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A Business Operations Definition and Complete Guide in 31 Terms

July 25, 2019

Business operations are hard to define. 

Intrinsically, the field of BizOps is designed to fill in all of the gaps between different departments, tasks, and fields within a business. In its do-it-all mentality, there are inevitably areas in which business operations could use a bit more clarity and definition as a field.

Enter this glossary, which defines all of the key business operations terms you need to know to have a firm grasp on the field as a whole.

Business operations definition and other essential terms

The world of business operations can be so vast, complicated, and, at times, vague, that it can be hard to pinpoint what exactly the term "business operations" means.

Below, we'll continue by defining the key terms associated with this field.

Business operations terms continued

Budget - an estimate of how much money a business will be able to spend over a set period of time. Business operations professionals can help monitor the spend of a company to make sure that they don’t exceed their budget.

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Business travel - a necessary aspect of the operations of many businesses is travel to meet with current and potential clients. Employee travel can rack up a big bill for any company, and business operations professionals deal with all of the ins and outs of having a company travel policy that is an efficient use of company funds and up to date with the latest business travel trends.

Capacity - the maximum amount of goods or services that can be produced by a business given their existent resources.

Capacity planning - determining the capacity needed by a business to properly meet the demand for its products and services. Business operations involves all aspects of planning for a company to meet its long and short term goals, and capacity planning is one of these aspects.

Compliance - adhering to specific rules, regulations, or commands set out by a company. Business operations concerns setting out these rules and regulations as well as ensuring compliance to them from employees. 

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Departments - employees within a business are separated into groups based on the functions of their job positions.

Efficiency - being able to complete a task or tasks using the minimal amount of time and resources necessary.

Expenses - the cost required for something. Employees run into expenses when spending company money on travel or meals for clients.

External growth - expanding the reach of a business through merger or acquisition. 

Forecasting - predicting where a business will go in the future, what directions are best to take, and how to continue to operate a business.

Human resources (HR) - a crucial part of operating any business, human resources (HR) handles everything related to the hiring, administration, and training of employees.

Internal communications - how employees, teams, and departments within a business talk, plan, and work together on a day-to-day basis. Typically facilitated through internal communications software, this aspect of business operations is necessary for teams within a company to be able to collaborate. 

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Labor productivity - the average amount of work completely by each employee over a period of time.

Lean systems - identifying and eliminating waste and other non-value activities through further employee training and improved efficiency within all products and services.

Logistics - the act of coordinating complex systems and operations involving many people, facilities, and supplies.

Maintenance - preserving the ability of machines and other assets to operate properly and effectively. 

Merger - the joining of two (or more) businesses to form a new corporation.

Operations management - working to maintain the highest level of efficiency possible within an organization. Essentially, operations management is centered on converting materials and labor into products and profit as efficiently as possible.

Productivity - the ability of workers to produce results for a business within a given amount of time.

Quality assurance (QA) - ensuring quality is guaranteed throughout an organization to meet customer needs and expectations.

Reengineering - the process of evaluating the ways operations are conducted, be it processes or the general flow of business in a company, and arriving at solutions through rethinking traditional workflows.

Relocation - moving a business from one location to another.

Roadmapping - setting out a plan for the future of a business, both in the short term and long term. Roadmapping includes planning for all teams and departments of a company and rests on the assumption that they’ll work together to accomplish the goals set out in the roadmap.

Scheduling - an overlooked part of business operations that is absolutely essential to a business’ ability to thrive, scheduling goes hand-in-hand with roadmapping the plan of a business to make sure employees are as just as efficient as they are effective in their work. 

Supply chain - every step of the way in the journey of a product from production to purchase by a consumer.

Sustainability - maintaining business practices that avoid the depletion of natural resources. 

Teams - subdivisions of a business, team management is a necessary responsibility of many business operations professionals. Good relationships between teams can inspire a positive work environment and high spirits in the workplace. 

Total quality management - a management system that is based on the principle that employees must be committed to maintaining high standards of work in every aspect of a company's operations.

Training - the vehicle through which business operations professionals can instill the processes, values, and basics of a business in new employees.

Value added - the amount by which the value of a good or service increases at individual stages in its production.

Get operating

Now that we’ve run through this glossary of terms that make up the field of business operations, you have a solid grip on what makes up the field and how it is involved in many aspects of a business plan. 


A Business Operations Definition and Complete Guide in 31 Terms This business operations definition contains 31 key terms to define everything about a field that is vast, complicated, and essential to any company.
Rob Browne Rob is a former content associate at G2. Originally from New Jersey, he previously worked at an NYC-based business travel startup. (he/him/his)

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