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f you’re an operations leader within an organization, one important role you have is to help practices and processes become more streamlined. That often includes overseeing high-level HR duties such as talent attraction, creating training standards, and setting hiring procedures.

During the global crisis of COVID-19, many operations managers turned to cost-cutting strategies for short-term results. PwC research has shown that two in three organizations plan on cutting costs in the next year. However, less than 30% of cost-cutting programs achieve their goals, and less than a fifth of these are able to harvest consistent rewards.

Instead, operations managers have an opportunity to think about how they can get more out of employees—how to help them be more productive and efficient. One way to achieve this is by improving task management skills. This will help your team track tasks, prioritize them, set deadlines, and ensure work is assigned to the right people.

When you improve task management skills, you ensure projects stay on track and are completed on time.

Task Management Impediments

In order to improve upon business workflows, we must first identify problem areas. For operations managers, they must look at the task/project management impediments that are hurting a typical enterprise company’s operations. Here are some of the most common ones in 2021:

Repetitive Administrative Duties

These kinds of tasks are a drain on everyone in the organization. Employees become bogged down by repetitive administrative tasks and companies waste money by allowing it. According to one global study, 88% of those surveyed believe that people should not be performing repetitive administrative tasks if they have the potential to be automated. Half of those surveyed said they find digital administration boring and a poor use of their professional skills, while the majority said it gets in the way of their primary job and reduces their productivity.

In a normal 8-hour workday schedule, employees lose about 60 hours per month to administrative work.

Improve Production and Distribution Processes

Improving production or distribution processes is a nice idea, but if those efforts don’t translate to more sales and revenue, then those efforts can be redirected to more necessary operational tasks. Operational tasks should be performed efficiently so that your team can deliver high-quality services with fewer resources.

The goal is to generate more profits per project with the same or fewer amount of resources. You want to create and maintain a well-oiled machine that’s ready for new markets and can stay profitable. This requires operations managers to look both internally and externally at how organizational processes work.

Obstacles That Hold Back Production

Finding and removing obstacles that are holding back production are always major challenges for operations managers. Challenges include:

  • Forecasting demands for products
  • Controlling inventory
  • Improving manufacturing efficiency
  • Increasing ROI
  • Dealing with skilled labor shortages
  • Managing employees

But with accurate reporting tools, good inventory management strategies, modern processes, clearly defined returns, and regular training, management should be able to overcome these obstacles.

How Operations Managers Can Do Better

To retain a competitive edge, it’s all about managing tasks effectively. A lot of task management goes hand in hand with time management. These types of skills need to be adopted at each level of an organization. If they’re not, there can be dire consequences. Here are a few ways you can improve task management skills to improve your organization’s operations:

Automate Everything

Okay, maybe not everything, but almost every core business process that’s repeatable can be automated. According to a global survey of more than 10,000 office workers by Automation Anywhere, by automating repetitive tasks, employees can get back 4.5 months of their annual time to work on more meaningful work. This will boost your organization’s overall productivity and business value. Plus, employees want it too.

85% of the respondents said they want to work for an organization that invests in automation to reduce repetitive tasks, while 55% said they would consider leaving their job if there is a high amount of manual administrative work. Even more, manual data entry is prone to human error, which can have a negative impact on an organization.

Focus On The Customer

Katharine Leonard, Co-Founder of ShiftChange, suggests that operations managers need to focus on the customer and develop metrics around their needs.

“Design your processes with the end customer in mind. Think about what they see as value and what they’re willing to pay for, as well as how quickly they expect to get results,” Katharine Leonard says.

The old way of having team members scribble down their processing numbers is an inaccurate way of collecting data and leads to inefficient task management skills. Using data and analytics allows your organization to continually improve the customer experience. If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start, check out Blake Morgan’s 20 best customer experience metrics for your business.

It’s All About The Data

Operations managers understand that their job is all about data. With so much data in the modern workforce, automatically pulling project and task data into one virtual location is one new way to increase company-wide productivity. This is changing the way operations managers think and requires a new, if they don’t have it already, set of data-analyzing skills. Organizational leaders can now use data findings to plan, track, and optimize their workflows for various projects.

“I envision operations management becoming a high-tech position, requiring a highly analytical skill set...” Leonard says.

These days, operations managers must be tech-savvy and willing to learn the latest tools. To automate mundane and time-consuming tasks, develop metrics around customers’ needs, and analyze data, operations managers need an AI-Driven Workforce Productivity Hub that offers accurate, data-driven insights into productivity across individuals, departments, and the entire organization—and that’s exactly what MetaSpark offers.

Gain insights on your employees’ contributions toward OKRs and improve your task management skills by automatically bringing everyone’s tasks from every system into one dashboard without any data entry.

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