Start free trial »

Operations Techniques

View our library of operations management techniques

Backsourcing

Find out how bringing services back in-house can save money.

Balanced Scorecard

Get a rounded view of performance, not just the financial numbers

Benchmarking

Make your business the best it can be by looking at what else is out there

Better Outbound Marketing

Get your business noticed and generate sales revenue by actively promoting it

Budgeting Processes

Good budgeting can be the difference between losing money and increasing value by up to 149%

Bullwhip Effect in Supply Chain

Understand the dynamics in your supply chain to control costs

Business Innovation

Evolve your products and services to bring new opportunities for revenue and growth

Business Process Improvement

Your business costs can be streamlined and dramatically cheaper with the right process flow

Business Process Re-engineering

Radically rethinking how work gets done can dramatically improve performance

Buyer-Seller Improvement Teams

Work more closely with your suppliers and customers to deliver better mutual benefits

Capability Management

Build “signature processes” that boost the bottom line and make it hard for your competitors to copy your success.

Capacity Requirements Planning

Know what resources you need when and where - to ensure greater efficiency

Cash Flow Statement and Management

Discounts can be negotiated and margins increased by 5%-10% with effective invoicing and payment flow

Cash Management

Manage your cash flow effectively and efficiently

Category Management in Purchasing and Supply Management

Take a rigorous approach to getting the best value from your supplies spend

Centralisation / Decentralisation

Sales can increase 8% quickly by making the right centralise/decentralise decision

Centralised/Decentralised Procurement

Know how to get the best value from your procurement team and processes

Change Management

Change management can be hard; master the key success factors

Closed-Loop Supply Chain

There may be value in reusing the products your customers have finished with

Co-creation

Don't just think you know what your customers want - start generating higher profits by working together with customers on products and services

Co-sourcing

Savings of 30% could be on offer with the right co-sourcing decision

Coase Theorem

Understand how to reach efficient outcomes when disputes arise that could disrupt your business operations and profits

Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment

Reduce lead times by 18% by working collaboratively with your trading partners

Collaborative Relationships in Procurement

Know when to work in a collaborative, or adversarial, relationship with your suppliers

Commissioning

Commodity Strategies

Secure, and get the best price, for your key supplies

Competitive Intelligence

Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer? Keep one step ahead by knowing what your competitors are doing

Continuous Improvement

If you are not doing things better your competition will be. You can lose at least 20% sales if you do not keep offering more to your customers

Contract Management

In an ongoing relationship, the most of the value comes after the deal

Cooperation and Mutuality in Procurement and Supply Chain

Reduce your supply chain costs by working cooperatively with your suppliers

Coopetition

Smart companies work together to save money on some shared costs - but still stay fiercely competitive in other areas.

Corporate Social Responsibility

A very effective way to make your business stand out from competitors

Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis

Assess your fixed and variable costs to know what sales you really need to break even

Countertrade

Crisis Management

Before catastrophe strikes, know your Business Continuity Plan

Critical Path Analysis

Turn your new ideas into revenue with good project management

Cross-Docking

Improve the efficiency of your logistics with cross docking

Cross-Functional Supply Management

Improve your responsiveness to customers by joining up your internal teams

Cross-Training

Make sure your organisation is robust by broadening the skills of your people

Database Systems and Management

Manage your databases to get deeper insights into your staff and customers.

Delivering Policy Through Procurement

You can use your purchasing budget to achieve bigger objectives than cost cutting

Delphi Forecasting Method

In complex situations, Delphi can help you analyse the options

Demand Management

Understand, respond to and manage customer demand to grow sales and margin

Demand Management in Public Procurement

Demand management is driving new cost-reduction agendas - learn how to deliver real value.

Demand-Driven Supply Chain

Setting up a demand driven supply chain can result in 35% shorter cash-to-cash cycle times than typical companies

Division of Labour

Speed up production; get your products to market quicker.

Double-Loop Learning

Learn from mistakes, and learn to adapt and anticipate change, with double loop learning

Due Diligence

Know what you are really buying or selling, and with who, with due diligence

e-Auctions

e-Auctions can deliver savings of 10%+, but are not without risk

e-Business

Your business could generate many mutliples more revenue by maximising your online capabalities

e-Commerce

It is essential that your online presence reflects your business well. Do it right

e-Sourcing

e-sourcing can deliver major savings, but must be embedded into your overall strategy

Early Supplier Involvement

Working closely with suppliers when you are developing a new product can bring fresh innovations into the design and smoother roll out later

Economic Cost

All decisions have an opportunity cost

Economic Order Quantity

Order the right amount of goods and services to optimise costs and profits

Economic Production Quantity

Optimise your profitability by only stocking and making what you really need

Economic Value Added

EVA gives you an investor's view of the profit and value in your business

Economies of Scale and Scope

Operate at the right size and in the right ways to achieve the best value for money

Emergent Change

Planned or not, change will happen in, and outside your organisation - understand this to stay on track

Empowering Employees

Your staff will work harder and be more loyal if they feel trusted and able to make some of their own decisions

Enterprise Resource Planning

Save time and money using ERP - take the next step to better business performance.

