Operations Management with Op-tec Systems

Meet The Client

Richard Banyard is the MD of Op-tec Systems, a business offering independent advice and support for owners of process control and industrial automation technology. The business works with varying industries from chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, food and beverage and many more.

Kate Chastey was introduced to Richard through a networking referral and after having a discovery call with him, ascertained that Richard needed a Passionate PA with a strong operational management background.

Kara (pictured above) had just started her journey as a Passionate PA following a long career in hospitality management, where operational management was one of her top skills. Kara was ready to take on a client wanting up to 16 hours per week, so becoming Op-tec Systems’ Operations Manager was a great starting point.

Kara: Ready!

Having come from a career where Kara fully understood the work involved in each department, working within an industry where she had no previous knowledge was an initial concern.

But, it turns out – this was ultimately a huge benefit.  It’s healthy to review a business with a fresh pair of eyes and not be caught up in the daily work.

Initially, Kara was tasked with:

  • Recording Standard Operating Procedures
  • Documenting Company Policies
  • Conducting Internal Audits
  • Hosting the Monday Review meeting with the team, ensuring live contracts, open opportunities and leads were all progressing.
  • Issuing the monthly Profit and Loss accounts to the team with commentary
  • Hosting the monthly Management Review Meeting with Richard and preparing the minutes
  • Arranging an annual team ‘get-together’ as most of the team works remotely.

Business: Ready!

9 months after Kara started working with Op-tec, she streamlined many processes and implemented best practices to drive great results for the business. This role was proving pivotal to the success of Op-tec and so the decision was taken to recruit a full-time member of staff.

This may seem like a sad outcome for us – but it never is. Passionate PAs are committed to progression and helping a business source exactly what it needs. Recruiting to make ourselves ‘redundant’ is a super outcome – it means we’ve done the job well and someone else can step in.

It’s never really the end though…

5 months later, Richard got back in touch with Kara to ask if she was able to assist with producing the documentation required for an Achilles Audit, as a piece of project work. Richard explained that the full-time member of staff, who was due to take on Kara’s role, had fallen through, so there was an opportunity to work with Op-tec again once this project work was completed.

It was fabulous for Kara to be invited to their annual meeting and see the team again, in person, and meet the new additions too. It was certainly worth the 400-mile round trip from The New Forest to The Peak District! During this meeting, the team were able to discuss the business’s strategy for the year ahead and voice their opinions of what could be done to assist with this vision.

The minutes from this meeting produced 33 separate actions to be completed within the next 12 months, which Kara was then tasked with implementing. It was easy for Kara to step in as she knew the business so well already.

The Detail

The tasks were all allocated on Microsoft Planner with reminders of why these actions were raised at the meeting and how we would ensure that these actions wouldn’t be raised again the following year by answering the following key points:

  • Why?
  • Otherwise
  • Success
  • Measure
  • Responsible
  • Progress

At the end of the first quarter, Kara hosted an online meeting with the team to run through each action in a PowerPoint presentation to discuss whether they still felt each action was relevant, whether any could be improved on, whether there were any stumbling blocks that needed addressing to help with progress, ensuring that the team were fully aware that Richard had listened to the points they had raised and that he wanted their input to help grow the business.

5 months on again and it was clear that Richard and Kara were at capacity and more resource was needed once more. Time to recruit again!

Time was allocated for Kara to review what needed to be handed over to another full-time team member. Kara created a superb ‘ops manual’ type document – the length of which surprised everyone. It’s amazing what “just gets done” when we work with clients, it’s only really when we are handing back that we get an opportunity to review our contribution in its entirety.

A few online handover meetings were set up, with a few days in between each to allow the new recruit time to process, investigate further and come up with questions.

Richard's words...

“Kara has been a real asset to my business. Always showing up with energy, enthusiasm and the ‘can do’ attitude so important in small business. Hard-working and proactive, Kara has managed to move projects on with little support from others. I’ve no doubt the improvements she’s made during her time with us will have a lasting positive impact. The only negative to having Kara as part of my team has been the fact we couldn’t have her full-time.”

At the end of April, Kara successfully handed over the reins with full confidence that Richard’s goal, of stepping back from his hands-on role within the business, could be achieved.

Kara's words...

“Working with Op-tec proved to me that I really don’t need to have an in-depth understanding of an industry to be able to help a business thrive. I’ve really enjoyed working with Richard and the team, I’ve learnt so much on my journey which will stand me in good stead for working with other specialist business owners in the future”.