As market conditions shift and competitive pressures intensify, so companies have to adopt new strategies. That, in turn, means they need new operational models to accommodate these new plans.

But rising volatility and business complexity have recently made operational transformation much more difficult. And, as another three billion consumers join the global middle class in the next few decades – straining far-flung supply chains –conventional operational models will come under increasing strain.

In a perfect world, a company’s day-to-day operations are managed for peak performance, so that it maximises its profits while minimising its risks, costs and losses. But in the real world management must make constant trade-offs in the risk-cost-loss equation, if it’s to keep the company’s operational infrastructure aligned with its current strategy. To strike the right balance, management must be crystal clear about its operational goals and develop key performance metrics that will enable it to manage those operations within well-defined tolerances.

What does this mean for your business?

Companies in a wide range of manufacturing and service industries are reshaping their operations to make them more agile, flexible and responsive to changing market conditions. That’s no easy task.

Over the past decade, most manufacturers have generated major business benefits by reducing operational waste, variability and inflexibility. But many companies have been unable to build on these gains because they haven’t developed team leaders who can do three things: continuously identify and make efficiency improvements; align the corporate vision with activity on the shop floor; and demonstrate the technical and interpersonal skills that will help establish a lasting culture of operational excellence.

Creating an agile operation in the services sector is an even bigger challenge. In factories, idle workers and stacks of inventory provide clear signals that an operation is poorly designed. In service operations, by contrast, it’s often difficult to identify waste and inefficiency. Management may be aware of operational problems without being able to define them in detail, let alone design ways to correct them. Yet failure to understand how well its operations are functioning can be fatal to a service provider.

How we can help

    View our latest Operations research and insights

    Tax Function of the Future

    11 Feb 2016

    Evolving trends are changing the way tax functions are operating – both day-to-day and with long-term strategic planning. Access all our published reports here.

    Bridging growth markets' voids

    17 Sep 2015

    PwC’s Growth Markets Centre report, ‘Bridging Growth Markets’ Voids’ analyses how companies can overcome the institutional voids of Growth Markets to achieve long term profitability.

    CEO pulse: Pulse on robotics

    11 Aug 2015

    Are CEOs ready for the era of automation? Find out in our CEO pulse on robotics

    Alternative Asset Management 2020: Fast Forward to Centre Stage

    26 Jun 2015

    The global alternative asset management industry is expected to experience a period of transformation over the coming years. Are you ready?

    Industrial manufacturing CEOs challenge the COO agenda

    30 Mar 2015

    The changing shift in focus of COOs in the industrial manufacturing sector based off of PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey.

    Room for growth: European cities hotel forecast for 2015 and 2016

    02 Mar 2015

    European cities hotel forecast 2015 and 2016 analyses trading trends and gives econometric forecasts for 20 cities, all national or regional capitals.

    Metals Deals: 2015 outlook and 2014 review

    23 Feb 2015

    Welcome to Metals Deals: Forging Ahead 2015 outlook and 2014 review, PwC’s annual analysis of deal activity in the metals industry and our outlook on the prospects for dealmaking in the year ahead. We also take a regional look at what is happening in the main markets around the world.

    Global Airlines & Airports statement of capabilities – Rising to your challenges

    09 Jan 2015

    Growth itself is a big challenge for many airport operators as they strive to expand infrastructure capacity to match demand. This statement of our capabilities addresses some of the most prevalent challenges in the aviation industry and some of the many ways we can help.

    Clear weather on the horizon?

    05 Jan 2015

    In our Global Shipping Benchmarking Analysis we provide an overview of the factors that impacted the shipping industry in the previous year and analyse how these have been reported by a large number of shipping companies from around the world.

    Treasury shown in a new light: PwC global treasury survey 2014

    15 Oct 2014

    The treasury function is changing, raising some pressing questions about companies’ organisational structure, treasury reporting and systems, oversight and control.