7 trends in operations management for 2022/2023

Written by
Brooke Hahn
November 29, 2022

It’s important for both medium and large-sized companies to keep at least one eye focused on the latest trends in operations management across their particular industry.

From improving operational efficiency to enhancing employee engagement, there are a range of benefits to ensuring your operations strategies are in line with the most current of market developments and your competitors’ strategies. 

The Importance of Operations Management

Operations management refers to the ongoing supervision and administration of the complete production timeline for a particular product and/or service.

Its aim is to ensure that the production process and overall operations across the business is as efficient as possible. (Efficiency is a word you’re going to see pop up a lot in this article.) 

One of the main roles of operations management is to ensure the expenditure and costs of a company are reciprocated in revenue. That way net profit can be maximised and the business can grow. 

Why is it important?

As businesses and industries are continually evolving, it’s more and more important for your company to keep on top of the emerging operations management trends. Without it, you could lose your competitive advantage, market share and, ultimately, profitability. 

The benefits of streamlined and efficient operations management include:

  1. Better engagement with stakeholders, including clients, customers and employees.
  2. Increased productivity.
  3. Increased operational capacity.
  4. Improved communication.
  5. Alleviated costs.
  6. Increased automation, to reduce time consuming and labour intensive tasks.

Understanding Emerging Trends

It can be difficult to really define what is meant by an emerging trend in a business context. At times, this can mean the adoption of a particular management strategy. In some contexts it means the adoption of a particular technology. And in other places it can refer to a change in the overall attitude of a business towards an aspect of its social responsibility.

Regardless of the trend itself, being on top of the operations trends as they are emerging and gaining popularity can help ensure the relevance of a business in a modern economy. This, of course, is an important way to future-proof one’s business, especially during times of difficulty or uncertainty. 

The 7 Trends in Operations Management for 2022/2023

1. Focus on employee wellbeing, safety and health

One of the top trends is a focus on employee wellbeing. A happy workplace is often a more productive one. Whilst there are benefits to productivity by improving morale and investing in the health of one’s labour force, ultimately, the main focus of this trend are the ethical obligations of a company towards its workforce as well as social compliance with new industry regulations and standards. Routinely evaluating your workplace (whether remote or in-office) and how it facilitates employee wellbeing is key.

2. Automating manual processes

Technology is improving rapidly and digitisation is becoming ubiquitous. The automation of more and more manual processes is cutting down unnecessary labour, realising unpreceded potential for efficiency and capacity, and allowing companies to cut expenses and waste.

As we head into 2023, more and more companies are investing in increasingly automated processes as part of their operations management.

3. Improving communications

A continually emerging trend is improving communications across a company. Dealing with increasingly remote workforces and ensuring collaboration across teams working flexibly requires a seamless, integrated communications system.

That’s why it’s vital that your operations management team stay abreast of the latest developments, strategies and technologies used in professional communications within your industry. 

4. Agile organisation solutions

Market pressures, movements in the global economy, and quickly changing consumer demand all require organisations to keep on top of the latest agile solution trends.

Agile approaches to organisation, strategy, leadership and governance ensure everything from accountability, transparency and collaboration. Professional networks that are empowered and encouraged to pivot quickly in relation to necessary problems and changes are best positioned for sustainable growth. 

5. Internal problem auditing 

Hand-in-hand with agile operations solutions, comes the trend of increased internal auditing. It’s not just self-accountability that’s at play here. It’s about ensuring continuous improvement through ongoing management and adjustment.

Problems that can be identified early on can be dealt with promptly and accurately before they snowball or cause lasting consequences. Regular internal audits ensure that action can be taken the minute an issue is spotted. This puts your management team in as strong a position as possible to mitigate risks and losses in the future. As a forward looking operations management team, it’s important that you begin to consider how you can implement an internal audit schedule and process.

6. Use of enterprise data

Enterprise data, meaning the data that is shared across an organisation by its users, is becoming more and more important for operations management. As our technological ability to collect, collate and analyse vast swathes of data improve, we’re better positioned to use it to inform decisions.

Losing enterprise data or, even more frustratingly, not being able to access information, can reduce companies’ efficiency, collaboration and organisation. Technological platforms and software that allow companies to collaborate in a single place and utilise all the benefits that enterprise data has to offer are becoming increasingly popular.

As part of your organisation’s operations management, it’s essential you focus on how you can ensure enterprise data is organised, centralised and accessible.

7. Focus on customers

It might seem like an obvious part of your strategy, but focusing on your customers (or clients) is among the ongoing trends in operations management. Apart from the inherent value in growing a business’s relationships with its paying target market, the expectations across industries in today’s economy is for more ethical, engaged and empathetic businesses.

Companies who fail to focus on improving everything customer-centric, from communication to lead times, may be at risk of losing some of their competitive advantage. The more focus on and feedback from customers is taken seriously, the better an operations team can tailor its offerings, products and services. 

While this article gives a broad-sweeping overview of the key trends in operations management right now, we’ll’ jump into some more industry-specific trends in future posts.

Brooke Hahn
Brooke has been involved in SaaS startups for the past 10 years. From marketing to leadership to customer success, she has worked across the breadth of teams and been pivotal in every company's strategy and success.

Get started with Birdi