The 2022 holiday season was one to remember. From families gathering to wild snowstorms to airline meltdowns, these were holidays we won’t soon forget. The holidays also have me reflecting for another reason: the importance of well-run operations. Whether you experienced weather delays or cancellations on an airline or planned and prepared a meal of special dishes for your guests, these factors – preparation, processes, technology, tools, personnel and a common goal – are all critical to a good experience.
Consider the negative outcomes with Southwest Airlines. Failed processes and technology along with personnel issues all affected customers’ experiences. I don’t pretend to know the inner workings of their operations but only what has been reported in the news. My main takeaway is that it is important to learn from this experience, make relevant changes to improve the customer experience and establish the quality of the organization’s operations to ensure a profitable business.

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Bringing this closer to home, did you or one of your loved ones prepare meals for a crowd over the holidays? The cooking process can be time- and labor-intensive. One of the best strategies for preparing a meal, to use a French term, is mise en place, a technique that chefs use to assemble meals quickly and effortlessly. All your ingredients are measured, cut, peeled, sliced, grated before you start cooking. Pans are prepared. Mixing bowls, tools and equipment set out. It makes the cooking experience less stressful and enjoyable!
Both effectively managed airlines and cooking a sumptuous holiday feast require an effective operational approach. Likewise, marketing and creative operations require a high level of operational excellence. Let’s face it. A well-run operation makes for a better experience for everyone concerned. Operations teams are a critical part of an in-house marketing and creative department and must  focus on process, technology, financial management, reporting, external resourcing and vendor management, equipment and space to ensure a department is running smoothly and remains focused on quality output. This frees the rest of the team to focus on their very specific skill sets in marketing and creative while leaving the operational issues to those experts.
Operations teams typically include professional roles that complement each other and address operations needs from a 360-degree perspective. The Director of Operations oversees all operational needs. If a marketing and creative team is  large, there may be additional Operations Managers to assist with the overall operational work, overseeing particular regions or divisions. The team may have one or more Tool Administrators. These professionals are responsible for the technology tools that are used across the marketing and creative teams. Additionally, the team may employ a Digital Asset Manager who ensures taxonomy and metadata protocols are enforced for all assets created by the internal and external resources and that assets are stored properly. Project Managers and Program Managers are essential roles for an operations team. They are responsible for your mise en place. (Remember having everything prepared, in place and ready to go when you cooked that fabulous holiday meal?) Besides ensuring everything is prepped properly, these managers direct the process, produce reports and work with the team to see the projects through, ensuring they are completed on time and on budget.
Right now, the consensus is that a recession is likely sometime in 2023. As a result, some companies are looking for ways to save costs. In this shifting economic atmosphere, operations teams can be counted on to ensure efficiency value and a positive customer experience. When operations teams are operating effectively, they can make the difference in meeting or exceeding company goals.

Do you need help from an independent resource to identify an operations team model and how best to realize operational efficiencies while excelling in creative excellence? Contact us for information on how we can help support you with identification, implementation, and training. To learn more about our services, visit