(Today Business Management week welcomes the GSM Logistics Lecturer Martin Gilbert as our guest blogger. In this article he tells us about the unsung heroes of business – Operations Management.)
Operations Management is probably the least mentioned or considered element in any business context or indeed for any future career opportunity.
Marketing, sales, management, human resources, finance and research and development are all areas of business that are generally explored far more in terms of employment and career opportunities and aspirations. However, the core of every business lies with the operations and the impact they have on the organisation overall.
From the initial idea of a business, operations will provide insight and planning for the location, size and layout of the firm. The location will determine and have a great influence on the business performance and success, whilst the size will have a significant impact on efficiency, management capability and capacity. The layout refers to how both the transformed and transforming resources are allocated and positioned. Again this will have a significant effect on the efficiency, flow of materials and product or service availability to the end user.
When recruitment takes place, the jobs that people are ultimately employed to perform are designed by operations. What to do, how to do it, how long it should take and the end result are all part of the operations activities. The way in which jobs are performed (the process) and how this links to other groups, teams or departments, are all considered as part of the job design for operations.
The design of new products and services are a key objective for all firms and will form part of their strategy to gain competitive advantage. However, the decision about what and how to produce or create will be influenced, not just by sales or marketing, but by the heavy involvement of operations in the design stages. A new product may look to hold promise for increased revenue and brand strength but if the operations cannot produce or create it efficiently and effectively, then the new idea will never be more than that. Interestingly only 5 percent of new ideas progress to the innovation stage.
The integration of process technology and e-business (the way in which we all live our daily lives online) are explored, evaluated, implemented and monitored by operations. Smart technology and the ability to buy and sell through the use of apps on our mobile devices are all examples of process technology and e-business, again integrated into the business via the operations.
The planning and control of the overall operation and all its individual elements would be the responsibility of the Operations manager and the management team, as would the supply, storage and control of inventory. Accountable for customer satisfaction and the reputation of the company, the management team are required to perform at exceptionally high levels with demands being placed on them continuously.
Organisational excellence through project planning, total quality management (TQM) and continuous improvement are delivered by operations in many different ways. The introduction of process and procedure techniques will help the business transform its operational ability and as such offer a wide range of products and services in the most effective and efficient manner.
Employment possibilities within operations are endless and cover everything from the supply network, transportation and distribution, manufacturing, process improvement, CAD design of processes and facilities, and the delivery of final goods and services to the end user. Whether you are a ‘hands on’ person, a strategic thinker or an organiser, operations can provide the perfect career opportunity for you.