Target operating models for hard times
Housing providers must develop or refine their approach to respond effectively to a changing environment – and deliver better outcomes for customers
Senior Consultant, Campbell Tickell
Issue: 63 | December 2022
Developing a target operating model is often likened to driving towards imagined sunny uplands that sit somewhere just over the horizon. But today’s operating reality feels more like driving through thick fog on an icy cold winter’s night. There are few discernible landmarks to help orientate yourself or navigate your route. To get through, you must place trust in the reliability of your vehicle and the preparations you have made ahead of your journey:
- You know you have more than enough fuel (or charge) in the car
- You know your engine has been serviced recently and your tyres have plenty of grip
- You’ve set your critical instruments and indicators, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road
- You’re tuned into the travel news and have the satnav set
- You know you must stick to the main roads
- You focus on the road immediately in front of you for hazards, rather than scanning the horizon for overtaking opportunities
This careful preparation and considered approach gives you the confidence to carry on, even though conditions are very uncertain, and your destination will not come into view for a considerable period of time.
How well is your operating model set up for what is to come this winter and beyond?
The dark road ahead
You have driven successfully through a pandemic, but everyone is tired, and before you’ve had time to fully recharge, the operating environment has once again become extremely challenging. So how well are you prepared to respond:
- Do you really know what your customers are experiencing and what support they may need?
- Is your operating model still set up and scaled for delivering in a more benign environment and less stringent times?
- Is your service offer sustainable, and will your carefully re-engineered customer journeys hold up under the increasing level of demand?
- Is your hybrid organisational design fully focused on the people that most need your help?
- Do you have effective partnerships in place that will help share the load?
Set out fully prepared
The suitability of your operating model for the road ahead must surely be determined by how well it withstands what it encounters day-to-day, rather than focus on delivering a set of rigid mid-distance goals, that may not be a priority in a year’s time.
Marshalling and making best use of the resources already in place will be key to success, with embedding and optimisation as valuable as transformation.
Accelerating digital shift and effectively harnessing data analytics are critical components for bearing down on costs. But so is maintaining a strong local presence and one-to-one contact with vulnerable customers. This drives early intervention, prevention, and sustainment activities, that will ultimately protect income streams.
Negotiating the tough road ahead will depend as much on the skills of frontline staff as on well-crafted and risk-reviewed business and delivery plans. The more eyes that are focused on the road ahead, the better.
“The suitability of your operating model for the road ahead must surely be determined by how well it withstands what it encounters day-to-day.”