For the success of an organization, the management crew plays a major role. An organizational structure is based on different operational parameters and in order to perform all the operations, it is mandatory to scrutinize every major aspect related to the organizational strategy. Keeping the significance of operation management under consideration, different authors have developed different concepts and hence promulgated all of them in order to indicate all the major aspects that can define what the operation management is and how it helps an organization in achieving high level of success. This paper is basically about how proper operation management helps an organization in performing different tasks strategically. For this purpose, the analysis is done from different perspectives.
The first part of the paper gives an overview of what is operation management and for this purpose; different definitions promulgated by different authors have been cited as evidence. The second part of the paper throws light upon the role of an operational manager and what strategic efforts enables him to perform his duty effectively. The third part of the paper identifies the relationship of operation management with other core functions and for this purpose, the case studies of Heathrow International Airport and Nestlé UK Chocolate Factory have been elaborated. Hence, the entire paper indicates how effective operation management affects the progress graph of the company in one way or other. However, before elaborating how the manager performs his job, it is mandatory to throw
1.1.Definition of operation management
Operation management can be considered as one of the most significant factors responsible for any country’s economic growth. As service sector has observed mass development and changes, the very concept of operation management emerged with a focus on economic efficacy in manufacturing. The traditional concept of manufacturing was otherwise limited to concept of production management only. The manufacturing capabilities have been advanced through innovative procedures and techniques, new materials and facilities as numerous challenges and opportunities have been posed by rapid development in technology sector. It thus gave rise to development and management of a service system which could effectively resolve major challenges for global competitive environment (Heizer, Jay H. and Render, Barry, 2008). Around the world, operation management has now been considered as major business procedure for productivity and improvement.
Organisations have become more vigilant in acquiring operation management procedures and techniques to achieve their objectives with minimum resources and efforts. (R. Pannerselvam, 2004) defined operation management as a system which an organisation employs within its framework to transform a wide range of inputs into the desired outputs (services) by achieving its requisite level of quality. Operation management transforms by combining several resources which are being used in organisation’s operation subsystem into value added products and services. Undoubtedly this has to be a controlled process and it should follow the policies of organisation, therefore the whole concept of operation management works as integrated and interrelated management activities. These management activities are sometimes limited to manufacturing of certain products which is called production management, but when the same idea is extended to effective service management, then resultant sum of management procedures is called as operation management.
Resources, transformation, systems and value addition activities are some key factors which represents a broader picture of operation management within an organisation. Resources are material, capital and human inputs to the process of production. Material resources include materials and physical facilities such as inventories, supplies and plant equipment etc. capital resources include bonds, stock and/or taxes which can be used to regulate flow of associated resources. Human resource is sum of intellectual capabilities of managers, technical and non-technical staff and is considered as most vital asset of the organisation.
Transformation is basically the process of combining resources for obtaining higher value goods and services than original inputs under controlled conditions. Systems depict an arrangement of multiple components developed to obtain require objectives of the plan. Business systems contain personal, finance, engineering and operation, functioning altogether for integrity of organisation. Value addition activities ensure to increase organisations’ productivity ratio and give more value to the products (Waters, C. D. J. (1991). After reviewing different definitions promulgated by different experts, the next part of the paper will analyze the role of an operational manager in an organization.
1.2.The role of Operation Manager
Operation managers of any organisation are concerned with planning, systemizing and controlling the action which impact human behaviour with the help of models. Planning helps in establishing action plan for the organisation and provide future-decision making. It is thus duty of operation manager to define the objectives and goals for the operations and it’s subsystems of the organisation. They need to design procedures and policies in order to achieve those objectives. This stage embraces the clarification of role and focus of certain operations into organisation’s overall strategy. Product and services planning conversion process and facility designing are also included in the planning. The establishment of authority and tasks and other related activities fall under the head of organizing. The flow of information and structure of roles are being established by the operation managers within operation subsystems. It is their responsibility to determine the attributes essential for goals achievement and they need to assign the responsibility and authority to carry them out (Joseph, G. Monks, 2004).
