• 17.03.2023 15:30

    What is an Operational Review Meeting?

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    At the heart of every successful business is its operations. These operations manage the inner workings of the business so that it runs efficiently and is able to achieve its end goals profitably. In essence, business operations are all about the daily workings of the company. Typically, these consist of a broad range of activities undertaken by the different departments. Together, these activities have the power to make or break any enterprise. As a result, every business must focus on ensuring the efficiency, effectiveness, and economics of its operations by holding periodic operational review meetings.

    An operational review meeting is an in-depth analysis and objective review of the complete organization or its specific segment. Typically, these meetings are long and take place at pre-determined intervals, based on the occurrence of certain events or the reaching of milestones. Operational review meetings require intense preparation from middle management and subordinate team members.

    Members of an Operational Review Meeting

    There are several participants in an operational review meeting. Their number is not fixed and can vary. Nonetheless, the usual members in this meeting are managers, team leaders, and executives. Sometimes, complete teams are involved, as happens in the case of a specific process review. At other times, representatives of other teams might also be required to attend the meeting. Typically, this happens when the processes are interconnected.

    Purpose of Operational Reviews

    The purpose of an operational review meeting is to allow the management to see their company from a larger perspective. It presents an opportunity whereby the management can evaluate how well the assigned resources have been used to get the desired results operationally. Essentially speaking, it serves to:

    • Evaluate how well the members of the organization are performing within the set procedures.
    • Access proper utilization of resources (Resource smoothing) within the previously decided timeframes.
    • Measure the overall cost-effectiveness.
    • Provides a comprehensive assessment of authority so that roles and expectations are correctly defined and the people are accordingly empowered.

    AI Tools Can Make Operational Reviews Easy

    A well-known fact is that AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) are the future of business operations. All leading companies are already leveraging their power to become better and increase their revenue further. For example, they use IVR software tools or the Interactive Voice Response software to ease the burden of work on the customer service departments without any negative impact on the customer experience. Similarly, the eCommerce order management system allows companies to keep an eagle eye on the movement of stock. It ensures there is no overselling, replenishment orders are placed on time, easy inventory tracking, etc. 

    What AI and ML actually do is increase the speed with which operational data analysis happens. It guarantees easy sifting through vast amounts of data and its analysis within minutes to reach the core of the problem and address it. So data synthesis quality improves, and decision-making becomes easier and more precise, which spells better operational efficiency.

    Enterprise Cognitive Computing

    Enterprise Cognitive Computing, or ECC, is a blend of AI, ML, neural networks, and human communications or interactions. It studies patterns and provides actionable options for humans to act upon. A prime example of ECC is the IVR software tool, which guides the callers to the right answer or agent by presenting them with options. 

    The IVR software tools allow businesses to attend to more callers, answer their queries timely, lower costs, and collect data. This data, in turn, provides the basis for operational reviews later. The good thing about ECC is that it does not pose any threat to humans at work in terms of stealing their jobs. Instead, it empowers humans to do a better job by sharing their burden of working and helping them make informed decisions.

    In terms of operational reviews, an ECC is a mine of information. Tools like the IVR software not only save the data but also segregate it for proper analysis and presentation in the form of reports and dashboards. So when you go into an operational review meeting, you don’t have to scramble for any new information. It is all there at your fingertips.

    AI-Powered Multi-Dimensional Systems

    Businesses today are very complicated. They handle a variety of merchandise, which is often sourced through different locations. Some are made to order, and others are mass production. The processes designed to track sales, orders, inventory, fulfillment, etc., become hard to manage for each of them. Operational efficiency in these cases is usually lacking. Nevertheless, with the help of AI-powered multi-dimensional systems like the eCommerce order management system, you can now overcome all major obstacles.

    The eCommerce order management system (OMS) helps businesses keep track of stock levels across all warehouses, collects order data placed through different channels, and coordinates with third parties (in this case, the logistic providers) to get the product delivered to the customer timely. 

    Having an OMS means your operational reviews will no longer be a pain in the neck. They will be quick and not require the involvement of too many people.

    What Should Be Included in an Operational Review Meeting?

    Now that you understand what an operational review meeting is, its importance, and how different tools can make it a smooth ride, let us focus on what should be included. The purpose of the meeting is not only to study the effectiveness and cost efficiency of the different processes that make the business run. There is much more to it. The following things too should be covered:

    • Ensure that all processes comply with the business goals, policies, and procedures, along with any other applicable law as decided by the state.
    • Do an impartial assessment of the control systems the organization has in place.
    • Highlight the issues and their cause, and open the forum for remedial action.
    • Evaluate all company operations objectively and independently.
    • Set new standards if old ones are inappropriate or fail to match industry expectations.
    • Look for opportunities where costs can be cut and revenue increased. The idea is to eliminate wastage and not make the quality of the product or service inferior. 
    • Test the reliability of reports and other data that is used for operational reviews.

    Frequency Of Operational Review Meetings

    Depending on the outcome of the last meeting and the actions that arise from it, companies tend to hold an operational review meeting either monthly or quarterly. This allows time for data to build up, the analysis of which will show how successful the change has been in getting the desired result. 

    Furthermore, an unexpected event may occur, or an issue may arise, forcing a company to hold an operation review before it is due. There are no hard and fast rules; hence, it would be right to say that the frequency of the meeting depends on several factors, which may vary from organization to organization.

    Tips to Make Operational Review Meetings Effective

    Just because it is a meeting does not mean it will be effective. You have to work and prepare to make it so. These tips will ensure that yours fulfills all you set out to achieve.

    • Have a Clear Agenda

    The agenda of the review meeting should be clear to all participants beforehand so they can prepare accordingly. They will have to collect data and prepare reports/slides. Some may even require inputs from third parties, etc. Whatever the case, you must tell them what it is about, so they come ready with all the relevant information.

    • Invite Participation

    You must see to it that all members of the meeting are given a chance to voice their thoughts. Their opinions also count. Open participation leads to healthy discussions, which, in turn, results in better outcomes. 

    • Keep Discussions on Track

    It’s a meeting, and so discussions are bound to happen. You must ensure that these discussions don’t move into territories that are not a part of the meeting agenda. If it’s something important, make it a part of the next meeting. The more concentrated the efforts, the more productive and efficient the meeting.

    • Start Making the Next Meetings To-Do List 

    As the meeting moves forward, items will knock off the agenda or the to-do list. They get discussed or resolved, and the item is closed for now. But that does not mean the end of it. You still need to check on what remains and the progress that is made on the issues that were resolved. So you will need to start making a new to-do list for the next meeting from the present one.

    Closing Notes About Operational Review Meetings

    An operational review meeting is important and should not be taken lightly by any organization. It is the perfect place where the management gets to see the bigger picture and how different parts come together to build it. This cohesive approach is instrumental in fine-tuning processes and ensuring there is no waste of resources. It also points out areas that need more work to make the organization a better and more successful setup. In a nutshell, operational review meetings serve a strategic purpose that businesses can use to their advantage.

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