Operations management is vital to the success of every business, no matter what the sector and no matter how large or small the company. But what exactly is it? To define operations management, it may be helpful to think about what happens when it is absent. When employees don’t have what they need to get their jobs done, that’s an operational failure. No supplies, not enough information, the wrong equipment…each of these circumstances is an operational failure. Likewise, when a company cannot meet the peaks of high demand or survive the valleys of low demand for its product or service, that is an operational failure, too.

In hospitals, it means delayed care. From the internal flow of materials like medication and equipment to the processing of digital health records, patients’ lives depend on the careful coordination and management of systems at the highest level.

In retail, successful operations management means the difference between capitalizing on a trend and letting one slip by. If your suppliers are unreliable or your production facility cannot expand to meet demand, or your shipping department cannot handle unexpected traffic increases, then your business is not set up to succeed. The day-to-day operations management of a retail business may include managing inventory, employees and costs.

In education, especially higher education, operations management matters for entirely different reasons. Educational institutions cover a diverse set of departments, from facilities and dining to human resources and academic services. All of these areas and more combine to form an institution of higher learning, and a weakness in one area can affect the others.

As you can see, any area of business requires at least some degree of operations management. Knowledge of this important area of business makes you a better candidate for the best executive positions, no matter your field.

How an online MBA can prepare you for a career in operations management

The fundamentals of supply chain management, inventory, capacity planning, and other topics will be covered in any online MBA program. Of course experience matters a great deal, but students who graduate from an online MBA program will have read the research, applied the theoretical models to a variety of business environments, and analyzed the techniques with other professionals…all for the most up-to-date and thorough understanding of this essential area of business.

Learn more about the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi online MBA program.