BSBMGT402 – Implement Operational Plan Copy
Element 1: Implement Operational Plan
Performance Criteria Element 1
1.1 Collate, analyse and organise details of resource requirements in consultation with relevant personnel, colleagues and specialist resource managers
1.2 Implement operational plans to contribute to the achievement of organisation’s performance/business plan
1.3 Identify and use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor operational performance
1.4 Manage contingencies by adjusting the implementation of the operational plan in consultation with others
1.5 Provide assistance in the development and presentation of proposals for resource requirements in line with operational planning processes.
Implement Operational Plan
Introduction to Operations Planning
We will examine the idea of operational planning and management. This involves a wide variety of skills and we will spend some time examining the management of people and resources in detail. Operational planning attempts to ensure the successful implementation of operational plans through the effective management of people and resources. Like any management activity, operational planning is based on a set of key management principles.
The key functions of management can be simplified into an acronym known as PLOC – planning, leading, organising and controlling.
Defining goals and developing plans to achieve them.
Setting a good example, guiding and motivating the team.
Arranging resources to get the work done.
Watching ‘how things are going’.
Functions of Management
Management is an ongoing process involving four major functions.
Collate, Analyse and Organise Details of Resource Requirements in Consultation with Relevant Personnel,Colleagues and Specialist Resource Managers
Implement Operational Plans to Contribute to the Achievement of Organisation’s Performance/Business Plan
Planning Your Resources
A key managerial skill that all managers should possess is the ability to define goals and develop plans in order to achieve them. In the case of operations planning you require the ability to plan the resources that you will need to achieve your goals and objectives.
The resource requirements you may need to organise could include:
• Goods and services to be purchased and ordered
• Human, physical and financial resources – both current and projected
• Stock requirements and requisitions.
There are a range of tools that you can use as a manager in order to plan and allocate resources. The tools that you use will be very much dependent on the nature of the operation that you are undertaking. One of the tools that you may put to use is the Resource Plan. A resource plan is a chart that outlines the objectives you wish to achieve and how you plan going about achieving them. Each objective that you set yourself should have a resource plan provided. A typical resource plan format is provided overleaf.
|XYZ Company Resource Plan|
Here you must describe what must be done, by when, by whom.
Once you have set your objective, you need to define exactly how you plan to achieve it. What tasks are involved? In what order will they be done? What are the key deliverables?
Here you must list all the required resources to undertake the relevant tasks. These include: financial, staffing, training and materials.
Finally, you should describe ‘What If?’ situations. What problems can you foresee? How will you go about resolving them if they arise?
A plan such as this can be developed for each of your key objectives. It allows you to think out the key sections of your plan and determine how best to achieve them. This forms the basis of your operational planning.
One of these charts should be completed for each of the major objectives that you wish to achieve. This will become the outline of your operational plan. When you are setting goals, you need to attempt to align them to specific aspects of your business or overall strategic plan. By doing this, you work towards something that is meaningful to the organisation. As with all goals and objectives, there are some attributes that are important – they must be clear, concise and measurable. If you can not measure your objective – you will have no idea whether or not you have actually managed to achieve it.
Completing a chart such as the one following will assist you in identifying who you will need to assist you in achieving the objective and outlining each team member’s contribution to the overall project. It will also assist you in defining the resources that you will be required to obtain in order to achieve the given tasks.
You may find that you are not in a good position to be able to ascertain all the requirements by yourself. For this reason it is important to remember that it is OK to ask for help. You do not need to feel you are expected to know everything as a manager. A good manager knows when it is time to seek advice and assistance from others in the organisation – particularly where they may have their own areas of expertise. You are also likely to find that if you involve others in this early stage they will be more interested and committed to ensuring the success of the plan.
These decisions will usually be undertaken with others. These could include:
• Colleagues and specialist resource managers
• Work health and safety committees and other people with specialist responsibilities
• Other employees generally
• People from a wide range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and people with a range of physical and mental abilities
A second tool that you could use for your planning processes is the Resource Capability table. This table allows you to determine the skills of your team members, and determine where any weaknesses lie. By doing this you can attempt to determine where changes need to be made in order to improve your ability to reach your objectives. This table may look like the following.
Resource Capability Table:
In order to complete this table you need to:
1. Write the operational plan that you are undertaking above the table.
Operational plans may be organisational plans or tactical plans developed by the department or section to detail product and service performance. This can easily be linked back to the plan you prepared earlier in this section.
