Operations Management

Assembled by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD

Operations management focuses on carefully managing the processes to produce and distribute products and services. Major, overall activities often include product creation, development, production and distribution. (These activities are also associated with Product and Service Management.) Related activities include managing purchases, inventory control, quality control, storage, logistics and evaluations of processes. 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 the products or services in the organization, for example, on retail, manufacturing or wholesale.

Sections of This Topic Include

Control and Coordinating Function of Management
Product and Service Management
Quality Management
Inventory Management
Supply Chain Management
Logistics and Transportation Management
Facilities Management
Configuration Management
Distribution Channels
Enterprise Resource Planning

General Resources

Also see
Related Library Topics

Procurement (Purchasing) Practices

This topic reviews guidelines for buying various materials from suppliers and vendors -- materials, including computers, services from lawyers, insurance, etc.
Procurement (Purchasing) PracticesAn Introduction to Supply Chain Management
Smart Vendor Audit Checklist
Bartering Your Services or Products
Setting Supplier Cost Targets: -- Beyond the Basics (excellent overviews of various aspects)

Management Control and Coordinating Function

Management control and coordination includes a broad range of activities to ensure that organizational goals are consistently being met in an effective and efficient fashion.
Control Function of Management (includes major activities to ensure goals are being met)

Product and Service Management

As noted above, the major activities involved in product and service management are similar to those in operations management. However, operations management is focused on the operations of the entire organization, rather than managing a product or service.
Product/Service Mgmt (product creation, development, production and distribution and sales)

Quality Management

Quality management is crucial to effective operations management, particularly continuous improvement. More recent advancements in quality, such as benchmarking and Total Quality Management, have resulted in advancements to operations management as well.
Quality Management (especially continuous improvement, benchmarking and re-engineering)

Inventory Management

Costs can be substantial to store and move inventory. Innovative methods, such as Just-in-Time inventory control, can save costs and move products and services to customers more quickly.

Basics About Inventory Control and Management

Inventory control system
Models for Inventory Control
Association for Operations Management
RFID Solutions
Inventory System Basics

Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management
The Seven Deadly Supply Chain Sins
Considering a Third Party for Supply Chain Management
The Sustainable Supply Chain
Supply Chain Optimization: Learn How to Reduce Logistics Costs

General Resources About Inventory Control and Management

American Production and Inventory Control Society
Center for Inventory Management

Software Packages

You can often get a software package that will help you manage your inventory. Usually, these packages are primarily for accounting. See
Accounting Software

Logistics and Transportation Management

Logistics is focused on the flow of materials and goods from suppliers, through the organization and to the customers, with priority on efficiency and cost effectiveness.
Business relocation checklist
Want to outsource logistics? Here's what you should know (free registration required for article)

General Resources About Logistics and Transportation

Transportation and Logistics Links
another extensive list of logistics and transportation links
Glossary of Supply Chain Terms

Also see:

Telecommuting (working from home)

Facilities Management

Effective operations management depends a great deal on effective management of facilities, such as buildings, computer systems, signage, lighting, etc.
Facilities Management (managing facilities, offices, buildings, signage, lights, etc.)

Configuration Management

It's important to track the various versions of products and services. Consider the various versions of software that continually are produced, each with its own version number. Tracking these versions is configuration management.
Configuration Management

Distribution Channels

The means of distribution depend very much on the nature of the product or service.

Enterprise Resource Planning

Enterprise resource planning refers to using a software application to integrate multiple internal and external functions of a business. By facilitating the flow of information between human resources, accounting, inventory control, and other assets, planning and decision making can be made easier.

General Resources About Enterprise Resource Planning

Enterprise Resource Planning
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) - Benefits and drawbacks of ERP
Cost-Cutting Software Targets Small Business
Practical Resources for Enterprise Resource Planning Implementation
3 Steps For Effective Change Management in ERP Implementation

Also see
Project Management

(NOTE: The major functions of operations management are all referenced from above.)

General Resources

Operations Management Division of the Academy of Management
Difference between Operations Managers and General Managers
Linking Innovation and Operations

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