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Operations Management Primer

by , MBA

Operations are the processes by which inputs (people, capital, and material) combine to produce goods and services. People are labor and management. Capital consists of facilities, equipment, and—recently—intellectual property. Materials include raw materials, semi-finished goods, and intellectual property. Goods are tangible products, while services are intangible products.

Operations management is decision-making that involves design, planning, and control of a huge variety of things that determine the success of operations. Those who manage operations must decide what to produce, what kinds of people to hire and how many of each, what methods to employ to improve output and improve quality, and so on. Their ability to adapt to changing requirements has a direct effect on how successful they will be.

Operations management is part of the larger picture. Other departments—which the operations manager must interact with—may include accounting, engineering, finance, human resources, information systems, maintenance, and sales. To be a successful operations manager—whether at the department level or higher—you must understand the interaction of these different groups. The better you can manage the white spaces on the organizational chart, the more successful you will be.

Here are some other things you need to understand:

  • How to establish goals and objectives that are measurable and achievable
  • Short-range, medium-range, and long-range planning
  • The importance of teamwork and how to foster it
  • The goals of upper management and how they relate to what you are doing—in terms of specific actions
  • The importance of ethics in decision-making
  • The concept of "value-added" and how it affects your products and how you produce them
  • The effect of technology on people and performance
  • The boundaries of goods and services, and how to cross over them
  • The influence of international competition
  • The changing cultural norms and how they affect your workforce
  • The changing nature of information technology and how it affects your business processes—both backoffice and frontline
  • Product safety and liability concerns
  • The effect of product mix on work stability
  • The effect of government
  • Public opinion and its impact on sales
  • Labor relations
  • The effect of economic trends, both short-term and long-term
  • Strategy development and implementation
  • Communications, both inter-company and intra-company

 

Business Articles Index Page

Business Excellence Resources

Accounting

Advertising

Business Finance

Business Plans

Customer Service

Ethics

Franchising

 

 

Inventory Management

Leadership

Legal

Management

Marketing

Negotiating

Operations Management

 

Production Planning

Productivity

Publicity

Sales

Supervision

Teamwork

 

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