Other prime responsibilities of operation managers include transforming inputs into the outputs. To devise an effective production plan, say, which employs capacity, knowledge of production facility and materials is prime responsibility of an operation manager. They are supposed to schedule and control the system demands in order to retain require services and/or produce desired goods. They need to evaluate quality inventory levels, cost etc. to maintain the quality associated with goods and services. They are obliged to regulation of systems and resources within the organisation thus maintaining transformation and effective value addition activities. Operation managers are required to observe parameters which may affect the human behaviors. They need to evaluate models and frameworks of an effective operation management within an organisation (Slack et al).
As operation management is primarily concerned with the accomplishment of both resource utilization and satisfactory customer services, operation managers are supposed to maximize both and maintain an overall satisfactory performance of the organisation. Sometimes there is improvement in customer satisfaction while deterioration in resource utilization. To overcome any such activity, operation managers are trained to tackle such conflicts and they need to find and implement a balance for the organisation in order to achieve its basic objectives. The principle customer service objective is strongly dependent upon services of an en enthusiastic and able operation manager (S. Anil Kumar, N. Suresh, 2008).
The next part of the paper will discuss the relationship of operation management with the core functionalities of the organization. 1.3.Relationship of operation management with other core functions
One of the most significant functions that operation management plays in an organisation that it defines the ways for strategic planning of an organisation. As strategic planning is concerned with organisation’s decisions and remedies for certain environmental and business conditions, operation management provides road map for strategic planning for the organisation and eases the way with help of fundamental concepts.
The scope of operation management is not limited to transformation of inputs into the outputs by utilising physical resources thus achieving successful customer satisfaction along with efficiency, development and adoptability for the organisation, but it is deeply associated with other core functions of an organisation such as marketing, finance, personnel etc. It also include product design, quality control, maintenance management, location of facilities, materials management, planning and product control, process design and many other core and support functions. The modern concept of operation management is very dynamic and promising and it evidently brings outstanding results for an organisation working under controlled environment (Dilworth, James B., 1999).
Following are two cases studies that indicate how proper operation management strategy helps the organization in achieving its ultimate objectives. In this regard, the Heathrow International Airport and Nestle UK Chocolate Factory have been taken a evidence.
2.1.Heathrow International Airport
Heathrow International Airport is the UK’s only hub airport. Around 5,500 people have been employed by the BAA at Heathrow of which 25% employees perform operational, customer service and maintenance roles. Other 75% are in security and head office functions. In addition, BAA has some 65% interest and it operates the Naples Airport. These figures show the need and significance of operation management within framework of Heathrow International Airport. An insight into Heathrow’s planning and preparation and its outstanding level of services and commitment will explain operation management practices being observed by the organisation. For example, winter resilience enquiry recently examined and implemented by operation management ensures its ability to provide excellent services and support given to passengers and employees during severe weather conditions, (Heathrow, 2011).
The winter resilience initiative was carried out by operation management teams through expert peer review and extensive quality assurance. Teams studied and learned from Dallas Fort Worth, Madrid and Minneapolis-St. Paul airports which possess strong reputation for passenger welfare, airport operations and the clearance of snow. The devised plan for Heathrow was being examined and peer reviews helped it to carry out one of the most effective operation management tasks. For this, Heathrow had invested marvelously in acquiring innovative equipment which could effectively clear the airfield in reduced time. The equipment included taxiways, airside roads, runways, stands etc. and were used for the disposal of collected ice and snow. This one task brought the Heathrow airport to fully operational status. It in fact appointed a full-time operations manager for winter that is responsible for Airport’s winter readiness controlled. The regular refinement and review of organisation’s plans distinguishes it from other leading airports all over the world, (Heathrow, 2011).
