Planning means factoring in all aspects of what needs to happen in the future in order to ensure that it all gets done in the time available. In a business environment we use operational plans to ensure that targets are met within given timeframes and to satisfactory quality standard. There are three types of plan used at different levels within an organisation: Strategic plan
The strategic plan is developed for long-term planning and covers a period of about five years. The strategic plan specifies the missions and goals of the organisation including decisions on how resources, both capital and human, will be allocated to meet organisational goals. A business plan sits between the highest-level plan (the strategic plan) and the operational plan. A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals and objectives that are to be achieved to meet the strategic objectives of the organisation. The business plan includes the reasons why the goals and objectives are believed to be attainable, the plan for reaching those goals inclusive of relevant information about the organisation. An operational plan focuses on the short-term objectives, what needs to be accomplished in the near future in order that the company can progress towards achieving its strategic objectives. Operational plans generally have a focus of less than one year and are quite detailed in terms of what needs to be implemented and how. Operational planning within The Iconic (2)
A short term goal for The Iconic is consolidating all single units out of the mezzanine location, mezzanine locations are only us for replenish items or bulk location. Items that is too big in size to fit into small locations boxes goes into the mezzanine. Bulk items are to go into mezzanine locations as well, items with 60 plus quantity. 20 will go into small locations boxes and 40 will go into the mezzanine. Then replenishment is done every morning at the start of the shift. Components of operational plan (3)
By forecasting the future we can make plans to ensure that the steps are in place to achieve targets and goals. The future is forecasted using many sources and types of information to make informed predictions of what may happen. This means that we are prepared and on track to succeed because we have taken into account what may happen and we already know what we are going to do in order to make it succeed. A plan can also be useful if things go wrong. The original plan can be used to find out exactly where things went wrong and what will be affected. Then a new plan can be devised based on this information or the old plan can be updated. However, when something goes wrong, and there was no plan to begin with, it is very hard to make an assessment of what went wrong and what the best way forward is.
Operational plans are based on:
Operational plans are used to:
Identify the resources required
Identify risk factors
Make contingency plans
Budgets are a method of planning and controlling. If you receive and spend money then you use a budget. Whether it is written formally in an excel spreadsheet, scribbled on the back of an envelope or held in your head, it is still a budget. A budget comes into play when you see something that you want to purchase (a new wide screen TV) and check the cost against the money that you have available to you. You may have the money right now, but you must take into account that your phone bill and electricity bill are due next week. This form of thinking ahead is called budgeting. However, some of us are better at budgeting than others!
It seems that most things these days revolve around money. Budgets are so widely used because they are applicable in so many areas, including the business environment. The idea of business is to spend as little money as possible while creating as much profit as possible. A manager’s success can be judged on the numbers he uses in his budget. A budget is a numerical plan used for:
Keeping track of revenue vs. expenditure
New clients and sales vs. capital expenditure
Advertising vs. salaries
Using time efficiently
Using space efficiently
Forecasts are predictions of future outcomes. Environmental scanning helps to form some of these predictions. Predictions are primarily sought in areas that will have the biggest impact on successful business. These areas tend to be future revenues and future technological breakthroughs.
Prediction of future revenue is important because the amount of money you will receive in the future will have a huge impact on what activities you can conduct in the present. For example, if you believe that the company is going to gain a huge new client you may employ extra staff and buy more raw materials in order to meet the needs of the new client. However, if the deal falls through you are left with staff that have little to do and raw materials that you have no means of pay for, and that are currently taking up space. This leads to gross inefficiencies. The prediction of future technological breakthroughs and advances can lead to current products and services becoming obsolete or at the very least decreasing the demand for them. If you were not aware of the possibility of this you may spend time and money producing at a high level and then find that there is no demand for the finished product. The knowledge of looming improvements to existing products or the development of new products gives you time to plan for the change. Environmental Scanning (6)
Another source of information used in operational plans is environmental scanning. It involves researching and getting out there and experiencing the environment in which you work in, in order to find out needs, wants, developments, changes, prices and competitors. An area of environmental scanning that is becoming increasingly popular is competitor intelligence. This involves collecting information about who your competitors are, what they are doing, and how competitor activities will affect current projects running within your company. A lot of this information is available publicly from advertisements, promotions, newspaper reports, annual reports, and situation vacant advertisements and by purchasing competitor products and service; it is just a matter of paying attention to the information.
