Operations management involves the management of all aspects of a company’s production activities. As such, the operation management’s role is critical for an organization because it envisages the planning, execution, and supervision of the production of goods and services. For that matter, operations managers often plan, forecast, implement and optimize production activities aligned to a company’s short and long-term strategies. It is important for operations management’s role to be aligned to the purpose and priorities of an organization. Operations management has evolved due to changing focus on efficiency, quality revolution, and product customization, and is primarily applied to provide better goods, improve supply chains, and reduce operational costs.
Operations management envisages the planning, organizing, and supervising processes and resources, as well as making necessary improvements to enhance the profitability of an organization. The adjustments made in the operations of a company on a daily basis are aimed at supporting an organization’s strategic goals (Piercy, 2012). These adjustments are preceded by deep analysis and examinations of current organization processes. Indeed, operation management is responsible for various organizational activities essential in producing goods and services. Piercy (2012) posits that operations managers control resources like materials, machines, technology, and people. The processes and resources have to be consistent to produce uniform and high-quality goods and services necessary to maintain customer satisfaction.
The Evolution of Operations Management
Operations management evolved significantly in the last century due to a broad array of factors. Foremost, change in focus regarding efficiency led to the evolution of operations management. In the past, goods and services were produced without the support of mechanical equipment (Walker et al., 2015). However, the industrial revolution initiated new production processes that allowed products to be manufactured with more remarkable ease and speed. Operations management has, in this way, grown to incorporate production aspects as a way of enhancing the operational efficiency of organizations.
Quality revolution is another factor that accelerated the evolution of operations management. The need to improve on the quality of products manufactured by companies led to enhanced staff training and the use of statistical tools to identify product defects (Walker et al., 2015). The efforts meant to enhance quality became an obsession with higher-level managers. As such, the operation managers began forecasting, planning, and adjusting processes depending on the prevailing organizational conditions to deliver high-quality goods and services. In this way, operations management evolved as an endeavor aimed at improving the quality of products manufactured.
Product customization and design equally contributed to the evolution of operations management. Companies began to emphasize on innovative design and product features as the goals of low costs and high quality became a norm in companies (Walker et al., 2015). The innovative designs and product features were essential in helping companies gain a competitive advantage. As such, the strategic goal of companies was to fulfill customer needs, as well as offer surprising and delightful products. Per Walker et al. (2015), continuous improvement, an aspect of operations management, emerged as a technique useful in eliminating inflexible production methods. Hence, operations management roles transformed to support companies stay competitive necessitated by consistent production processes.
The Role of Operations Management
Operations management’s role is applied to provide better goods and services. The strategic goal of any for-profit organization is to provide the best goods and services possible (Gölzer & Fritzsche, 2017). For that matter, operations managers learn about production processes from other companies to be able to achieve the mentioned strategic goal. Gölzer & Fritzsche (2017) affirm that the provision of better goods and services will keep customers satisfied and loyal. Moreover, the operations management role is applicable in improving the supply chain. Indeed, robust supply chains ensure prompt delivery of raw materials and finished products. According to Yuen & Thai (2016), there is a substantial benefit of locating companies close to unique resources like materials and workforce. In this case, the strategic goal of enhanced production speed and prompt delivery of products to customers is achieved. Finally, the operations manager’s role is applied to reduce production costs. Piercy (2012) believes that operations managers move production activities to diverse locations to save money. The savings can then be used as capital investments meant to enhance productivity and expand production capacities. Cost control is, therefore, a substantial part of a company’s production strategy that should be managed wisely.
Operations management has evolved in scope, as well as increased with regard to strategic importance to companies. The growth and evolution of operations management are linked to the change in focus with regard to enhancing the efficiency of a company’s production processes. The quality revolution has equally contributed to the growth of operations management as companies attempt to find new ways of satisfying their customers through the delivery of customized and uniquely designed goods and services. Significantly, the operation management’s role is applied to provide better goods to enhance customer satisfaction. Additionally, the role is valuable in improving the supply chain processes to guarantee timely delivery of raw materials and finished products. Companies further apply operations management’s role to control costs to enhance a company’s profitability.
Gölzer, P., & Fritzsche, A. (2017). Data-driven operations management: Organisational implications of the digital transformation in industrial practice. Production Planning & Control, 28(16), 1332-1343.
Piercy, N. (2012). Business history and operations management. Business History, 54(2), 154-178.
Walker, H., Chicksand, D., Radnor, Z., & Watson, G. (2015). Theoretical perspectives in operations management: An analysis of the literature. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 35(8), 1182-1206.
Yuen, K., & Thai, V. (2016). The relationship between supply chain integration and operational performances: A study of priorities and synergies. Transportation Journal, 55(1), 31-50.