Ethical Purchasing/Ethical Procurement

Ethical business can support the long term value of your brand

Exit Strategies

Before you get in to a contract, know how you will get out when the time comes

Flat / Horizontal Organisation

Reducing the number of managers even in a small company can have a positive effect on business performance and results

Forward Integration

As your business grows it could have a long term profit impact to acquire other functions/companies associated with delivering your products or services

Franchising

Around 92% of all UK franchisees reported profitability over the last 12 months - generate additional revenue using proven business formats

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Build public trust by handling information requests professionally.

Future Supply Chains

Being future proof is key to long term business success. Understand what your supply chain might look like and be prepared for the changes

Global Procurement

Some of your materials may come from abroad, if so it is important to understand how best to manage this process

Green Logistics

Lower your business costs whilst being environmentally friendly

Group Dynamics

Understand how people interact and how to get the most from your staff and teams

Group Norms

Build better teams to drive profits and success.

Group Purchasing Organisations

It costs less to buy in bulk. Can your business make substantial cost savings and improve bottom line performance?

Horizontal vs. Vertical Integration

Understand where there might be opportunities for your business to collaborate - it could be in similar or different areas

Human Resources Information Systems

Your people are your most important assets, make managing them more effortless.

Improving Product Differentiation

Being different is essential to fulfil the sales potential of your business. Be sure to understand and exploit it

Information Database Marketing

Marketing your business to the right people is key in generating sales and revenue

Information Management

Be sure your business decisions are based on the right information

Innovation Diamond

Innovative companies generate more revenue, break new ground in the market, and have more satisfied, loyal customers.

Innovation in Public Procurement

The Government is increasingly looking to include smaller firms in public sector contracts. Understand how this is happening so your business can benefit

Innovation Management

Innovate or die. You need to keep generating new ideas and value in your business to stay ahead. Understand how to make sure it happens and manage it

Insourcing

As your business grows it might be better to hire and retain key staff and competencies than buy from outside your company

Intellectual Property Management

Protecting your big ideas is critical to success. Companies like IBM make up to 3,300% more by managing their Intellectual Property well

Internal Strategic Integration

When all business functions are aligned to the overall strategy the collective results are likely to improve

Just-In-Time

How to manage stock and inventory levels at the absolute minimum to keep working capital free

Kaizen

A way to drive co-operation, commitment and improvement in your business at every level. Ultimately helps your business to stay ahead

Knowledge Capital

Knowledge and intellectual capital are assets that need to be recognised in most businesses these days. Be sure to know what they are and how to protect them

Kraljic Matrix

One of the dominant strategic tools guiding purchasing activities in organisations

Lean Manufacturing / Production

Eliminating waste from your organisation can impact on your costs dramatically

Lean Supply Chain

Keep as much excess out of your supply chain as you can - your business will be more efficient and cost effective

Lifecycle System Approach

Being able to manage your products and services over their lifecycle is key for your business success

Lifetime Customer Value Analysis

The most successful businesses such as Google use this technique to make more money, more often and for longer

Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Improve logistics – help your organisation better utilise production capacity.

Long Tail

Similar to Pareto's 80/20 - approximately 80% spend will be covered by 20% of the suppliers and conversely 20% of the spend will be comprised of a long tail of suppliers - 80%. Whether you are a buyer or supplier you need to know how to manage this

Loosely-Coupled vs. Tightly-Coupled Supply Chain

Collaborating in a supply chain can create a competitive advantage through sharing information, making joint decisions, and sharing benefits

Maintenance, Repair and Operating Supplies

Improve your position in terms of MRO procurement - reduce costs and increase efficiency.

Management By Walking Around

If you wait for people to come to you, you’ll only get small problems. The big problems are where people don’t realise they have one in the first place

Managing Global Virtual Teams

Smaller firms can work virtually too - follow these guidelines for optimal productivity

Managing Open Innovation

Sometimes new ideas can come from outside of your business. Managing this can be a challenge yet offer huge potential

Marketing Services Procurement

Using a specialist marketer could be a quick route to raising awareness of your business

Mass Customisation

Raise the bar for your customers by giving them unique product and service experiences.

Mass Production

Radically improve your efficiency and bring products to market even faster.

