Do you have dreams of one day running your own successful business? Now take that one step further, and ask yourself whether you have dreams of one day running your own successful e-commerce business?
While brick and mortar businesses and retail spaces still exist all across the country, it is the e-commerce side of things that really seems to be growing and widening its reach over the past handful of years. And this growing trend isn’t one that is showing signs of stopping any time soon; in fact, as the world becomes more globally intertwined, these e-commerce businesses will have an even larger role to play.
Despite the fact that there is no magic solution that guarantees your e-commerce start-up will be successful, there are things that you can arm yourself with that can help boost the odds of your company “making it”. One of those is to have a background in operations management. But what makes operations management so important to running an e-commerce business? Let’s examine it closer.
What Is Operations Management?
Operations management can sound like a couple of buzz words to those who aren’t trained and have a background in it. In reality, it’s relatively simple to explain, and it’s something that can apply to just about every business out there regardless of the industry.
Investopedia describes operations management as “the administration of business practices to create the highest level of efficiency possible within an organization.” In other words, it’s all about making sure that your business is running at its peak level of productivity and efficiency, eliminating waste and redundancies among other things.
Some of the key elements involved in operations management include:
- Balancing costs with revenue
- Making sure all processes are streamlined and efficient
- Maximizing net operating profits
- Figuring out how to convert raw materials and labor into a finished product in the most efficient way possible
How Does Operations Management Apply to E-Commerce?
The next logical question is to ask how the two connect – how does operations management and e-commerce work hand-in-hand? It’s actually a very strong relationship that can completely transform the level of success that your e-commerce business has.
No matter what it is that you are producing or offering as a service, there will likely be an operations side of things. If this side goes by unchecked and isn’t well thought out and designed, then it can lead to all kinds of issues that cut away at the company’s profits.
You could put in all kinds of work to gain new customers, offer the best of the best in terms of products, and truly get the kind of interest you hoped for on your website, but without sound and efficient operations, the profits won’t be what they could be.
Get a Strong Hold on Your Inventory
Another way that operations management can help your business to thrive is from an inventory standpoint. There is no better way to get control of your inventory than by installing a strong and sound inventory management system. The inventory management system is actually something that falls under the umbrella of operations management.
Some of the things a strong inventory management system should do include:
- Keep track of all physical inventory you have on hand
- Alert you when stock or items are running low
- Make it clear what items aren’t selling well, and are sitting on the shelf
- All tracking should be done in real-time
- It can help to forecast demand
- It helps to reduce and eliminate any product shortages
- Prevents you from over-stocking
Make Logistics, Fulfillment, and Shipping Organized and Efficient
Then there is the logistics, fulfillment, and shipping end of things, all of which need to operate in an efficient and organized manner. Once again, this falls under the umbrella of operations management.Just because you’ve got your inventory under control, doesn’t mean order fulfillment and shipping will automatically proceed without any issues.
Operations management will take a look at each of these departments and ensure things aren’t falling through the cracks and being overlooked. Let’s say your orders aren’t being fulfilled and shipped out in a timely manner -this will lead to unhappy customers, potential cancellation of orders, and a low customer return rate if they were left unsatisfied.
A Masters in Operations Management Provides the Foundations
While it can certainly be helpful to have worked in operations management in the past, what’s even more beneficial is to have a Masters in Operations Management. What this means is that you’ve got all the foundations, techniques, and practices mastered that you’ll then be able to apply to your e-commerce business.
Some of the key things you would focus on in this Master’s program would include:
- How to run a business in an efficient manner
- How to take raw materials and then convert to labor, goods, and services using the ideal practices
- How to structure the operations side of a business
- How to assess customers’ needs and then adjust operations accordingly
Each one of these core principals can then be applied to your e-commerce business to help it be as successful as possible.
You can find more about the Masters in Operations Management program by clicking here.
Look into Software to Aid in the Process
Certainly, that background and Masters in Operations Management will prove to be helpful when you set up your e-commerce business, but the final step is to go ahead and embrace technology whenever possible. There is plenty of software out there today designed to make your role as an operations manager smoother and more efficient. Think of it as a business investment that can help the company to be profitable and grow in the future.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Operations Management
At the end of the day, it’s important not to count out operations management and the role it should play in your e-commerce business. It can truly help to determine just how successful your venture is.