Looking to improve team performance in 2020? Workstream collaboration tools can help you meet your production goals.
As we enter 2020, now is the perfect time to formally outline performance goals for the year — while keeping 2019’s progress in mind. Modern organizations stay competitive by executing their vision effectively and efficiently, and performance goals help employees plan and organize their work with certain outcomes in mind. In most organizations, it is the task of the operations manager to establish performance goals and implement metrics and behaviors that help their team achieve them.
Performance goals can be divided into broad categories, each essential to successful operations. Regardless of whether your goals pertain to financial outcomes or to work culture, it is crucial that the strategies of individuals, teams, and the whole organization align with one another. Workstream collaboration is an emerging sector of the technology industry designed to help operational teams do just that.
To help operations managers assess their team performance and set goals for 2020, this article will take a closer look at common challenges to operational excellence — and examine how an effective workstream collaboration tool can make all the difference in achieving these three key performance goals:
1. Meeting Production Goals
For operations managers, meeting production goals is always a top priority. Across industries, production has a direct relationship with customer recruitment, retention, and sales — which means it is likely to be a priority for your business in 2020. Depending on your industry and the size of your company, these goals may pertain to increasing your output volume or improving the quality of your product or service. Because modern production involves juggling multiple locations, teams, and modes of communication, the best way to meet production goals is often to streamline processes for increased efficiency.
For instance, in manufacturing, delivering quality products on a strict timeline requires coordinating between supply chain partners, floor managers, and IT teams — each with distinct communication systems. Production processes can stall when siloed parties along the supply chain lack the tools to collaborate in real time. Additional costs can accrue if production teams lack visibility and don’t know if they will receive the necessary materials to assemble the product or when supply chains cannot rapidly respond to adjustments in demand.
IT teams tasked with supporting operational technology also have a critical role in production. If there are any unexpected technical problems with machinery, IT teams must be able to effectively communicate around, respond to, and resolve real-time issues. IT departments must also coordinate closely with production teams to schedule maintenance in a manner that minimizes costly downtime. Unscheduled shutdowns for equipment maintenance can set back the production schedule and result in unnecessary costs.
The right workstream collaboration tools can provide a centralized workspace for real-time communication with external supply teams and distributed operational teams. Workstream collaboration tools help internal teams coordinate with each other and with external vendors and partners. Workstream collaboration tools can:
- Include external vendors as “guests” and ensure their interoperability with internal workflow and reduce supply cycle times, enabling suppliers to easily share relevant information about shipments and availability.
- Generate custom workflows to suit various company processes and extend clear direction to even the most remote of teams.
- Centralize communication so that different teams do not have to make multiple phone calls or search through email chains.
- Streamline the coordination process in which IT teams schedule maintenance and accelerate the resolution of IT problems, keeping equipment operative for longer.
2. Managing Employee Oversight
Employees are at the heart of any operation, and managers must strive to strike the right balance between employee happiness and team productivity. Employees are more productive when they can competently execute their tasks, possess a clear understanding of their role, and feel invested in the organization’s objectives. To increase productivity and cultivate workplace satisfaction, operations managers should set goals in areas such as employee involvement, satisfaction, and growth.
While it is difficult to measure employee engagement, operations managers can set goals that improve communication and ensure employees have the tools they need. Team members often feel less engaged when they are left out of key communications, when they feel like their workplace lacks open communication channels, or when they struggle to connect their contributions to the big picture.
Adopting workstream collaboration tools can help boost employee productivity and satisfaction by:
- Providing one central communication workspace so that team members stay updated on important information.
- Centralizing file storage and allowing for customized permissions. This ensures that employees will not have to waste time hunting down the information they need and can quickly begin new projects or continue ongoing ones.
- Integrating individual and team metrics with organizational strategies.
- Facilitating skills acquisition by simplifying the onboarding process and directing new employees to all of the documents, applications, and communications they need.
- Setting up a clear and transparent feedback process, ensuring that employees have a channel to voice their ideas and concerns.
3. Improving Resource Management
Finally, operations managers determine how to allocate a company’s resources, including finances, equipment, and people. Setting goals for resource management involves reviewing a company’s financial performance and improving the inventory and delivery of products or services. Operations managers may outline goals about profit margins, eliminating waste in the supply chain, or having an adequately staffed team to carry out production goals.
In addition to offering real-time, contextual information on individual workplace initiatives, workstream collaboration tools can also help managers construct a “big picture” view of operations. Instead of piecing together operations from different teams, workstream collaboration enables operations managers to:
- Collaborate with other teams to undertake more comprehensive resource planning.
- Share a common operational picture with teams to easily identify and eliminate redundancies.
- Understand the location, status, and performance of high-use assets.
- Increase efficiency by creating a shared workspace for your team to easily share resources or coordinate with other teams.
The key to ensuring success is integrating your team goals with the long-term strategies of your organization. Ask yourself whether achieving your operational goals will contribute to the overall goals of the organization — and whether your team members’ individual roles are aligned with group success.
Whatever your goals are for 2020, workstream collaboration can help you make a more coordinated effort to achieve them. Instead of leaving team members to piece together ad hoc operational pictures from disconnected communications, implementing a workstream collaboration tool gets everyone on the same page working towards the same goals.