2. List each of the members of your team down the first column.
You may be able to simply use their first name. However if there are some roles which are yet to be assigned the role title may be added in this column.
3. Label each skill heading by adding a task skill that is needed to deliver your plan.
Note that each task should be outlined in the plan you prepared, so it is just a matter of determining the skills that are needed to achieve the overall objective that is required here.
4. Record the skill level of each team member in the appropriate cell.
This rating is up to you – however you may use a five point rating scale where each number represents a different level of skill. For example:
0 – Has no proficiency.
1 – Has minimal proficiency.
2 – Has some proficiency.
3 – Has medium proficiency.
4 – Has good proficiency.
5 – Can train others, excellent proficiency.
A table such as this allows you to identify where your strengths and weaknesses exist; where there are skill gaps, where you are strong, and where you may need to find new staff to fill any gaps that may exist. Where you find that you have any skill gaps – you may fill that with new staff, or increase training in order to increase the level of proficiency in the team.
Identify and Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Monitor Operational Performance
Developing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Timelines
Key Performance Indicators are measures for monitoring or evaluating the efficiency or effectiveness of a system, and which may be used to demonstrate accountability and to identify areas for improvements. They are developed from the objectives.
Objectives are specific, measurable outcomes of business processes that are the direct result of that process, in this case while implementing strategies. The key question that you need to look at when defining objectives is to decide whether what you are trying to achieve is actually achievable. The objectives that you set should not be set in stone. Businesses and the environment within which they operate are constantly changing, so should the objectives if change is noted. However, do not change things just for the sake of change. Ensure that if a change is made you are sure that it is needed, and you understand why the change must be made.
Your planning for new initiatives within an organisation should be related to the overall mission of the organisation. The mission states exactly what you hope to achieve in the operation of the business, and so everything you do needs to work towards that mission. The mission is a large long-term goal that the organisation wants to work towards, so a method that is often used is to break down this goal into smaller goals, and break those down further and further until you have operational goals that can be easily implemented.
These operational goals can then be used to work towards specific goals that are set by implementing initiatives. These initiatives can come at any time, but must be related to the way that business operates and the overall goals it wishes to achieve.
Any overall planning for long term projects must include an element of strategic planning. This could involve you in examining the vision the business has for its future, its mission, the values it holds and any goals already set. Strategies for achieving long-term goals are critical to success. It is one thing to know where you need to go, it is another to know how to actually get there. Planning for a new business initiative must be tied in to overall planning to be most effective. Once you identify these goals, you can begin to create a framework of ideas that will allow these goals and objectives to be met.
Many managers work on the idea that developing new ideas should come in response to a problem – this approach could be likened to having the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff – just picking up the pieces. However, a more effective approach is to look for continuous improvement by proactively looking for ways to make improvements. The first approach shows you are not considering vision and the organisation’s mission in your planning.
When you are looking for ways in which to improve your organisational processes, look beyond your staff. Other key stakeholders can offer a unique perspective that staff may be too close to notice. Just think about the purpose of your organisation for a moment. At its basest level it is to satisfy its customers – so when you need to know how to improve, why not start your search there. What do your customers want? What do they need from your organisation? Talking through major issues with your key customers can provide you with insights that you otherwise may well have missed.
The plan, once developed, needs to be implemented. Plans are only useful if they are implemented in time to actually solve a problem. Implementing plans is also most effective when broken down into milestones which can then be used to measure how well you are doing. By breaking down the implementation into milestones, you can ensure you are on track, you have been realistic in your planning and ensure things are going to plan. You may find it useful to set up periodic meetings with those involved – these meetings would be used to discuss how things are going, what problems have been experienced and where things are in relation to the milestones that have been set. This review process also allows for problem solving and brainstorming of any issues that have arisen.
Setting milestones allows you time to stop and review the progress you are making.
Manage Contingencies by Adjusting the Implementation of the Operational Plan in Consultation with Others
Business Contingency Planning continually confronts the likelihood of a disaster. For the most part – a disaster is seen as being anything that disrupts the normal operations of your organisation – something that involves your organisation not being able to achieve its goals and objectives. There are a huge range of contingencies that you may have to face. The interruption could be related to a winter storm, the loss of electricity to the area, or the complete inaccessibility of a facility for an extended period of time due to fire or an earthquake. Strikes, sickness or many other factors may also cause major problems for an organisation. The cause of the interruption doesn’t matter, but being capable of gaining management control of the interruption does.
