Introduction to operations management
Introduction to operations management

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Introduction to operations management

1 What is the role of operations management?

Imagine some of the challenges of running a large restaurant. Each day the restaurant manager has to ensure hundreds of customers are served on time with food of good quality while maintaining a friendly, helpful service. They are responsible for a team of employees ranging from chefs to front of house waiters etc., checking that the employees arrive on time and work effectively. Operations managers are responsible for ordering and arranging deliveries of food, drink and other supplies. The building also needs to be utilised and maintained efficiently. This scenario is typical of an operations manager’s role.

The operations management function is usually responsible for a high proportion of an organisation’s assets. Inefficient management of these assets can have very detrimental consequences. In the short term the operation needs to be configured to meet market requirements; this is a challenge in itself. Even bigger challenges can occur during periods of change when new products and services are introduced, new markets are provided for or new technologies are used. It is common for new ideas to be generated outside of operations but it is the role of the operations manager to implement those ideas.

Activity 1: Introduction to operations management

Allow around 50 minutes for this activity

Read ‘Introduction to operations management [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ’ (Walley, 2017).

This reading introduces the input–process–output model that you will explore in the next section, looks in more detail at the responsibilities of operations managers (which is the focus of Section 3), and explores how operations management can impact on an organisation (as discussed in Section 4).


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