Material Requirements Planning

If your business is producing goods this is a must-know technique

Matrix Management

The world's best companies work seamlessly across departments, learn how to make your management the best it can be.

Multidivisional Organisational Structure

New Product Development

Know when and how to develop new products to add to your portfolio and drive up revenue

Nominal Group Technique

Involve your people in making decisions for the business and they will work with you to help your business achieve its full potential

Operations Management

Balance costs with revenue to achieve the highest net operating profit possible.

Operations Strategy Matrix

Make sure your strategic decisions about how your operations are going to work are the right ones based on sound principles

Optimised Production Technology

If you can minimise and production bottlenecks you will be able to maximise the profitability of your business

Organisational Behaviour Modification

This technique can be used to motivate and encourage employees to help your business achieve its potential

Organisational Cybernetics

Outsourcing

Dramatically cut costs and increase efficiency and learn how to outsource effectively, safely and profitably.

Paradigm and Paradigm Shifting

Pareto Analysis

20 per cent of the efforts of your business generate 80 per cent of the returns according to this principle

Positive Risk Management

Take a positive approach to risk management and learn how to realise unexpected benefits and opportunities for your business.

Power

Understand how the balance of power can work in your favour and when to be aware that it might not and help your business to rise above

Procurement Transformation

Re-think the way your business buys - the cost savings could be significant

Public Goods

Work with government and build important, high-quality relationships.

Purchase to Pay Process

The quicker your purchasing function is, the more time there is available for looking at growth and profitability

Purchasing Cards

Purchasing cards can be useful to consider in order to reduce the amount of time spent on paperwork and allow more time to focus on growing your business

Purchasing Consortium/Consortia

Consider purchasing consortium – increase buying power and ability to achieve low prices.

Purchasing Strategies

Have a clear plan for what you need to buy to make sure costs stay low and profitability is maximised

Purchasing Structures/Models

Make sure the buying for your business works in the right way and keeps your costs down

Qualitative and Quantitative Modelling

Learn the best way to model to make your next project a real success - don't leave profits to chance

Quality Management

Buy cheap, buy twice. Garbage in, garbage out. Make sure your business is a quality business

Queuing Theory

If your business involves service systems, maintenance, or shop floor activities, understanding this principle could increase your profitability

Relationship Models

Work with other businesses and people to maximise value in both your business and collaboratively

Research and Development

Find new ideas, and only launch new products that are right for your business and market

Resource-Based Strategy

Make use of what your business already has to either grow into new markets or increase profit in existing ones

Reverse Engineering

Sometimes starting from the end and working backwards can bring the best business results. However there are risks that need to be considered

Reverse Supply Chain / Reverse Logistics

Your business can often re-use materials and processes produced in the supply chain. Doing this well can lead to large cost savings and increased profitability

Risk Management in Purchasing and Supply Management

Be fully aware of any risks in your supply chain at all times as it could affect your business's ability to sell your products or services

Sales Intelligence Solution and Sales Force Automation

Understand how best to manage your sales opportunities and maximise revenue

Sales Process and Sales Cycle

Every business sells in different ways and length of time. Make it as clear and short as possible to maximise revenue

Satisficing

On occasions the ultimate best outcome is not possible, but it will still work in favour of your business

Scenario Planning

Prepare for different futures to be well best placed to capitalise

Scientific Management

Your business might benefit from understanding whether a more rigid approach to division of work will bring better results

Scientific Retailing

Leading companies secure repeat customers by using scientific retailing techniques - learn how and start growing your sales and profit today

Sensitivity Analysis

Before committing any cash identify the areas that might slip or outperform so your business is fully prepared.

Shared Services in Procurement and Supply Chain Management

As your business grows, sharing some of the different buying functions could bring substantial savings

Shutdown Point

Avoid costly production shutdowns - keep your business going, keep your business growing.

Simulation

Before you go headlong into a new idea simulating the possible outcomes can help you to be more prepared for what might happen

Six Sigma

Understand how to match what your business is producing to your customers' needs

Skunkworks

If you have a new idea for your business it can often be made to happen quicker if you set up a team that is "out of the business"

Social Network Analysis

Social Networking can be a powerful source of new ideas that can open up opportunities for businesses everywhere

Sourcing

Companies that source materials and components well can make huge cost savings - Volkswagen increased operating profit by 50% by changing the way they did it

Spend Analysis

Spending money is easy - know where your business expenses are and get the right price

Split Sourcing

Don't become dependent on just one supplier - source goods and services more strategically and drive down costs.

Strategic Alignment

Learn how to outperform the competition by matching your strategy and resources.

