. Now more than ever, data must be unambiguous and have only one interpretation.
Information excellence leverages information to drive exceptional customer value and experience, creating streamlined processes and resourcing.
It gives operations leaders direct insights into operational costs, operational efficiency, overall productivity, job satisfaction, results and many more metrics.
Preserve talent. To achieve and sustain operational excellence, we need the right attitude, mindset, and competencies. How well are we empowering employees to do good work?
By empowerment, we refer to equipping them with the correct information, resources, accountability, and authority to be efficient and do stellar work.
Navigating the transition to and management of remote teams occasioned by the pandemic can be tricky to get right, particularly for businesses that do not have the resources to ensure that such a transition is entirely seamless.
Many companies can remain relevant and continue attracting top talent, who are increasingly demanding work-from-home flexibility, by putting these strategies in place.
To build sustainable operations as a leader, you need to roll up your sleeves and be ready for hard work. Your employees and management team also need to be prepared to put in the time it takes for improvement. Otherwise, you are only virtue signalling, expressing values without actually taking steps to live by them.
Operational excellence is a commitment and requires meaningful change. If you do not invest time and resources, build, assess, pivot and build some more, you will not see results. You cannot simply announce changes to your employees and not follow through with necessary actions.
Focus on operational excellence and enhance engagement
Operations excellence does not happen overnight, but rather by deploying the required discipline into every aspect of your operations and reinforcing necessary performance.
As the world adapts to the new normal, it’s important that you adopt these strategies to avoid being left behind. The good news is that operational excellence means your operations evolve along with the company and industry shifts, so you can better meet customer needs.
About the author
Sikemi Tayo is a Business Transformation Manager at an Africa-focused integrated digital payments and commerce company where she continues to champion enterprise initiatives to increase team efficiency and business productivity.
With over 13 years of experience working in different roles and 8 years leading teams in solutions design, digital customer experience, and business transformation functions, she has been exposed to varied types of problems, constraints, and expectations.
She is an alumnus of the University of Sheffield and holds a masters degree in information systems. Sikemi is a career and leadership mentor as well as a natural problem solver. In her free time, she is a fitness enthusiast and likes to travel the world.