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Operations Management Definitions

I am seeking your help with the following questions in order for me to write my individual paper.

1. What is your definition of Operations Management?

2. Give examples and compare/contrast strategic, tactical, and operational decisions. How do they affect a customer's operations?

3. What measures are used to evaluate supply chain efficiency? What are the inputs to those measurements?

4. Compare and Contrast the Make-to-Order, Make-to-Stock, and Hybrid process approaches described in your text.

5. Discuss the cost of quality. Compare and contrast the cost of quality with the cost of not measuring quality. Define process variation. How can reducing process variation improve quality?

6. Discuss why people at different levels of an organization have different definitions of capacity management? Discuss those definitions.

7. Discuss some sources of forecasting error. What ways are there to measure error?

8. The text states that a firm's operations strategy must be aligned and integrated with the corporate strategy. Why do you think this is the case? What do you think would happen if the two strategies were at odds?

9. What are the elements of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)? How can a project schedule be developed from a WBS? What is the importance of the critical path?

10. Define, compare, and contrast Pure, Functional, and Matrix structures. Who has control of project schedule and deliverables? Who has control of resources, the project manager or functional manager, or both?

Solution Preview

Let's take a closer look at the questions from various sources, which you can draw on for your final paper. I also added the links for further expansion on some of the questions. And, where it suggests that you refer to your text, this is also an important consideration for your final paper.


1. What is your definition of Operations Management?

To help you form a definition of operations management for your paer, you can consider the following definitions:

? Operations management is an area of business concerned with the production of quality goods and services, and involves the responsibility of ensuring that business operations are efficient and effective. It is the management of resources, the distribution of goods and services to customers. Operations also refers to the production of goods and services, the set of value-added activities that transform inputs into many outputs.

? Operations management focuses on carefully managing the processes to produce and distribute products and services. Usually, small businesses don't talk about "operations management", but they carry out the activities that management schools typically associate with the phrase "operations management." Major, overall activities often include product creation, development, production and distribution. (These activities are also associated with Product and Service Management. However product management is usually in regard to one or more closely related product -- that is, a product line. Operations management is in regard to all operations within the organization.) Related activities include managing purchases, inventory control, quality control, storage, logistics and evaluations. A great deal of focus is on efficiency and effectiveness of processes. Therefore, operations management often includes substantial measurement and analysis of internal processes. Ultimately, the nature of how operations management is carried out in an organization depends very much on the nature of products or services in the organization, for example, retail, manufacturing, wholesale, etc. (

? Along with finance and marketing, Operations is one of the three primary functions of a firm. Looking at these functions in their most basic form it can be said that Finance contributes capital to the firm, Marketing creates demand for a product, and Operations produces the product. The recurring activities of a firm that make up Operations Management generally span the entireorganization: Chief Operating Officers (COOs) are frequently in charge of Research & Development (R&D), design/engineering, production operations, marketing, sales, support and service. Therefore the realm of operations management expands well beyond just managing factories. Firms may deal with sales and service support, repair services, customer help lines, continuing product development, and any number of varying functions depending on their products. Each of these areas requires a different set of processes, resources, control systems, people and management style. Thus, Operations Management is an essential part of any firm that generates value for customers through manufacturing, logistics, or service delivery. The principles of Operations Management, however, can be much more expansiveand relate to any aspect of an organization that requires resources and processes to operate.(

? In order to gain competitive advantage through operations, this course intends to orient you with the major operational problems and issues that confront managers, and to provide you with language, concepts, insights and tools to deal with these issues. Whether you are a student aiming for a career in designing and managing business processes, either directly (Operations Departments) or indirectly (e.g., management consulting), or you manage interfaces between operations and other business functions such as finance, marketing, managerial accounting and human resources, this course is essential. In addition a working knowledge of Operations, which typically employs the greatest number of employees and requires the largest investment in assets, is essential for general managers and entrepreneurs. (

2. Give examples and compare/contrast strategic, tactical, and operational decisions. How do they affect a customer's operations?

There are 3 levels of decision-making that need to take place in a business for it to operate at its full potential. The three levels are: Strategic, Tactical and Operational.

(a) Strategic decisions deal with the big picture of your business. The focus of strategic decisions is typically external to the business and usually future oriented. Strategic decision-making creates the forward thrust in the business. It includes decisions about:

? What business are you in?
? What is your vision for the business?
? What's your business' identity?
? What do you stand for?
? Which direction is the business headed?
? How will the business compete? (

Corporations often capture their overall business strategy in a "Statement of Intent" and it's an excellent term for describing what strategic decision-making is. Too often people confuse strategic decisions with tactical decisions and fail to really examine the big picture. It can lead to stagnation in the business and an inability to move forward. (

(b) On the other hand, tactical decisions involve the establishment of key initiatives to achieve the overall strategy. For example, if you have decided to be the Number 1 provider in your market (a strategic decision) then you will develop tactics (e.g. implement a marketing system, increase number of therapists) to achieve that outcome. In a small business you may have 4 or 5 key tactics that you are going to use to achieve your overall strategy. Again this layer of decision-making can sometimes be overlooked yet it is the glue that creates a strong connection between your long-term vision and your day-to-day activities. Tactical decision-making is the domain of 'mission' statements. Think in terms of the battlefields from which the term has emerged. The overall strategy, that is, what the army is there to do, is to win the war. Then you have a number of 'missions' you send troops on, preferably diplomatic ones, the cumulative effect of which is intended to win the war. (

(c) Operational Decisions deal with the following: 'How will we deploy resources?' In other words, operational decisions determine how activities actually get done. They are the 'grass roots' decisions about who is going to do what and when. It includes:

? How will we spend our money this month?
? How will we service that client?
? What is our procedure for delivering an order?
? Who will be doing quality control?

If you are making decisions involving processes and procedures they are usually operational decisions. Operational decisions are often made in 'real time' and are the result of needing to make quick adjustments or change to achieve the desired outcome. (

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Solution Summary

By fully addressing each question, this solution addresses aspects of Operations Management. References are provided.