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Operations management software makes all the difference in the world to organizations in all of their recurring processes. They save time, money, resources, and headaches for all team members by streamlining operations.
But selecting the right one for your organization can be a challenge. How do you know what features to look for? How do you compare the different software? Well, lucky for you, we are experts in all things operations and have plenty of advice and recommendations to share.
Let’s cut through all the BS and hop right to it!
To define operations management software, we must first understand what operations management is. Operations management is the administration of day-to-day business practices that turns labor and materials into goods and services. It’s used to make sure operations run smoothly and with the highest possible efficiency. By doing so, organizations increase their profits, productivity, and team happiness.
Operations management software is a digital tool that takes a lot of work out of everyday processes by automating, tracking, and analyzing all aspects of the organization. It’s useful for every type of organization, from the largest enterprises to the smallest businesses because of how it streamlines productivity across departments.
The great thing about operations management software is that it can be used across all departments, and it can even help to facilitate inter-departmental collaboration.
There are tons of operations management software out there, and choosing one can be a daunting task because they all offer something different. To help cut through all the noise, here are five of our favorite operations management tools.
For team collaboration, the best tool is Process Street.
This software gives you the ability to invite anyone to collaborate on a workflow, whether they work in-house or not. It keeps each step of every process you use organized. Using integrations with third-party apps such as Zapier, Salesforce, and Slack to automate the workflow, Process Street keeps everything in one place. Integrations like that really help to streamline operations and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Monday is the most versatile software for project management.
Monday.com utilizes very user-friendly timelines and calendars to structure tasks, giving users a clear picture of when things should be completed. You can also change the view to see the project tasks laid out in a Kanban or Gantt chart. Monday gives project managers a lot of flexibility in their methodologies.
Asana is the best budget operations management software for small businesses.
If you have a team of 15 or fewer, Asana is a great option. Its free plan is much richer in features than other software, and it offers unlimited projects and file storage for small teams. If your operations and projects are basic, you will never need to upgrade to a paid plan. You can even use automation on the free plan!
Trello is excellent for remote project management.
In my previous job as a remote project manager, I used Trello to manage multiple projects at once to great success. It’s a great way to collaborate and have all the steps of the project clearly laid out and defined. You can see what your colleagues have done, or are currently working on in real-time, making it easier to know the status of your project without having to wait for replies from someone in another time zone.
Self-described as the “all-in-one toolkit” for managing operations, Basecamp is the best operations management software for communication. Projects and workflows have message boards and group chats so users can talk to each other. Additionally, it features team schedules so everyone can see what the others have on their schedules and when their deadlines are.
There are a ton of significant benefits to using operations management software. Honestly, I could talk about it all day, but I don’t want to bore you. So I narrowed it down to the top four benefits.
This might seem counter-intuitive because operations management software costs money, but you really need to see it as an investment. When implemented and used properly, operations management software saves your team lots of time on tedious and repetitive tasks. That free time can be used for working on other things that help to grow and scale the business.
Over time, this will lead to great financial savings and even increased profits.
Operations management software often comes with data-tracking features. These features are extremely useful when it comes to decision-making because it eliminates human error in data reporting. Without errors in data, managers can make better decisions about sales strategies, onboarding techniques, and pretty much anything else.
This, again, saves organizations time and money because they won’t be making as many mistakes in their day-to-day operations and overall business decisions.
This ties in with what I’ve already mentioned, but let’s drive the point home. Taking tedious tasks off of your team’s to-do list opens up a lot of time for them to be able to put their focus somewhere else. They can really use their talents to help drive the business forward. It can lead to things like:
Come on, who wouldn’t want that for their business?
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, operations management software improves both employee and customer satisfaction.
For employees, having smoother, more streamlined operations that make their jobs easier and remove tedious tasks they hate is a major plus. Effectively using operations management software can significantly reduce employee churn.
