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Small Business

We commonly see two distinct types of small businesses: service and retail based. Stan is the small business owner in both cases, but personas in each case are unique.




Stan • Small Business Owner

Stan manages the business from start to finish. He is responsible for everything and has to understand every aspect of the business.

Debra • Office Manager

Debra keeps the company running by taking care of the bills and payments so they have enough cash to operate. She is also the communication hub of the small business.

Lacy • Store Manager

Lacy interacts with everybody in the business and is the primary contact for all suppliers and shippers. She and her team are accountable to Stan.

Jeremy • Cashier

Jeremy advises customers, rings up the sales, performs inventory counts, and gives Lacy insight into customers

Appendix 3 – Example of the Persona Detailed View

Each of the personas in the Microsoft Dynamics Customer Model has a substantial amount of information behind it in the form of a definition document. Each of these has a similar form and two examples (Vince the Operations manager and April the Accounts payable Clerk) are shown here:

Vince – Operations Manager

"There is no time like the present to address problems."

Vince ensures the timely and cost-effective delivery of products by managing the operations of several different departments. These include the Inventory, Engineering, Production, Plant Management, and Shipping and Receiving departments.


Operations Manager





  • 57 years old

  • Bachelors in Process Engineering



  • Private office, but spends a lot of time on the go within the company


  • Increase profit by getting a quality product out on time with the best customer service possible

  • Support the strategic goals of the company

  • Maintain financial controls over expenses

  • Provide various departments with what they need when they need it

  • Keep employee turnover low by bringing in excellent employees

  • Minimize inventory of both raw materials and finished goods


  • Production Manager

  • Operations Manager

  • Business Analyst

  • Customer Service Provider

  • Expeditor

  • Policy Maker

  • Mediator

  • Personnel Support Overseer

Core Activities

  • Decision making

  • Problem solving

  • Ongoing management and review of staff and production

  • Ongoing business analysis to determine production issues

Communication, Collaboration, and Interactions

  • Communicates with clients and suppliers by using their preferred method

  • Communicates primarily with the production staff and also the staff in QA, Materials, Product Design, Process Engineering, Purchasing, Planning, and Sales

  • Communicates with the Shop supervisor about upcoming, weekly plans and schedules

  • Communicates with project leaders who deal with specific customers

  • Meets with product design and sales staff

  • Meets frequently with each of the program and project managers

  • Participates in meetings with clients to discuss project deadlines and deliverables

  • Tracks all staff in the plant

  • Works with the Materials manager to develop reports that match the company’s business systems and also track them

Persona Variables

  • Operations managers are typically found in core, mid-market manufacturing companies

  • In small production companies, a Production manager generally fills this role

  • In distribution companies, a Materials manager generally fills this role

  • In companies where the Operations manager is the VP of Operations, the actual day-to-day production planning is handled by a Production Planner

Pain Points

  • Only 5 percent of the company’s computer system capability is used to facilitate daily operations

  • Company relies far too much on paper documentation instead of using the computer system

  • Losing valuable time when the system crashes

  • Not being able to retrieve information from the system to complete job tasks

  • Not enough hours in a day

  • Amount of time that was used to manually enter all the historical data into a new system

  • Details of daily production activity not being available until after midnight, because of the backup schedule

  • Amount of difficulty in tracking inventory and trying to find out how much inventory is on hand

  • Forecasts that are really off

  • Constantly following up with the Sales department in order to know where the breakdowns occur between Sales and Production

  • Having to figure out how to move purchase orders through the system with a minimum amount of pain, because the Production department gets tired of taking sales requests


Computer Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities

  • Word, Excel, Outlook

  • Fax machine

Values, Fears, and Goals

  • Always wants to know why something happened, not just the consequences or the results

  • Appreciates when a system is streamlined, or when he receives solid data, and can then see the immediate results of that

Technology Attitudes

  • Wants every person to have access to any information they need to do their job


  • Interacts with the Warehouse, Purchasing, Production, Materials, and Shipping and Receiving managers during daily, half-hour meetings to review sales order reports and solve any problems

  • Interacts with senior management in the Sales and Purchasing departments during weekly meetings to review sales orders and plan the upcoming week

  • Interacts with customers to provide purchase estimates

Communication Style

  • Pulls together people all day long, in groups of two and three, to resolve problems

  • Calls specific individuals by phone if that resolves a problem

  • Uses email when he needs to send information to five or more people

  • Prints out and distributes important emails that could affect someone’s work

  • Posts bar charts throughout the production areas to show staff what the production numbers are

Business Intelligence Questions

  • Is our labor efficiency up or down and why

  • Is inventory trending up or down, what is causing the fluctuation

  • Should we add a new product line, how will that impact the production of existing products

  • Will we hit our revenue targets for the month

  • How many units should we make for the discount stores

  • How can we reduce costs

  • Will we get the product out in time to our key customers, or in time for key product launches

  • What do we need to do to make sure products get out in time

Get to Know Vince

Hi, my name is Vince and my goal is to drive profit for the company. I do that by having a set of strategic goals, bringing in excellent people to meet those goals, and keeping them inspired and motivated.

