Essay: Operations Management

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SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] As each of these three strategic areas of a business have their own unique scheduling and time requirements, OM-based techniques, frameworks and enterprise-wide taxonomies to align them becomes even more important.

Evaluating the Importance of Operations Management and the Role of the Operations Manager

The many strategic benefits of OM can be seen in the success of market leaders in highly competitive industries. The dominance of General Electric in nearly every market they compete in, generating first or second-largest market shares, or the dominance of Wal-Mart in retail based on their supply chain, logistics and retailing prowess are cases in point. These enterprises and others like them didn't become that successful by accident; they each have a very clear strategic vision for OM, and have taken the time to continually improve the frameworks they rely on to attain their objectives.

From the strategic planning using OM techniques to making the continual improvements resonate throughout an enterprise, OM professionals need to be well-versed in a variety of advanced techniques (Banker, Khosla, 1995). These include decision modeling and analysis, optimization and stochastic modeling, logistics and supply chain optimization and planning, simulation and system dynamics, and insights into information systems and design including evaluation (Fisher, 2007) (Holmstrom, Framling, Ala-Risku, 2010). These are the core skill sets that are essential for any enterprise to translate its OM vision into reality.

The importance of OM then is in its ability to galvanize together the value chain of a business and make its operation as efficient, streamlined and tightly integrated yet agile enough to withstand economic threats and seize economic opportunities (Fisher, 2007). This may appear to be a balance between systems and process areas yet in actuality is a highly synchronized strategy that seeks to align with and ensure customer expectations accurately and completely over time. Paradoxically many OM strategies fail because they prioritize internal metrics of performance over customer-centric ones (Holmstrom, Framling, Ala-Risku, 2010). Exceptional OM strategies seek to ensure clarity and visibility across the entire strategic framework of a business while also creating a highly effective series of processes for attaining and keeping agility as a core competitive strategy.

The Role of Operations Management in the UAE

According to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Factbook, industry (inclusive of manufacturing and logistics) is the largest percentage of the United Arab Emirates' Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 56%. Services contribute 43.2% of GDP and agriculture, .8%. The importance of operations management in the UAE economy is clear based on the distribution of GDP by economic sector alone. When the distribution of the labor force is taken into account, the importance of operations management becomes even more pronounced. 78% of the UAE workforce is employed by services businesses, and just 15% by industry, with the remaining 7% being employed in agriculture. 56% of GDP is being generated by just 15% of those employed, which further accentuates the need for highly effective operations management leadership, processes and performance. With so few citizens working in the most important economic sector of the UAE economy, every business needs to get the most value from their limited resources. This also underscores why operations management is so critical for the UAE's global economic competitiveness.

The UAE also plays a strategic role in global logistics, supply chain, fulfillment, production, and fulfillment and in heavy equipment industries, Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO). These sub-segments of the UAE economy are highly related from a value chain standpoint, and therefore are influenced extensively by OM concepts, strategies, analytics, and outcomes. The balancing of change management, visionary leadership and the need for a solid foundation of OM concepts including those defined through management science that seek to optimize process performance need to be included in the national strategy for UAE. The ministries responsible for trade and commerce need to actively seek out OM-based training and certification to further support the most critical sector of the country's economy, which is industry and manufacturing. The UAE needs to continually improve and strengthen its OM capability as 15% of the workforce is responsible for over half of its total GDP output as a country. The strategic nature of UAE in global manufacturing value chains and supply chains further underscores the need for OM to be a core strength of the employee base of the nation as well.

Conclusion

One of the most potent competitive differentiators any business has to rely on is its ability to continually innovate at the process, product and system level. OM -- based techniques provide enterprises with the ability to orchestrate the design, production and continual evolution from product from the supply chain level (Geoffrion, 2002). There is also the need for organizations to manage OM as a galvanizing platform that puts tactical requirements into context of strategic initiatives, concentrating on how best to manage the need for agility on one hand and stability on the other. The highest-performing corporations globally are using OM-based techniques to balance the utilization of services and coordination of systems to meet and exceed customer expectations. From the tactical requirements of plant layout and structure, including project and program management to the broader aspects of inventory management, quality control and managing complex supply chains, OM-based techniques provides insights into how enterprises can become more competitive over time.

References

Banker, R.D., & Khosla, I.S. (1995). Economics of operations management: A research perspective. Journal of Operations Management, 12(3), 423.

Fisher, M. (2007). Strengthening the empirical base of operations management. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 9(4), 368-382.

Fuller, J.A., & Mansour, A.H. (2003). Operations management and operations research: A historical and relational perspective. Management Decision, 41(4),… [END OF PREVIEW]

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