3 Fundamentals of Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness

3 Fundamentals of Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness

Jen Lawrence
Jen Lawrence

Operational Efficiency Expert. Creating ease through systems.

Achieving operational efficiency and effectiveness can be frustrating for new and veteran leaders alike. As business moves through environmental and resource changes, the strategy to manage workflows has to adjust as well.

First, it’s important to understand the difference between operational efficiency and effectiveness. This blog post can help you with that.

Next, adopt a framework that allows you to quickly evaluate your operational health and where the workflows are no longer working. The fundamentals of the PPT framework are ideal for all business sizes and models to achieve operational excellence.

The PPT Framework

One of the most popular theories for improving efficiency and effectiveness has been the People, Processes, and Technology (PPT) framework. PPT has been around since the early 1960s and has been applied across industries to maintain a balanced operational strategy.

For the PPT framework to be applied well, it needs to be treated like a three-legged stool. Too much emphasis on one area or neglecting another will unbalance the organization. Often, small businesses that are looking to grow and scale will hyperfocus on either people or technology and, in the end, struggle to rebalance themselves after their investment.

To ensure a strategy is executed with the overall operational health in mind, use the PPT framework as a guidepost. Here’s what each of the three fundamentals includes.

People

“People” is every person available to deliver goods, services, and operational support inside an organization. Ensuring your people are all contributing to your organization’s effectiveness, consider the following:

  • Are people being utilized well?
  • Are they the right people? (Culture and values fit)
  • Are they in the right role? (Role and skill alignment)
  • Do team members have clarity on their roles and responsibilities?
  • Is additional training needed to improve performance?
  • Are team members able to leverage their natural talents?
  • Is the team culture healthy?

Processes

“Processes” is how the work gets done and goals are achieved utilizing the resources available. Workflows often get broken because processes are not updated to reflect changes in People and Technology. Continue to improve your operational processes by considering the following:

  • How can the process be streamlined to minimize friction?
  • How can the process be streamlined to maximize client touch points?
  • Do team members understand how they fit into the process? 
  • Is the process well defined and documented?
  • Does the process have a measurement of success that is understood?
  • How can the process be improved with existing or new people or technology?

Technology

“Technology” refers to all the digital services used to support business functions, such as hardware, software, and apps. Often, technology gets out of alignment with operational goals due to redundancy, misuse, or missed opportunities for optimization. Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your technology by considering:

  • Are there multiple systems that do the same functions?
  • Are there systems that are not needed?
  • Is it clear how each software is intended to be used?
  • Are systems optimized and integrated to streamline work?
  • Have systems been audited for effectiveness in the past year?
  • Have the operational needs outgrown what current systems are capable of?

How to use the PPT Framework?

When seeking to improve or address sticky operations, first, ask yourself, “Is this a People, Process, or Technology issue?” This will help you narrow down to the root of where focused attention would be most effective. Then continually revisit the PPT framework as you build and change workflows to ensure you’re maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of all three fundamentals. 

As you work through your operations improvement, an external perspective may be helpful. As an Operations Consultant, I can help you identify areas of opportunity and assist you in developing a strategic and effective plan of attack. Learn more about my services here.

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