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Strategic Planning: Emphasize visibility, agility

Strategic Planning: Emphasize visibility, agility

Q. What are good operation management strategies during challenging times?

A. The COVID-19 pandemic has made us take a hard look at how our businesses in the HME industry operate. The operating systems and procedures that had been in place for years have been seriously disrupted. When faced with exceptional events, leaders need to take a hard look at their now. Steering company operations during uncertain times requires an analytical approach with an emphasis on visibility, control and agility.

With that said, people are your greatest asset. Communication is critical. In times of crisis, people are worried. The more visible you are with clear goals and objectives, the better your team understands where they stand and what they need to accomplish. Management by KPIs is particularly important when dealing with economic uncertainty. You cannot manage what you can't measure. Give your people the information they need to establish acceptable performance indicator measurement. Let the people know what is happening in the business, even when the news isn't great. Communication will help reduce turnover.

Do we have the controls needed to establish operating procedures and systems to work from home? To evaluate the ability to transition to this new model, analyze available technology. Using cloud-based software where people can have an ability to measure KPIs at their fingertips gives them control of their own performance. The more vested you are in technology, the smoother the operations flow.

Crises are challenging, but they don't last forever. Eventually, there is a new normal. Some companies are agile and able to strategically position themselves for growth, others struggle to stay in business. This is a time when businesses must be creative and think outside the box.

Think about how to position your company for success when economic condition stabilizes and growth returns. Switching operating technologies is most challenging during growth periods. Consider using this time of disruption and slowdown to be a perfect time to implement new innovative strategies and technologies.

Bill Paul is CEO at ATLAS-RPM Professional Services. Reach him at


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