I manage several different departments and keep communication going between the Warehouse, Purchasing, Production, and Materials manager, including other managers, to meet our schedules. I spend only a small amount of time on the phone and rely on brief conversations, one-to-one, to get things resolved.

I usually spend about 20 to 30 minutes on the floor every morning. If there are problems, it can take a lot longer than that. After we have set up for the day’s production, there is no specific schedule. Instead, I’m running all day long, and it’s not uncommon for me to put in a 10-hour day.

I handle a lot of personnel matters that include personality conflicts, reviews, training, complaints, and arguments about priorities. It’s also my job to keep up morale and keep people motivated so that staff turnover remains low. Plus, I have to know everyone’s job so empty positions can be filled when we are short-staffed.

For me, it’s not enough just to keep things going. We also have to find ways to get new products, buy new equipment, and develop new processes – anything that will give us a competitive edge.

A day in the life

7:30 – 8:00 AM

  • Get a cup of coffee

  • Read through email messages and respond to the urgent ones first

  • Complete international phone calls

8:00 – 8:30

  • Walk through the shop to see how things are going at each station

  • Check in with the machine operators and the Shop Floor manager to see if there are any problems

8:30 – 10:00

  • Review the Sales Bookings and Shop Floor reports

  • Get briefed by Production and check the load for each department and the flow of the jobs

  • Get all the Operations departments together to plan the day, prioritize jobs, and address any exceptions or large orders

  • Discuss any potential delays

10:00 – 12:00

  • Approve specifications and drawings

  • Answer the Purchasing department’s questions about prices and quantities

  • Respond to breakdowns and machine maintenance

  • Drop in on Engineering to anticipate work order issues

  • Respond to a key customer's questions about their orders

12:00 – 1:00 PM

  • Eat lunch on the go

1:00 – 4:00

  • Resolve work stoppages if the line goes down

  • Approve purchases of capital equipment with the CFO

  • Deal with multiple personnel matters

4:00 – 7:00 PM

  • Work on strategic plans and other engineering issues related to new products or processing

  • Get confirmation from the Production department that all the work orders for the day are closed

  • Read the rest of the email messages to see what requires a response

  • Go home

Primary Roles

Production Manager

  • Plans or approves the plan for managing the demand for materials

  • Manages inventory

  • Breaks down projects into labor and materials and estimates the subcontractor requirements

  • Works with the Sales department on forecasting


  • Anticipates the various ways that production problems can arise

  • Manages risk by developing a plan for production overflow

  • Stays close to operational needs by walking through the production area on a daily basis

  • Communicates daily with the Production manager and Planner to review operations

Status Checker

  • Produces a weekly tracking and scheduling report that reflects all the departments

  • Reviews orders, job assignments, and readiness to begin work with all the machine operators, the Shop Floor manager, and with Production management

Decision Maker

  • Participates in make-buy and make-drop decisions

  • Collaborates with other members in senior management on which ERP system to buy

  • Follows up on IT problems with the software vendor

Problem Solver

  • Resolves engineering issues related to new product development, new product releases, the capacity required for new products, and the feasibility of manufacturing a proposed product

  • Resolves emergencies stemming from jobs that have not been completed

  • Resolves problems with assembled products that have component parts that are not aligned

  • Resolves any problems identified in daily briefings with Production

Efficiency Strategist

  • Maintains productivity by off-loading customer requests to Sales when necessary

  • Prioritizes customer responses

  • Continually evaluates production efficiency

  • Works to maximize production across all the cost centers

  • Works with Production and Process Engineering to improve staff efficiency

  • Approves the development of new processes or the purchase of new equipment

Quality Control Contact

  • Communicates to the Quality and Production managers any problems about products that are in the field

  • Tracks issues about product defects

Meeting Leader

  • Leads a weekly meeting about the production schedule with the Production, Materials, Warehouse, Purchasing, and Planning staff

  • Leads a weekly meeting with design and process engineers on job design, processes, and specifications

  • Leads a weekly production meeting to review inventory count, project status, and metrics

  • Schedules formal meetings or presentations with other department heads when needed

Cost Controller

  • Estimates the cost of a job by using either partial or complete MRP information

  • Monitors budgets and approves expenditures

  • Performs post mortem reviews of projects and programs to determine areas for improvement

  • Monitors and follows up on deviations in cost variance


  • Monitors adjustments made to inventory by Receiving

  • Identifies which high-priority orders Production needs to fill for the upcoming day

  • Reviews projected Sales reports

  • Reviews Shop Floor Capacity reports

Secondary Roles

Customer Service Provider

  • When necessary, responds to key customer inquiries or complaints about delivery of their orders

  • Occasionally quotes jobs and checks customer purchase orders for accuracy


  • Facilitates communication among the staff about relevant issues

  • Serves as backup for the Purchasing Agent

  • Provides information on quantity and price to the Purchasing manager

Policy Maker

  • Drafts personnel policies related to all production and manufacturing operations

  • Drafts strategic plans, policies, and procedures for Operations and Manufacturing

Personnel Support Overseer

  • Implements company employment policies and procedures

  • Motivates employees and responds to employee concerns

  • Mediates personnel issues and conflicts between machine operators that could interfere with production

  • Mediates between project managers to resolve job completion and production conflicts

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