wardell books


“Exceed your customer's expectations. If you do, they'll come back over and over. Give them what they want - and a little more. Let them know that you appreciate them. Make good on all your mistakes and don't make excuses - apologize. Stand behind everything that you do. 'Satisfaction guaranteed' will make all the difference.”

- Sam Walton

The following sections will help you restructure your business operations so that they provide the surest path to your company's Strategic Objective. It's divided into eight chapters as follows:

  1. Operational Strategy: This chapter will provide you with a practical strategy for the future development of all aspects of your business operations. Your Operational Strategy will work in harmony with your Marketing Strategy to maximize your value to your customers. Sometimes referred to as “Unique Business Competencies,” your Operational Strategy will identify the unique competencies of your business. In other words, what it is that your business does especially well. Building on these strengths will help to solidify your place in the market and distance you from your competition, both now and in the future.

  2. Production: This is the nuts and bolts of your business. In this chapter you will document and improve the systems that bring your products and services to life. You will set up your physical environment and organize your workflow so that they best serve this purpose. As with the other aspects of Operations, you will use your Unique Business Competencies and Operational Strategy as your guides.

  3. Quality Control: This is an area that can cause your business to sink or swim. Customers expect consistency in your products and services. They also expect consistency in the way in which you relate to them, and the way in which you deliver your products and services.

  4. Your Facilities: The process that happen inside your business need a home to happen in. This chapter looks at the basic functional requirements of your business in terms of space and design.

  5. Customer Service: What do you provide to your customers that they don't directly pay for? You may provide them with friendly service, help lines, instructions, guarantees, service calls, and more. In this chapter, we'll identify, improve, and add to this list. Then we'll put the systems in place to make them happen consistently. We'll also develop systems to handle any concerns or complaints your customers might have. Occasionally, production mistakes can slip through the cracks. When this happens, it is always better to take a proactive stance and deal with any possible repercussions directly than to take a “wait and see” attitude.

  6. Supply Chain Management: This process starts with raw materials, moves through the production phase that happens inside your facility, works its way through delivery, and ends when your products or services reach your customers. In this chapter we will examine not only the physical acts of sourcing, producing, and delivering your products or service, but the experiences your customers associate with this act as well. Business owners often underestimate the impact of supply and delivery systems, making it a great place to gain a competitive advantage.

  7. Research and Development: To remain competitive in today's market, one cannot sit still. In order to succeed, the concept of “continuous business evolution,” or “constant and never-ending improvement” must become integrated into your Corporate Culture. In this chapter you will set up systems for the continuous improvement of your products and services. You will carefully examine your products and services from your customers' perspective and then you will begin the creative process of finding ways to continuously make them even better.

  8. Training: Finally we will identify the necessary training programs for keeping your Operations department functioning at its peak. This will include ongoing systems training as well as any programs that address specific needs such as special driver's licenses or additional academic education.

Corporate Culture and Your Operations

We discussed the concept of Corporate Culture in Management - The Art & Science of Getting Things Done. As we walked through Marketing - Standing Out From The Crowd and Finance - Managing Your Nest Eggs, we remained conscious of the way in which your Corporate Culture influences and is influenced by the systems that your company has put in place to fulfill your objectives. As we move through Operations - Turning The Gears, we will be focusing on the way in which your business creates value for your customers. Operations is where the rubber really hits the road. Your Corporate Culture, whether it is a conscious product of effort on your part, or an unconscious product of neglect has a surprisingly strong impact on your company's ability to create value for your customers, and fulfill your value proposition.

The Corporate Culture, or lack thereof, present in your Marketing department has multiple touchpoints with your customer base, and because of that has external repercussions or benefits for your business. When looked at through the lens of your Operations, your Corporate Culture has strong influence on what it feels like to work inside your business. It has a huge impact on whether or not the right people want to work for and with you. In the end, it has a huge impact on your bottom line. It is not just limited to internal relations however. As we discussed in Marketing, we know that a content workforce has a valuable impact on others' perceptions of your business as well. As you build the systems that you and your employees will use to fulfill your Operations objectives, keep your corporate culture in the front of your mind.

Beginning With the End in Mind

At the end of the Leadership book, you developed your company’s Strategic Objectives. This is the set of goals that guides your company forward, each objective being a key component to fulfilling your company’s vision. As a part of that process, you set out some objectives for your Operations. As you progress through Operations “Turning The Gears” keep your Operations Objectives in mind. Here, you will begin the work of building the systems that comprise the strategies which will achieve your Objectives. As you encounter new ideas, think about how they can be used to bring about progress toward the goals you have set for your company. In other words, let’s begin with the end in mind, and continue to make progress toward your goals.