Operations management refers to the administration of best business practices in order to achieve the maximum levels of effectiveness and efficiency in terms of the use of company resources. This includes the proper management of materials, machinery, technology and labor to produce high-quality goods and services that will benefit the company.
All those components must be managed properly, from the strategic planning stage, the implementation stage, production supervision, and the final evaluation of outcomes for future innovations, so that the company remains profitable and competitive in its industry. Operations managers have a great responsibility of dealing with strategizing, forecasting, and overseeing daily processes.
Principles of Operations Management
There are ten principles of operations management that should be applied by operations managers. These principles were first presented by Randall Schaeffer, an experienced production and operations manager, an industry philosopher, and a regular speaker at conferences organized by APICS, the leading association of supply chain and operations management in the United States.
Operations managers must focus on problems, not techniques, because there are no tools that provide universal solutions.
Processes in manufacturing are interconnected. All elements must be predictable and consistent, in order to achieve the same outcome in profits.
Operations managers must know how to comply with all basic fundamentals, because this is the key to production success. It is important to ensure the accuracy of inventory data, BOMs, and other general tasks to achieve the desired results.
Variance of processes has to be encouraged, because if managed properly, differences can be a source of creativity.
Sometimes, problems will still arise even when the best efforts have been made. Managers need to find the root cause of the problem so that they won’t get worse.
Employee morale can be a major driver of company growth. Managers must be able to inspire their subordinates to be passionate at work.
No one wants to work with an aggressive know-it-all. Thus, it’s important for operations managers to position themselves as ordinary people who don’t know everything and can also make mistakes.
Managers have to be able to clearly define what they consider successful, so that everyone in the company will have the parameters to work with in the process of achieving targets.
Everyone in the company must learn to adapt to market changes. This includes understanding customers, target clients, and what they want. This of course also involves the use of automated solutions so that the company is always one step ahead.
The Importance of Operations Management
It is no exaggeration to state that all aspects of a business depend on operations management. It has the capacity to plan, direct and encourage the manufacturing of goods and services. To be able to compete in an ever-changing market, operations managers must be able to work efficiently and productively to maximize profits, which are the main determinants of business survival.
Operations management can influence customer service, product and service quality, proper functional methodologies, competitiveness in the market, technological advances, and profitability. Failure to manage the company’s operations will cause significant losses for the business.
Strategies of Operations Management
Operations management functions as the company’s engine room. Since operations managers are involved in many roles and functions, they have developed several important strategies and tactics to ensure the smooth implementation of their obligations and responsibilities. Here are some of the main strategic and tactical methods they rely on:
Savvy operations managers depend on quality, accurate, and reliable data for planning, strategic marketing and decision making. Two types of data analysis commonly used are efficiency and effectiveness metrics.
Controlling Data Challenges
Sometimes, data can be very large and the results vary, making it difficult to compare. Fortunately, with the help of advanced systems and software, managers can see, manage and analyze data more easily and organized.
Inventory will be more easily analyzed if the company uses inventory management software. This tool will also make it easier for managers to categorize their products (known as the ABC analysis).
Operations managers work hard in making the best research, accurate estimates, and the right development of good processes. All these efforts will eventually lead to long-lasting results.
Forecasting and Setting Goals
Setting goals provides direction and motivation to the company and its employees. Forecasting gives hope as well as provides an opportunity for the company to prepare for bad results.
Forecasting requires complete and accurate historical data. Usually, this takes a long time, but thanks to ERP software, this can be done more easily and very quickly.
Collaboration Between Departments
Collaboration between departments is needed so that the finance, sales, marketing and human resources teams can work together in harmony to make improvements for the company. An ERP system enables inter-departmental collaboration by providing centralized information for all departments, making communication easier and more transparent.
Being responsible for the environment as well as the communities that are directly affected by the business are the main concerns that must be taken care of by the company. This is especially true for manufacturers that often deal with waste problems.
Managing employees is very important for your business success since employees are the backbone of your company. Without these people, daily business activities will cease, and your company won’t be able to produce quality goods or services.
Tips for Successful Operations Management
The success of operations management cannot be achieved without the role of a reliable operational manager. Operations managers must not only be adept at managing, but must also be able to become a good leader. They have to be able to inspire and set a good example for employees.
Since operations managers are responsible for planning, projecting, and analyzing various aspects related to production, they are very dependent on the accuracy of the data. With an ERP system, operations managers can generate accurate real-time data related to inventory, production, and sales. This system also allows inter-departmental integration so employees from different divisions (and even locations) can collaborate with each other through the same system.