Thursday, April 29, 2010

Addressing Operational Issues and Problems in Business

Businesses want to create and deliver value to its customers and stakeholders. But not always things go as per plan. Operational issues and problems (OIPs) often derail many a plan and affect business performance. They render a business less profitable.

In any business the following, which we may refer to as core pillars of a business, form the basis of its existence, performance and growth. 
  1. Mission, Vision, Strategy & Alignment
  2. Investment, Infrastructure and Resources
  3. Leading and Management
  4. Structure, Systems, Processes and Policies
  5. Execution of Work
    Core pillars provide what a business requires. Right from defining business purpose to support and work, these pillars lend strength to the business. When these fall short of requirements they may then give rise to causes that cause operational issues and problems.
    OIP Categories

    Operational issues and problems fall under following five categories. The first three of them are primary and direct, while the last two are contributing to the first three.
    1. Wastage issues
    2. Delay issues
    3. Quality issues
    4. Control & Management issues
    5. Work cultural issues
    Though containing OIPs require constant efforts, companies cannot work on same issues again and again over their life time. Often symptoms attract more effort than the real problem. To remedy it and address core operational issues and problems we need to understand them better. OIP Framework is an effort in that direction

    OIP Framework

    The OIP framework helps businesses to identify and understand operational issues and problems in an effective manner. It helps businesses to understand and analyse OIPs before trying to resolve them. With the help of OIP framework companies can identify, understand and contain issues and problems that affect their operational performance in an effective manner. The structure of OIP framework is as follows

    1  Categories of OIPs
    1.1  Types of OIPs
    1.1.1  Causes of OIPs

    The general OIP framework contains 5 categories, 21 different types of OIPs and 54 different causes. OIP framework help businesses improve their operational performance 

    How OIP framework works?

    What may not be clear to people at the top may be clearer to people near the surface due to their proximity to action and other people. They often see, hear and perceive the happenings but not always air them. Not often they take it beyond their level, even if they air them. OIP framework ropes in these very people to capture the types and causes of OIPs and how significant and big they are in affecting the operational performance of the business. People are involved and facilitated to contribute in the following manner.

    • Key people are identified (Managerial up to supervisory level)
    • Orientation on OIPs and the method 
    • Defining OIPs
    • Discussing various categories and types of OIPs
    • The OIP Framework diagram will be introduced and explained
    • Understanding each of the listed causes and how they cause OIPs
    • How to contribute using the framework?
    • Workshop
    • Identification of OIPs, their causes along with significance and contribution ratings
    • OIP framework worksheet will be used

    Combating the OIP virus

    The identification of OIPs and their causes using the OIP framework is only a beginning. For a business to rein in OIPs it takes further efforts to win over them. The following diagram represents various stages in an OIP fight, which may have to be repeated periodically to keep the business OIP free.
    Fig.1 - Stages in combating the OIP virus

    Conclusion

    A business free of OIPs would appear in every business leader’s wish list and may even top it. It may not be possible to get rid of OIPs completely but surely businesses can work towards achieving that dream state. Realistically companies can keep improving in their fight to eliminate OIPs. With every ground gained, and every inch protected, OIPs can be kept at bay and may even be eliminated eventually. The important thing is ‘constant fight against OIPs’. Never accept any part of it as given or acceptable. Always consider it to be something that should be done away with even if it is there for a very long time.

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    To know more about the OIP framework and to avail the services of N.Balajhi, Business Consultant, you may contact him at nbalajhi@gmail.com

    3 comments:

    visitor management solutions said...

    i love reading your blog, specially i have learned a lot while reading on it..specially in handling some problems in a business..

    Pradnya Gad said...

    Beautifully written!

    Anonymous said...

    What are the issues?

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