Launching an operations transformation project

Seizing an opportunity

As many as 70% of brands are preparing for a recession this year.* There will likely be two camps of companies:

  1. Those who use this economic situation as an opportunity 
  2. Those who hunker down and wait it out without implementing much change

This post is for the first camp. There are many reasons why an economic downturn is a good opportunity for an operations transformation project. A recession is as good a time as any to:

  • Implement the right technology
  • Expedite financial reporting
  • Reduce costs
  • Improve fulfillment processes
  • Gain overall operational efficiencies

But before you can do any of the above, there are two things you need in place to launch a successful project.

Two things you need to start a successful operations transformation project


All successful business projects have one thing in common: executive buy-in.

An executive sponsor, or champion, is a requirement for truly transforming your operations.

In addition to support from the c-suite, the leadership team and other key team members need to be aligned on one other thing. The team needs to have a drive to make customers happier, and be motivated to provide better products and services. You have to be willing to put in the work that comes with in-depth process mapping and executing on plans.

All of the above supports business readiness to tackle transformative projects.


You can’t solve it if you can’t see it.

When you start to go down the road of really transforming your operations, you have to have a visual of the business landscape and processes. The visual will probably be in many forms: reports, spreadsheets, whiteboards, etc.

You have to be able to fully grasp your important business data in order to gain insight into process bottlenecks and other issues and opportunities for improvement.

#3 - A BONUS

A third tip I could offer is to leverage an organizing framework for your project. Use a methodology, and pull from proven approaches (like Kanban). Something else we’ve seen be transformational for companies is the implementation of an Entrepreneurial Operating System.

Operational efficiency project launch (image)


Signs you're ready for an operations transformation project

You have a tangible product.

That’s really it. In ecommerce today, there’s always room for improvement, always someone new you’re competing against. Other signs include:

  • Growth: you’re growing quickly and need people, processes, systems in place to scale
  • Growth: understanding what’s fueling growth and how to capitalize on it
  • Growth: ensuring you can accommodate increase in customers and that pertinent information is flowing across the organization
  • Decline: understanding your financial situation and opportunities to gain efficiencies
  • Decline: understanding your biggest cost centers within the organization and how to find quick wins/gains

We can help

There are benefits to working with an external operations consultant. We’re not encumbered by current processes and relationships. We ask good questions and we leverage ideas from other industries. Consultants often come with a breadth of experience and previous exposure to different companies, processes, and ideas. We can help “sell” ideas internally and gain buy-in. We also come with limited commitment, there’s no “firing.” 


Learn more about ways to gain operational efficiency during a recession (or anytime).


*Shopify Plus Commerce Trends 2023 Report