Every company strives to streamline and perfect its production process. Operational management ties together all the details of staffing, procedures, materials, equipment, inventory and technology. These value chain components must be managed efficiently for a company and its products and services to succeed in the marketplace, where operations management comes in. Today’s companies need leaders educated in up-to-date best practices to ensure consistent product quality, market leadership, lasting customer satisfaction and optimal profitability.
What Is Operations Management?
Operations management connects an organization’s research and development, manufacturing, sales, marketing, business development, customer service and finance. Operations managers or supervisors wear many hats and bring expertise in coordinating between departments as project managers, service managers, supply chain managers and quality control managers. They anticipate and solve problems and must continually fine-tune processes to remove bottlenecks and uncover greater efficiencies. Their work ultimately saves their organizations valuable resources for greater profitability.
A state-of-the-art education and continual professional development enable the operations manager to achieve consistent success over time. Leading employers depend on Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduates to bring these current industry best practices to their organizations:
Business Process Redesign. The business process redesign (BPR) method involves uprooting all main processes to transform a business. If the objectives and output of company production no longer align with changes in the marketplace and needs, a company may consider BPR. This approach requires identifying old methods that are no longer effective, removing them and replacing them with new operations. Though it is a lengthy exercise, once complete, BRP can quickly improve production despite heavily restructuring prior processes. A rapid and dramatic change also reduces maintenance time and the risk of losing customers due to downtime. However, the risks associated with incorrectly implementing BPR are significant, so extensive planning is necessary.
BPR often goes hand-in-hand with reconfigurable manufacturing systems, which involve implementing new hardware and software components. These systems must be able to convert as needs change and are integrated, modular, scalable, customizable and diagnosable.
Upgrade Enterprise Resource Planning Software. Powerful business software with modules for every business function enables professionals to work inter-departmentally through the software. ERP solutions automate or streamline processes, often to match current industry best practices. They provide powerful data analysis capabilities with tools for reporting and monitoring process performance. These systems eliminate redundant data entry, reduce human errors and replace time-consuming communication (phone and email) with real-time information sharing through the software. Often, new operations managers improve processes by upgrading to new, state-of-the-art ERP or business software solutions.
Increase Product and Service Diversity. Mature companies have expansive product lines with diverse products that are not likely to lose market share all at once. By expanding product lines, product cycles overlap and keep revenues more consistent over time. If a product or service in a diverse line is no longer meeting customer expectations, it is easier to improve, pull, deprioritize or reinvent than a product in a limited offering. In addition, as the variety of products and services expands, the total potential market for a company grows. With expanded audiences come new demographics and the potential to target more appealing, niche products.
Improve Visibility and Credibility. Improving the value chain requires paying attention to the marketing, sales and customer service dimensions of the business and integrating them seamlessly with other processes. When sales start to dip, an operations manager must consider the impact that an improvement in visibility and credibility might bring. For example, a new advertising or social media campaign involving influencers could drive demand from existing customers and create interest from new market segments.
Drive Cost-Efficiencies in the Supply Chain. One key to delivering an effective and efficient supply chain is liaising and coordinating closely with all key stakeholders, including logistics providers, transport partners, manufacturers and customer service representatives. When variables change, the equation changes and the operations manager is often accountable for maintaining the highest cost efficiencies. These changes require rethinking resource allocation and utilization to reduce waste and balance business needs, such as quality or quicker deliveries.
The Curriculum Emphasizes Effective Operations Management
Students in the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi online MBA program analyze and synthesize the integration of business functions in complex organizations, diverse cultural settings and the global marketplace. They solve operational problems using current analysis-based decision-making tools and graduate with expertise in business operations. An advanced course in Operations Management introduces operational design and control issues such as forecasting, capacity planning, facility location and layout, quality, JIT/lean philosophies and materials requirement planning. An emphasis on developing an operational strategy linking functional areas makes the program ideal for professionals with aspirations in operational leadership.
Learn more about Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s online MBA program.