Depending on the length or severity of the interruption, significant consequences or the very survival of your organisation may depend on management’s ability to reestablish critical business functions. Usually these business functions have required years to create and establish, but management must re-establish these functions sometimes within hours or days. This is a difficult problem and re-establishing the complex business environment in a timely manner requires a well thought out plan in place and ready to be executed.
The answer to this problem is to be prepared in advance – with business contingency planning. As we mentioned in the previous section – planning for any contingencies that may arise (usually only the critical and likely ones) is an important part of the operational planning process. This process involves you in proactively determining what problems may arise and developing solutions to them before they occur. As the boy scouts say – “Be Prepared!” The plan creates a management team empowered to control any interruptions to the business. Properly constructed, the management team has the capability of responding appropriately to any interruption; from the interruption of telephone service to and including a worst case scenario involving complete inaccessibility of facilities.
Contingencies could include:
• Contracting out or outsourcing human resources and other functions or tasks
• Diversification of outcomes
• Finding cheaper or lower quality raw materials and consumables
• Increasing sales or production
• Recycling and re-use
• Rental, hire purchase or alternative means of procurement of required materials, equipment and stock
• Restructuring of organisation to reduce labour costs
• Risk identification, assessment and management processes
• Seeking further funding
• Strategies for reducing costs, wastage, stock or consumables
• Succession planning.
The objectives of Business Contingency Planning are to:
• Ensure continuity and survival of the business
• Provide protection of corporate assets
• Provide management control of risks and exposures
• Provide preventative measures where appropriate, and to take proactive management control of any business interruption.
Business Contingency Planning implementation and ongoing maintenance will provide answers to the questions of:
• How do I re-establish my business function(s)?
• What is a disaster?
• When do the impacts begin?
• How much loss can be tolerated?
• What are the options?
• What will a recovery plan cost?
• How much is enough?
Consultation with staff over major decisions is critical to the success of any operational plan. Consultation processes are used to get your staff involved and use them to the advantage of the process. These processes may include:
• Mechanisms used to provide feedback to the work team in relation to outcomes of consultation
• Meetings, interviews, brainstorming sessions, email/intranet communications, newsletters or other processes and devices which ensure that all employees have the opportunity to contribute to team and individual operational plans.
Some of the most important points to note are:
• When you plan to implement an operational plan, it is vital to gain the involvement and input of staff in all areas of the company. By involving your staff you will have a much smoother implementation process and you will find that the added suggestions that your staff make add value to the process Involving your internal stakeholders and staff in this process is a way that can be used to discuss any issues that you have noted and find ways of resolving them. Remember your staff are there on a daily basis and so have an excellent understanding of where bottle necks and other issues exist. Listen to them and their ideas. You will also find they feel empowered when you act on their suggestions.
• Don’t let a single department run the entire project and then drop any changes it thinks are needed on the company. What you are doing is going to affect the whole organisation, so you need to be sure that your staff are aware of where you are heading. This is vital because input is usually required from various company departments and management. Once your staff understand that everyone is involved, they will be more willing to put forward ideas and offer their knowledge and skills. Process improvement is an organisation wide process.
• Avoid fears of change. Consider asking people how they feel about the plans. Then make a serious effort to address their concerns. In some cases, the project can be redesigned to take account of these fears. Where fears are unfounded, the sooner they are stopped the better. This is where good communication comes into play. This can take a variety of formats such as briefing sessions, memos on notice boards or informal briefing of work teams by their supervisors. It is vital to fully brief supervisors and managers so they are not giving out contradictory messages. Fears of staff could include concerns about new processes and systems replacing their jobs, effectively making them redundant. Other concerns may include their skill levels. Planning for these and any other questions that can be thought of given the nature of the plan and industry helps to prepare answers to include in the plan and also communication about the plan to staff. You may lose valuable staff to other organisations if they feel at risk.
Your staff are like cogs in a machine. They need to be involved in decision making or your organisation is likely to grind to a halt!
