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An operational plan is a laid down strategy that defines how a business will operate in order to implement actions and monitoring plans, i.e. how resources will be engaged, how to deal with risks and how to ensure that achievements of its project are sustained.
Strategic managers use an operational plan to request for funding so as to achieve a proposed expansion of business or an organisation. It is necessary to have cross-departmental communication since an increase in one department will inevitably affect other departments. Operational plans differ from one project to another depending on the size and complexity of projects.
An operational plan helps an organisation to plan on how to get funding for projects and how to allocate resources effectively. It helps to plan in advance in case of any risks and also helps prepare a contingency plan to mitigate those risks.
The Office Assistant’s major objective is to have the services component of the business grow in the next twelve months. The services sales are to be increased by 10% within the next year. Services are also to be expanded so as to include graphic design services.
Objectives may not be attained if necessary measures are not taken. Additional resources are vital; both human and physical resources, e.g. an additional printer, photocopier and a delivery van among others to help increase the sales. The acquisition of the new equipment will necessitate additional space; hence the office will need to be partitioned to accommodate new staff.
The sales personnel may also be motivated through reward schemes so that they may double their efforts and be more aggressive in selling the organisation’s products. Staff should be trained in effective sales methods and new product knowledge which is vital in boosting sales of the organisation.
Expansion of any business needs critical assessment of its budget to ascertain whether it is able to withstand any proposed expansion. The organisation should look for other ways of raising the additional funds if the budget is not flexible to accommodate the expansion. This may be through borrowing, injection of more capital by key shareholders or even disposing of old equipment.
The organisation will need additional resources over and above the ones operating beforehand to cater to the set objectives. These resources may either be a physical or human resource. Physical resources refer to the equipment needed to help increase the projected increase in sales, whereas human resource means additional staff to help distribute the additional products.
Additional staff will cause an additional cost of advertising the vacancies created by the need for expansion. Moreover, the wages and workplace for new staff must also be put into consideration. Staff will also need insurance in the workplace in case of any accidents. The delivery van will need people to load it and unload it after it delivers the products to clients.
Key Performance Indicators
There have to be measures that can tell whether the management is on track to achieve set objectives. These measures are called Key Performance Indicators (KPI) which are quantifiable measures agreed before an operational plan is set into action (Parmenter, 2011).
These measures must reflect an organisation’s goals and must be measurable and realistic. An organisation needs to keep its Key Performance Indicators focussed on the objectives so that everyone’s attention is drawn towards attaining its objectives.
The major KPI’s for ‘The Office Assistant’ among others are mileage of the delivery van which should be checked on a daily basis to ensure that the van is used fully to deliver sales. This has to be checked keenly since employees might collude to misuse the van for selfish gains aside from the organisational goals, how frequent are equipment for hire out of office, how frequent are photocopying and printing papers needed, new market penetration as this will help see if the organisation has the capability of venturing into new markets after the increase of staff and delivery van acquisition, how busy is the graphic designer, how frequent clients call for business to be delivered to them, profit margin also needs to be looked into since it’s the core thing as to why the organisation is trying to increase its sales.
There has to be efficient consultation among implementing partners for the organisation to achieve the set goals (Durbin & Doerscher, 2010). Among them is the Marketing Manager who will partner with the direct sales staff to ensure that targets are met and also to ensure that staffs are well motivated to work. The marketing manager, in collaboration with the field staff, will also help in coming up with new markets.
Operations Manager is key to making decisions on how operations of The Office Assistant are carried out, Finance Manager will assist in allocating the necessary funding to help achieve the targets, Personnel Manager to conduct interviews and hire qualified staff to do the work, IT Manager needs to be well informed of all the details of staff so that he is able to maintain an up to date database and ensure that staff in the field can access products database in case a client needs clarification during fieldwork.
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An efficient method of consultation would be holding a round table meeting with all these persons so as to brief each of them of the role they are to play. One on one meeting with some of the managers from time in the process of the implementation of the plan will be necessary.
An organisation needs to be aware that whatever the plan is, there are risks that are involved. Thus, the organisation needs to put in place some plans to mitigate risks that have been forecast and some that may not have been forecast (Daft & Doerscher 2010).
In case of power failure, the organisation should acquire a generator to act as a standby power provider. Staffs that go for fieldwork should be provided with laptops to cushion them from power failure during working hours. Staff salaries should also be reviewed from time to time so as to reduce the high turnover of employees. The organisation may also consider hiring contract employees. There may also arise network connection failure maybe when the staff are in the field. This may be mitigated by having the staff carrying modems with them so that services will not be cut off.
An Operational Plan is necessary to ensure that the organisation runs procedurally and that set objectives are achieved. An increase in sales calls for all stakeholders in the organisation to be involved. No department should be segregated in an attempt to have expansion in business.
Daft, L. & Marcic, D. (2010). Understanding Management. Kentucky: Cengage Learning.
Durbin, P. & Doerscher, T. (2010) Taming Change with Portfolio Management: Unify Your Organization, Sharpen Your Strategy, and Create Measurable Value. Greenleaf Book Group: Texus.
Parmenter, D. (2011). Key Performance Indicators: Developing, Implementing,and Using Winning KPIs. New Delhi: John Wiley & Sons.