Just make sure you listen to any feedback your team has, especially in the early days. If the software is poorly implemented because of poor training and education, then it can have the opposite effect.
Customers become happier when their questions are answered and problems addressed in a more timely manner. Because the customer service team has more time on their hands because of the fancy new software, they have more time to dedicate to helping customers.
Their satisfaction also increases when the product they have been on the waiting list for comes back in stock sooner than expected. All thanks to the increased output made possible by the operations management software. Hello, repeat customers!
Now knowing all the exciting benefits operations management software can bring your organization, you must be pretty excited to purchase one! But before you do, I want to share with you the top features you should be looking for. Read through this section to decide which ones you should prioritize for your company.
Security should never, ever be compromised, both for the safety of your organization and your customers. Operations management software with strong security measures should be at the top of your list of the most important features to have.
For proper security accreditation, look for third-party audits like SOC 2 Type II to ensure the vendor is correctly handling and protecting data.
There are operations management software that is able to help you with your company’s projects as well as your recurring processes. If that’s what you need, look for software that includes:
Good project management tools will work with both Agile and Scrum, so you don’t have to worry about making sure the tool is compatible with your project management methodology.
A major plus in operations management software for businesses that create physical products is the ability to track inventory. Because it helps to keep track of all inventory in stock, it reduces supply chain problems and shipping errors, both of which can be costly problems for a business.
Being able to schedule actions in a workflow is a huge advantage. Scheduling features in operations management software allow you to:
It’s an excellent way to keep operations organized and on time.
Good operations management software should capture and store data. From the analytics and reporting, you’ll be able to see things like:
Good analytics and real-time reporting capabilities are essential for gaining the most value possible out of the software.
Integrations are amazing. They allow you to use multiple programs in one workflow, which means you get to keep everything in one place. It’s an organizational dream! Some examples of integrations that can be used in an operation tool include:
If the tool uses integrations like these ones, you’ll be able to automate them. When someone completes a task, another person may receive a notification on Slack or data could be sent to Salesforce.
This feature is an absolute must, particularly for security compliance. It gives you the ability to make something editable, read-only, or completely hidden as needed.
On top of that, you can make only certain sections of a workflow available to one specific person or even a whole team without having to enter them all in manually.
Whatever important features you have on your list, make sure role-based user access is one of them. It can’t be skipped.
Salesforce is one of the largest CRMs in the world, and it uses Process Street for:
Before it began using Process Street, Salesforce had trouble streamlining its complex operations. It’s now able to take those processes and turn them into simple checklists by using Process Street’s premade templates. Doing so has reduced human errors in documented processes, established and scaled best practices, and standardized internal operations. The Salesforce team now benefits from streamlined processes that facilitate continuous improvement.
The meal delivery service HelloFresh uses Asana to manage its complex operations. Before Asana, HelloFresh relied on spreadsheets to track its processes, which were slow and prone to human error.
With Asana, the Ingredients Development team at HelloFresh is able to automate the process of tracking inventory. That has given them the time to concentrate on other, more complex areas of their jobs, which has led to a 33% increase in productivity.
The children’s humanitarian agency works remotely to the extreme. Its global team members need an efficient way to share information and work on projects quickly when emergencies happen. It found an excellent solution in Trello.
Trello’s simple structure of board-list-card was easily adopted by UNICEF’s Innovation team, who use it for coordination and collaboration from all over the world. They have boards for general operations and create new ones for specific emergencies when they occur. When Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean, UNICEF made a special board to coordinate the relief effort.
Operations management software does a lot to help businesses run at their best. It saves people time, energy, and money. In fact, it often leads to increased productivity and profits.
As long as you identify the features that are most important to you and spend the necessary time training your team, you should find great success in whichever operations management software you choose.
Bonus tip: Your team’s feedback and ideas regarding operations management software are incredibly valuable. Successful implementation relies on leadership being open to ideas for improvement. The smoothest operations are built when teams listen to each other.