Evolution of Operations Management: Navigating the Shifting Paradigms Towards a Sustainable Future

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Operations Management

It’s time to re-imagine what we gauge when we talk about “action”. Performance is not just production. Action is and always has been what gives an organization the opportunity to act & to create value for its customers, and to achieve value for our shareholders, moreover, share value with your ecosystem. In the era of everyday digital technologies, operations are increasingly enabling organizations, increasingly modular, connected and distributed, increasingly focused technology and availability of information.

The activity has always existed in some form since ancient times. Over the years, the activity, at least in the industry, has changed dramatically and passed through three main phases, which are craft production, mass production and the new age.

Handmade production involved highly skilled workers making small quantities with simple tools to meet the specific needs of individual customers. In the craft production system, workers mostly work in their homes or in small workshops, and at that time there was little competition due to the low production.

The development of operations management based on changes in production and operating methods can be summarized as follows:

Channelize on efficiency

When we automate and digitize processes, OEMs can make their field operations much more efficient. For example, they can digitize manual processes and paper documentation and replace clipboards with smart devices.

They can also use advanced analytics to sort the job reports and identify best practices, which can then be standardized across the organization.

And they define performance management metrics and create action-oriented workflow to improve performance.

A revolution in quality

From the beginning of the 20th century, controllable production processes and operations were initiated to ensure product quality. Manufacturing companies focused on related productivity and production costs. Consequently, the quality concept and control were product oriented.

The influence of the CWQC (company‐wide quality control), combined with the competitiveness and strategic advantages of Japanese industries, facilitated their entry into Western markets.

From the late 1990s to today, the traditional concept of quality has undergone several changes. In the United States, the Department of Commerce launched the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) in 1987 as a benchmark against Japan’s Deming Award to promote the adoption of TQM (Total Quality Management) in industry and non-profit organizations.

Personalization and Built-to-order

In personalization, organizations use data to tailor messages to user preferences. It aims to make consumers feel special and create positive experiences for them. In the future, customization will continue to develop. Advances in AI, analytics, and data have created new frontiers for marketers. Physical spaces are “digitized”, empathy scales, and brands use ecosystems to personalize travel.

MTO, or Build To Order, removes companies’ reliance on consumer demand forecasts, which can sometimes be inaccurate and misleading. Instead, it focuses on real demand and eliminates the risk of out-of-date inventory.

Advanced planning and scheduling software have become a necessity for today’s manufacturing operations as customer demand for greater product variety, rapid delivery and cost pressures become overwhelming. Implementing Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) software will take your manufacturing operations to a new level of manufacturing efficiency by leveraging the operational information already in your ERP system. APS is a step in the right direction to increase efficiency and light output.

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Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is the space between physical and virtual reality. AR provides an interactive view of the real world using computer-generated elements. These elements may include audio, video, graphics, and other digital content that changes because of user activity.

The following can be achieved with augmented reality:

  1. Enhanced training opportunities.
  2. Better inventory visibility.
  3. Improve warehouse efficiency.
  4. Advanced delivery.

Augmented reality is becoming the new normal for supply chain management, offering ways to combine real-world situations and digital innovation to complete traditional tasks faster and more efficiently. As the industry adapts to the new reality created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and companies look to build better defenses against future disruptions, AR provides key opportunities to reduce risk in their supply chain.

Risk Management

A strong operational risk management program communicates to customers and stakeholders that the company is prepared to deal with disasters and losses. This trust creates trust and a strong competitive advantage, resulting in:

  1. Better product performance and better brand awareness
  2. Strong relationships with customers and stakeholders
  3. Increase investor confidence.
  4. Better performance reporting
  5. A more sustainable economic forecast

                Since the progression of Operations Management globally, building effective risk management skills is key to enabling better business decisions. Senior management use necessary and adept tools to gain a competitive advantage by improving business operations and business continuity.

You may also be interested in reading: Divergence of Global Sustainability Bond Issuance – Pivoting Use-of-Proceeds in a Value Creation ESG Era

A Green Supply Chain

A sustainable supply chain is one where ethical and sustainable practices are fully integrated into a competitive and successful model. Ethical supply chain practices have become an immediate priority for companies, compliance goals and sustainability criteria are also aligning. The UN Global Compact has set 10 criteria to measure supply chain sustainability. These include environmental responsibility, labor practices, human rights, and corruption. These principles are based on the understanding that socially responsible practices and products are not only good for people and the planet.

In collaboration with advertising, accounting, human resources, and other departments, the operations management team will be able to obtain critical and accurate data. The goal is  that focusing on the central issues of OM will soon push researchers and  practitioners alike beyond existing technologies and  provide a catalyst for the development of new technologies.

Central to business success, Operations Management is a cornerstone at Westford Uni Online. In addition to integrating Operations modules across MBA programs, the institution proudly presents a specialized triple-crown offering: MBA with Operations and Project Management. This program elevates theoretical understanding and hones managerial expertise, empowering professionals to advance in roles as adept project and operations managers. Enriched with contemporary theories like Sustainability, Business, and International Marketing, it offers a comprehensive perspective on the vital skills sought after in the dynamic realm of Operations and Project Management.

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