Environmental scanning is used to anticipate and interpret changes in an environment and ensure that preparations are made for such eventualities. Scenarios are developed with “If – Then” plans. For example, The Iconic started to stock up on a new line of clothing and you are launching the new fashion line in May. However, your environmental scanning has informed you that a competitor has also stocked up the same fashion line as you. You need to create scenarios and plan what you would do in each situation. If the competitor launches their fashion line to your planned launch you may want to alter your marketing strategy. Marketing should start to work on a new plan now, in case such an eventuality occurs. Or, you may decide to enter into discussions with the production department to speed up production and delivery of the product to customers so that you can bring the product launch date forward. The intention of environmental scanning is not to predict the future but to reduce the uncertainty of success by planning for the effect of changes in the environment. Key Performance Indicators (7)
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) measure the performance of activities that are critical to the success of an organisation. They are an excellent measure of the contribution of a team or an individual to the organisation. The purpose of a Key Performance Indicator is to provide an objective performance measure in a key activity. This enables organisations to set and communicate their performance targets, and to measure whether or not they are being achieved. Areas of improvement are identified and highlighted making way for changes to be implemented that lead to measurable performance improvements. KPI’s will differ depending on the nature and objective of the organisation. They will also differ depending on the focus, values and culture of the organisation. Therefore it is important to take care when selecting the KPI’s of your team or organisation and ensure that they represent the business.
Examples of KPI’s:
Timely delivery to client
It is important not to have too many KPI’s or the impact and importance of them is reduced. Once you have selected the KPI’s that represent the goals of your team you need to determine how they will be measured. This is very important as it impacts on the validity of the entire exercise.
Acquire Resources (8)
Employees are recruited and/or inducted within the organisation’s human resource management policies and procedures. In order to change a raw material into a product and then provide a sales service, people are needed. Employees are vital to this profit making process. However, you need to ensure that you have the right people doing the right job for the right pay to ensure that your business runs profitably. Before ever deciding to hire a person, or replace an employee, you need to document what you expect that individual to do for the pay that they receive. You need to set out the individual tasks and/or projects that need to be completed in order to achieve the team goal. Then you need to document how you intend to measure the individual’s progress towards the goals.
The remuneration can be based on a number of factors, primarily budget and market averages. If you would like an employee to continue employment with your company you need to ensure that the salary that they are receiving is market norm or just above. In order to assess a candidate’s skills you can ask them technical questions based on the position description that was created when justifying the role. It is important that the person conducting the interview has a clear idea of the level and degree of skill required to carry out the role. The questions should be prepared prior to the interview. Examples of The Iconic set of skills needed
Pick at a kpi standard
Pack at a kpi standard
Put away skills
Induction is a new staff member’s lifeline. Induction is a learning program that ensures that the new staff member has all the information necessary to perform in their new role. This is a lot of information so it needs to be given at the right speed, to optimise understanding, over the following months. An induction program usually runs throughout the duration of the new employees’ probation period (3 months). As part of the induction new staff members can be assigned to a ‘Buddy’. The buddy is someone who currently performs a similar role to the one that the new employee will be performing, or someone who was previously in the role or a senior person who has knowledge of the role. The buddy system works by ensuring that the new employee is not left floundering and that they always have a point of contact that is knowledgeable enough to help them or find help for them. Monitor Operational Performance (9)
Performance systems and processes are monitored to assess progress in achieving profit/productivity plans and targets It is important to know your progress towards our goals on a frequent basis so that adjustments and improvements can be made quickly with least disruption to the achievement of targets. For this purpose you need to be able to monitor a number of aspects of the business. What you monitor will depend on the type of business that you conduct. Monitoring gives you knowledge and control over the activities that are undertaken to produce the product or service. The four key areas for monitoring are:
Capital asset resources
Monitoring budgetary expenditure will indicate to you the activities that are being conducted, or not being conducted, as the case may be. It is important to ask questions about budgetary expenditure and ensure that your records are up to date and reflective of current activities.
When materials were bought and when they were used will indicate to you what work has been carried out at what speed and what the next steps need to be.
The activities, quality and speed at which each individual performs will have significant impact on the progress towards achieving your goals. It is important to monitor and have knowledge of this, as it will impact on your planning and deadlines. Don’t forget to allow for annual and sick leave in your plans.