Provide Assistance in the Development and Presentation of Proposals for Resource Requirements in Line with Operational Planning Processes
The result of the planning process will be a proposal – which will be examined by management in order to decide whether or not to implement the operational plan you are proposing. Typically a proposal will be divided into a number of key sections. Each section should outline a different part of your proposal. In this section we will examine each of these parts in turn. Every proposal is different and so you may find that your proposal has different sections than those presented here or is in a different order. Since your proposal is unique, work with the information that you have and make it as convincing as possible.
Your introduction should be planned carefully. It is the section that outlines your ideas and needs to give a solid first impression. Ensure that you include all of the following:
• State that the document is a proposal.
• Provide information about why the proposal was commissioned and who it had been discussed with.
• Ensure that you can find a statement that sums up what you are asking for and provides a motivation for its implementation.
• Give an overview of the contents of the proposal.
You may find that some of these sections can be combined together and can be concise and to the point. A brief introduction serves its purpose better than a longer introduction.
Background on the Problem, Opportunity, or Situation
This section should follow on from what you have written in the introduction and should be aimed at discussing the problem that needs resolution. Discuss the situation as it stands in simple terms so even those not familiar with all the technical aspects of the problem can understand it. The better the background you can provide, the more likely the solution is to be implemented.
Benefits and Feasibility of the Proposed Plan
In order to get the attention of the decision makers in your organisation, you need to ensure that they understand exactly how any change will be beneficial to the organisation. The benefits will be the motivating reason for approving any proposal. So you need to clearly state the arguments you have for the solution you are presenting. Discuss how likely the solution is in resolving the problem, talk about costs against benefits and try to convince management that the plan will be hugely beneficial to the organisation as a whole.
Description of the Proposed Work (Results of the Project)
A proposal should describe what it is that you are trying to get out of the project. That means describing the operational plan you propose to implement; its purpose; providing an outline of what will take place; and the resources that you will require to undertake the project as you state it. This is the basic background information.
Method, Procedure, Theory
In this section, you should examine and explain exactly how your proposed actions will work and if approved, how they will be implemented into the organisation. By discussing this, you are showing management that you fully understand what is required and have spent the time thinking through all the issues and how they will actually affect the organisation. This differs from what you outlined in the previous section because you are looking at the broader aspects to the plan, just not what it will involve.
Always be sure to include a detailed timeline for implementation. This should include a range of milestones that are implemented over the lifetime of the project. If your project will take a number of months to complete, you should show the dates by which each milestone needs to be reached. This will allow you to ensure that the project runs to time and that you have thought through the implementation process.
Costs, Resources Required
Management will be most interested in this section – it is where you lay out the costs of actually implementing your project. You will need to justify the cost of the project against the benefits – this may in fact be the factor that makes up the mind of the managers to implement a project. You will need to include the hourly rates of contractors, all of the equipment required, staff hours that will be used, and the like. This overall project cost will be the factor that has the most significance in the actual decision making process.
To conclude your proposal, you should look at bringing the reader of the proposal back into the benefits of implementing the proposal, rather than focusing on the costs and resources needed.
All good ideas need to have well written proposals if they are to be accepted. Often good ideas can be shot down simply because the benefits are not well expressed and the almighty dollar comes into play.
Organisation of Proposals
As for the organisation or arrangement of the content of a proposal, remember that it is essentially a sales, or promotional document. Here are the basic steps it goes through:
• Begin by stating the purpose and content of the document.
• Then look at the background – what problem it is trying to resolve, what opportunities it will bring or why exactly the proposal was needed.
• Once you have stated the problem, discuss what it is that you are proposing to do about it. How will what you propose make things better? What benefits will the project bring about?
• Describe what the end project will actually look like. How would it work and what would the end user or reader actually notice?
• Describe the methods that you would put in place to implement the end result.
• Give a schedule of events that are put in place to implement the changes.
• Provide a list of the costs and resources needed.
• End by summarising the document and put in a final “sales push” to ensure that the end user wants to make a positive decision.
As you can see, there is a logic to the way the proposal is actually structured. It is much like advertising – you begin by getting the reader’s attention. You raise their interest by stating the problem and how you will solve it. You create a desire by giving the benefits for the project and you try to create action by urging for a decision to be made.
• When developing an operational plan for your organisation, the key is to ensure that you collect, analyse and organise all required resource information in consultation with colleagues and specialist resource managers well before it is required to be implemented.
• The operational plans of an organisation contribute to the achievement of the organisation’s performance/business plan.
• Key performance indicators are developed within operational plans to ensure that the plan is working towards the organisation’s goals.