Remember the last time you participated in organizing events like Annual Day at college, Cultural fest, threw a house party, or planned a vacation. It required you to envisage processes, plan, organize, delegate, execute, monitor and ensure resources optimization. The same analogy holds good for Operations Management - It is all about processes, planning, execution, supervise, control and deliver the best quality products and services and ensure higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The services sector, today forms the largest chunk of India’s GDP. Sectors like Hotels, Communications, Health Care, Logistics, Airlines, Shipping, Tourism, E-Commerce, Banking and Financial Services, Insurance, Realty, Business Outsourcing, Education, Service aggregators, Information Technology, and more, have increasing dominance and provide innovative offerings.
These newer evolving domains require a logical understanding of business objectives, planning, designing processes, execution, and control. Imagine buying a packet of biscuits, there is a story behind it. There are various entities supplying flour and ingredients, sourced from raw material suppliers, procured by the company, manufactured, transported, warehoused, distributed to shops. All this has little of engineering (making of biscuit) and more understanding of other domains. Similarly, Operations Management in Hospitals involves organizing facilities, inventory of medicines, supplies, procurement, and upkeep of equipment. ITES companies seek Business Analysts, to capture business requirements, design processes, but are not involved in writing computer programs.
Operations Managers need not be Engineers, most important pre-requisites are understanding the business domain, knowledge of organizational activities, generate and implement plans and monitoring budgets. Objectives being, streamlining of processes in a logical manner and optimize the utilization of resources. Ability to adapt using a slew of tools and techniques, requiring elementary quantitative knowledge. The rational application of these techniques, to facilitate decision making is the only critical factor.
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Typical Job Functions:
- Purchase or Procurement Manager - sourcing and buying raw materials, supplies from both local and global markets
- Planning Manager - Demand forecasting, designing processes, identification of resources for the conversion of materials to products and services
- Operations Manager - Overseeing day to day activities, scheduling priorities of tasks
- Inventory and Materials Managers - Ensuring the right amount of materials ordered and stocked to ensure optimal utilization of financial resources and storage
- Production Planning Manager- Planning quantum of products to be produced aligning with demand, to balance the capacities ofmaterials, machines, and manpower available
- Logistics Manager - Planning for warehousing (storing) and transportation of goods to the right locations and in right quantities using an optimal mode of transport
- Business Consultant - Assist in process design, improve the efficiency of processes and bring about enhanced customer experience
- Project Manager - Planning for activities, resources, budgets, execution, monitor, and control
To conclude, Operations Management exists in every industry, it is an analogy with something that we do in our daily lives. It does not need one to be an Engineer, but basic graduation to understand underlying tools, techniques, and concepts, a rational common sense, ability to logically evaluate alternatives, execution of right alternatives, monitor and control, to bring about efficiency and deliver the right quality of products and services.