2.2.Nestlé UK Chocolate Factory
Nestlé’s brand and product portfolio ranges from local favorites to global icons. The products are supported by vigorous research and development facility, focused driving renovation and innovation, and with clear priorities which is attractive and relevant for consumers. Nestlé’s desire in becoming a leader of renovation and innovation, whether of systems, processes or products define the role of governing operation management body which gives its product an entire new and refreshing aspect. From brand effectiveness to effective supply chain, from farm to the fork, nestle UK chocolate factory ensured best production and operation management. Best raw materials are being used in the preparation of chocolate and other products. For operations needs, nestle has set four pillars for effective operation management which include; increasing effectiveness and efficiency, operational efficiency, improved quality and elimination of waste.
For continuous excellence and to make most innovative and appreciated products in most efficient way, nestle has implemented these four pillars into its operational management structure. The product and operational excellence has been given utmost importance all because Nestle ensures to provide its consumers with delightful products whenever and wherever they need them. Customer satisfaction is undoubtedly complimentary in consumer product market and Nestle has significantly earned it through continuous planning and operational excellence besides giving its products the desired and unmatched taste and nutrition, (Nestle, 2011).
3.Major Understandings of the study
Major understandings of the study suggest that operation management is, by far, one of the most significant aspects of any organisation’s development and economic growth. It provides enormous value to the resources of the organisation and adds value to them. The resources and investments of any organisation need to be utilized in more effective way for on-going progress. Furthermore, strategic planning division works hand-in-hand with operation management as it provides sustainable grounds for effective and efficacious planning and preparation. Indeed no organisation can survive without future plans and policies that define its objectives and goals and its overall competitive market value. Operation management thus promises sustainable future for the organisations and procures enormous economic growth under controlled conditions (Everett, E. Adam, Jr.Ronald J.Ebert, 1994).
Another great aspect of operation management is its ability of giving added value to products and services of the organisation. It is aimed at increasing the efficiency of the products and services by minimizing the circumstances that may prevent organisations to achieve great market value for their products and services. As it is clear as crystal that today’s competitive environment demands higher level of excellence and efficiency from manufacturers and service providers, organisations should concentrate more and more on improving their standards. This can only be done through sustainable operation management plans and procedures.
Furthermore, operation management not only serves as great tool in improving standards and adding value to goods and services, it has been proved as cost reduction tool within the framework of organisations. Great amount of capital and resources could be saved by implementing a resourceful and sustainable operation management plan which will ultimately turn the organisation into leading brand. To earn a competitive advantage in business sector, one needs to overlook every aspect that could affect it either positively or negatively. Only then unmatched products and excellent services can be manufactured and being provided (Hill, Terry, 1993).
Operation management works in combination to several support and core functions of the organisation. It also increases the potential and performance of those areas where strategic and effective operation handling is essential. The scope of operation management is never dying and it embraces internal and external factors associated with business of any organisation. From manufacturing to supply, from marketing to customer satisfaction, from financing to human resource, operation management has its deep roots in the organisation’s framework (S. Anil Kumar, N. Suresh, 2008).
Two case studies helped in understanding the role of operation management and how it can be utilized in improving overall performance of the organisations. Heathrow Airport is among world’s leading organisations that provide its customers with excellent services and it managed to sustain that position through years by effective operation management procedures. It has assigned one fourth of its employees to operational tasks which ensures greatest level of quality service. On the other hand, Nestlé’ employed a tremendous operation management task force to maintain its brand value. It is evident of the fact why nestle consumers prefer its products over other brands. It has successfully achieved a competitive advantage over other foods and beverage companies operating all over the world through systemic and devoted operation management and planning.
Concluding, the most significant role operation management plays is ensuring greater levels of customer satisfaction for the organisations for their brands, products and services. Customer satisfaction is utmost objective of any organisation and it will require that organisation to develop, implement and manage a sustainable operation management plan that could work in vicinity of other necessary activities and operations. Operation managers at organisations have the utmost responsibility in promising desired levels of satisfaction among consumers and customers thus fulfilling requirements for achieving basic objectives for the organisation. Their role in economic development is as essential as organisation’s survival in the competitive environment (Chambers et al, 2007)
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