In some ways, Operation Managers are similar to football managers.
In the world of football, successful managers are paid megabucks, paraded around in open top buses and treated like celebrities. In field service businesses, they just quietly get on with their jobs.
While they may not get the same accolades, the challenges faced by an Operations Manager are just as tough as anything that the likes of Mourinho and Ancelotti have to deal with.
They play the same vital role in pulling everything together - organising, planning, coordinating; building up teams and getting the best out of individuals.
They have to be able to work at every level - as equally comfortable chatting to those on the ground as the executives above.
And all of that’s an extra tough task when you’re dealing with mobile workers. It poses the problem of “how do you motivate, manage and control groups of employees who are scattered across a region and constantly moving between locations?”
Trying to get accurate information with a mobile workforce is a constant struggle which means Operation Managers have to shuffle between sites and make sense of a muddle of different calls and messages.
It can stifle the effectiveness of even the best Operations Manager. Unable to access the bigger picture, they find themselves ‘firefighting’ - trying to micromanage each and every problem as it’s uncovered.
Job management software allows Operations Managers and all key players in an organisation see the movement and status of each mobile worker in real-time.
It allows managers to keep tabs on where each employee is, what they’re doing and how well they’re doing it. Using a smartphone app, mobile workers can also provide real-time photo updates of tasks they’re working on.
With the vast amount of information available, it becomes easier for Operations Managers to set realistic and attainable KPIs for their business.
It can also accurately track and monitor the performance of individuals and departments in order to highlight weaknesses and to reward high standards.
The real-time nature of job management systems changes the way an Operations Manager is able to manage compliance. Safety notifications, checks and reminders can be delivered to workers via on-screen smartphone messages.
Rather than a manager having to constantly prod workers to follow the correct protocols, it allows these checks to become an integrated part of their workflow. A system can be configured to require photo evidence, showing that safety procedures have been followed.
So while Operations Managers have always managed to do a great job in difficult circumstances, they can do an even better job when some of the traditional barriers they’ve worked with are removed.
They may not get the shiny trophies or the celebrity treatment of their colleagues from the football world but what every businesses can do, is provide Operations Manager with the right tools for the job.