Operational plans are part of the overall goals and interests of a business. Managers use these plans to translate operational strategies. Operational plans set out the objectives, functions, priorities and obligations of each operation, process or department of an entity. The aim of these plans is to direct the organization and ensure operational control. There are three main factors that influence operational plans.

Operational Plan Contents

Operational plans draw from strategic plans; hence, their contents are directed at explaining actions or programs that will be needed to achieve or implement parts of that strategy. The plan document typically starts with an executive summary and the organization’s description. Then it provides an overview of the products and services the organization offers and the market segment it serves. The contents of the plan also include competitive conditions and consumer expectations. The document then presents an operational analysis describing weaknesses and strengths, key performance indicators and operational objectives. It also includes action plans, associated budgets and implementation guides to meet objectives.

Timing Influences

Customer preferences have considerable impact on your company’s behavior, because an enterprise grows and earns profit by serving demands of customers. The customer must be served the goods or services within that period in which it holds value for him. For example, if customers expect quick service in your small chain of restaurants, the restaurant should devise an action plan in its operational plans to educate and train its waiters and chefs on how to serve oven-hot dishes quickly. The operational plan will be further influenced to incorporate budgets for such ovens, pans and plates that allow the food to remain warmer and fresh for longer periods.

Quality Influences

Some businesses are expected to show a higher standard of quality while some are not. A customer would not demand an extravagant, value-added "match stick" to light his gas stove. He would, however, demand quality output from the gas stove manufacturer. He is likely to expect rust protection, even heating, accurate flame control, etc. Therefore, the stove's manufacturing process and its quality-testing process should be equipped with tools and mechanisms that meet these demands of quality. An operating plan should be devised that adequately sets the objective of equipping these mechanisms in the said processes.

Cost Influences

A business will survive and grow if it can produce goods and deliver services within cost limits. For example, operating a courier business requires that you serve a fiduciary duty to every customer with regard to the safety, integrity and privacy of their packages. Customers also demand that their goods be delivered quickly. Larger courier companies have bulk processing plants and processes that help them keep their costs low and stay competitive, while continuing to serve their customers' highest demands. Therefore, a courier business should have perpetual action programs devised in their operational plans for handling, storage and delivery functions, which emphasize care and quickness, without exceeding cost thresholds.