Capital Asset Resources
Equipment, transport, machinery and resources that were purchased in the past were purchased on the basis on a cost analysis that took into account their usage. If presently the equipment is left idle or is being under used then this is costing the organisation money and it affecting your performance.
Now that you know what to monitor it is a case of how to monitor. This can be done via observation and documentation, by calculations and graphs, by reports and memos. Monitor and review operational performance (10)
If, as a manager, you feel that there is an individual within your team who is not achieving the objectives and goals that have been set out and explained, then you owe it to the rest of your team to deal with the situation. Under-performers who are left unchecked lead to a decrease in staff morale. This occurs because staff feel that if under performance is not noticed than neither is their contribution and they begin to wonder why they bother. It is in this instance that the importance of a job description and performance objectives come into play. It is vital that each position has clear and measurable objectives to reach in order to contribute to team goals and successes. These descriptions and measurements ensure that each employee knows what is expected of him/her. In the instance of an under performer the area that is flagging can be easily identified and pointed out to the individual. This is an element of the performance management process. An under performer may be identified during this process or at another time of the year. The performance management process to follow for an under performer is as follows:
Meet with the employee concerned.
Outline your specific concerns using specific examples.
Refer to the performance objectives that had been previously agreed upon. Ask if there are any reasons for non-achievement or what the obstacles to achieving are. Discuss obstacles and outline what will be done about them (remove if possible or give the employee the tools (knowledge) to deal with them) Supply training, if necessary
Set targets to be achieved within one month. Gain agreement on the fairness of these targets Explain that if the targets are not met there will be serious consequences Ensure that all meeting and performance management procedures are well documented in the case of ensuing legalities. The performance management of one employee may lead to the discovery of a need for training for all employees. Or it may lead to the understanding of a personal situation. TOWs analysis on The Iconic (11)
Environment – No company can prevent environmental factors from affecting their business. Natural disasters can affect sales or production due to their effect on the economy. Economic Cycle – This is a huge threat to any company including The Iconic, the economic cycle keeps changing which is out of The Iconic control. This affects them because factors changing such as recession can be a real threat due to the low level of employment, which will encourage customers to choose cheaper competitors. Competitors – Like any online retailer they have many competitors. They have competitors in the same sector as them, such as ASOS, Brands Exclusive, Amazon and EBay. They also have competition with cheaper retailers who sell non-branded ‘copies’ of the product that we have at The Iconic. Opportunities
Technology – New developments in technology mean a lot of new opportunities for The Iconic. Technology can aid sales and marketing, such as apps and websites. It can also help with developing production. Emerging Markets – New markets mean The Iconic will be able to expand as a business and increase sales and brand awareness. Demographic – Generally The Iconic are aimed at all ages group. Weaknesses
Narrow Market – A narrow market limits the sales. Whilst they have a large target audience, if consumers do not like their style of main of clothing that the iconic stock up they are limited to what else they can purchase. Production/Ethics – If a company does not have good ethics they made face criticism or law suits. These may affect their reputation or could be costly. Price – The Iconic are relatively pricey for a particular style of fashion they are and the way they are made, because the customer is paying for the brand. This may be a weakness as competitors may create non-branded versions which are much cheaper. They are also more expensive than some of their main competitors such as ASOS. Strengths
Sustainability – Nowadays it is better for a company to be sustainable. To create a good image for the company and attract different kinds of customers that may buy “sustainable only products”. Iconic Brand – Because of The Iconic private label fashion, it is an increasingly iconic brand, meaning they are well known and have a dedicated following. Partnership – The Iconic has sign up with a few major brands such as Nike, Adidas, Hugo Boss and Ran-Ban. These partnerships will give them more credibility and more financial security. Summary (12)
The first step in managing operational plans is to plan the process. Appropriate research and analysis needs to be undertaken to gain an understanding of the organisational area for which you are responsible. It is important to consult with colleagues, relevant personnel and subject matter specialists from within and outside the organisation when developing any plans. In developing the operational plan, further consultation and communication with stakeholders is required. Operational plans should be presented as professional reports and supported with appropriate information. Operational plans should be drafted, approved and signed off before being communicated to all stakeholders and relevant parties.