Strategic Business Units

If your business has different product or service lines you could make more money by treating them as separate business units which need their own strategic direction

Strategic Procurement

Make sure you are buying the things that fit with your strategy and not just buying as you need. This approach can save your business huge unnecessary costs

Strategy Map

Strategy maps are essential roadmaps to achieving growth and profits and to understand all your options and get ahead.

Successful Project Management

Running your business well involves many simultaneous projects - manage them effectively and ensure your business succeeds

Supplier Evaluation

Make sure you know how your suppliers are performing - it is critical to your business and will help show cost saving opportunities

Supplier Incentivisation

If your suppliers are aligned with your business's aims they are going to work as hard as you to deliver. Working together with them will bring business results

Supplier Performance Management

Are your suppliers helping or hindering your business? Making critical decisions can hinge on knowing which supplier to go to when you need something urgently

Supplier Relationship Management

Having good relationships with your suppliers is key - it can get you that contract that needs a quick turnaround if your suppliers like working with you

Supplier Segmentation

If you group your suppliers properly you will understand where the majority of your costs are going. Then you can work on reducing them and increase profit margin immediately.

Supplier Selection

Choosing the right supplier could be the difference between success and failure of your business as outside purchases are typically 40%-60% of the final cost. Firms like MacLaren look for their suppliers to contribute up to 80% of the end value

Supply Base Management

How many suppliers does your business have? Could you strike better deals by having less? Understand this technique and you could be making cost savings immediately

Supply Chain Complexity

Reducing complexity will often unleash high performance. If your supply chain is becoming a barrier to performance, understand what you need to do to make it simpler to manage

Supply Chain Finance

Unlock the power of your invoices and release cash to help you grow

Supply Chain Integration

Speaking to all of your suppliers regularly may open up collaboration opportunities which can save you money and maybe even open up new money making ventures

Supply Chain Management

It is business critical to manage your supply chain well. Cutting costs raises profit immediately

Supply Chain Network Design

If your business has many suppliers it is crucial to understand their inter-reliance and the timing impact so you can manage it

Supply Chain Operations Reference Model

How does your business measure up against some of the larger firms out there in terms of managing suppliers?

Supply Chain Performance Measures

Improve supply chain performance – chose the right indicators and make sure it is properly measured.

Supply Chain Risk Management

Is you business reliant on 1 or 2 suppliers? Do you have a back up plan in case any of them don't deliver their end of the bargain?

Supply Chain Security Management

DO you know all of your suppliers, and how secure are your processes? This is your business's money being spent after all

Supply Chain Visibility

Don't just think you know where money is being spent, KNOW you know

Sustainable Procurement

As your business grows, understand how to make your buying practices sustainable

Sustainable Supply Chain

Systems Thinking

Train your managers and employees in systems thinking - help them see the bigger picture to really drive results and profitability.

Tactical vs. Strategic Purchasing

Do you have a clear plan for what your business is buying and why? If you do this right you could save 20% or more on spend

Theory of Constraints

Uncover the weakest links in your production processes - make more profit by being more efficient

Third-Party Marketplaces

There might be a cheaper way to find your components or mass-sell your products via market places. Understand how they work

Time Series Models

Business success depends on making more accurate forecasts - stay ahead of the curve with time series modelling

Time to Market

If you are too slow to market you could lose 33% profitability. Understand the steps involved and get it right to maximise profit

Total Cost of Ownership

The total cost of your goods or services are more than just the production costs. Make sure you understand this before setting your price and you could see profitability soar

Total Quality Management

Deliver the best quality you can and your business can succeed

Traditional / Open Loop / Forward Supply Chain

Have a solid understanding of the steps involved in the supply chain and work out which is best for your business

Transformational Leadership

what are the characteristics of people who drive businesses to the next level?

Triple Bottom Line

As your business grows, understand the measures that large organisations are judged on

Types of Innovations

Increase your profits by entering new markets, developing new products and overhauling your business processes.

Value Analysis

Get to grips with what really drives the cost and value in your product or service

Value Chain

Know which areas of your business will set you apart from your competition and use it to sell to get ahead

Value Chain Management

Being able to manage the value chain well will help deliver bottom line performance

Value-Added Network

You could save valuable time and money by using a VAN for much of your supplier related documentation

Vendor / Supplier Rating

Even with relatively few suppliers it is important to know how they rank so you can look at getting discounts for the ones you use the most

Vendor Managed Inventory

A possible way to free up your time from stock management to be able to focus on growing your business

Virtual Integration

Use technology to bind together a dispersed network of suppliers- facilitate significant growth in information exchange.

Virtual Organisations

How to manage your staff if they are on the road or working from home

Warehouse Management Systems

Getting the right system for your business could save substantial costs and improve your bottom line.

Warehousing and Inventory Management

Make sure you are carrying only the right amount of stock and free up working capital.