Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Professional Development Plan
Operations management is a complex, yet attractive field of study. This module was one of the most value-added modules which the author studied in this MBA program, mainly because it a completely new domain for him. It enables the student to start view operations differently, and pay attention to little details which were not of much interest before.
This post would analyze how the concepts of layout, process technology, job design, planning and control, and capacity planning have influenced the decision making and attitudes of the author, by using relevant examples.
Designing facilities layout whether for manufacturing facilities or for offices is an important part of operations management responsibilities. The author could now understand the value of a suitable layout in improving the performance of the facility, and how it could be connected with the overall strategy of the business. Production volume-variety characteristics, size and shape of the facility, material handling systems, and the dynamic, long-term plan of the facility, all affect the layout decision (Drira, Pierreval & Hajri-Gabouj, 2007).
Every layout design has its advantages and disadvantages, and based on the above factors and others such as the customer contact and perception; operations managers can chose to select a functional, cellular, line, or mixed layout.
Coming from the service domain, the author was interested in understanding layout design options and decision-making within this domain, where the unique characteristics of services need to be considered in the design. By considering the high degree of customer involvement in the service generation; the social and the social symbolic dimensions might gain even more importance in influencing the customer perceptions (Rosenbaum & Massiah, 2011), so they should be incorporated in the layout design process.
Technologies in the current environment are a very important tool to improve the performance of operations, they might even be considered as a competitive advantage. Slack, Brandon-Jones & Johnston (2014) mentioned the key aspects need to be understood by operations managers; what are the characteristics of the new technologies, how they are different from the current ones, show they could benefit the operations of the business, and what are the accompanied risks and constraints of using these new technologies.
The current dynamic environment and the continuously changing demands of customers would affect the operations in many ways, and how the operations would respond to this environment is critical for business survival. One way to respond to this issue is through the use of process technologies, as the capability to customize product is related to the level of process technology implemented in to enable the product design modifications (Marsillac & Roh, 2014) to achieve the current trends of simultaneous flexibility and complexness in the final products.
The author decision-making and attitude towards process technologies were negative in the past and always exhibited strong change resistance. However, it is clear now that changes must be done and evaluating the roles of new technologies and what they could offer to the business is very important to provide customers with flexible products and services.
The job design is an important aspect in ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency. Many factors affect job design; task allocation, using scientific approach to job design, flexibility in the working environment, team-work, ergonomic design of the workplace, and the consideration of individual behavior (motivation) (Slack, Brandon-jones & Johnston, 2014).
Previously, aspects such as flexibility in time and location were never considered by the author as important factors, but the new communication technologies and the global business environment should of course influence how operations managers perceive these factors, which might contribute to better performance from the employees.
Campion & Thayer (1987) stated four approaches to job design; mechanistic, motivational, biological, and perceptual. Of all the four approaches only the motivational one take into consideration the social aspect of the job design, but each of them have positive and negative influences with regards to productivity, efficiency, innovation, motivation, errors probability, medical incidents, and cost.
The author would take all of these factors into consideration when a job design is required from him, and depending on the actual job, the employee personality, and the organizational goals, would formulate a balanced model to design the jobs needed.
Planning & control are two very inter-related concepts in operations, while planning would formulate plans to reach the operations objectives in the long-term, medium-term and short-term future, and control would be practiced to ensure that the set objectives are met, and any unforeseen changes in the internal or external environment are coped with (Slack, Brandon-Jones & Johnston, 2014).
The author acknowledges that control measures are not identified or performed well within his organization, and plans need to be monitored more closely. Identifying bottlenecks hindering the plans and eliminating them is what control is all about, to make sure the processes run as close to the plans as they could.
Identifying seasonal changes in demand and capacity is an important responsibility of operations managers. Mostly every operation have a seasonality characteristic, where demands and capacity change over the months, days, or even hours.
The author could recognize from the readings in the past four weeks that capacity planning and control are of huge importance to keep customers satisfied. Several practices could be evaluated in a response of demands variance, some of them are mentioned by Meredith (1992, cited by Adenso-Díaz, González-Torre & Garcia, 2002) such as; overtime strategy, hire temporary staff, hire part-time staff, subcontracting, have stock ready prior to the demand period, customer participation, price varying, and promotions and advertisements campaigns. Many practices of them would enhance the operations performance during peak seasons, and others would enhance it during off-seasons.
The author could see clearly how this module would improve his understanding, attitudes and decision-making processes towards about the above mentioned concepts. He realizes that most of these concepts are inter-related and influence each other, and that force operations management practitioners to always view their responsibilities holistically.
Adenso-Díaz, B., González-Torre, P. & Garcia, V. (2002) ‘A capacity management model in service industries’ International Journal of , 13(3-4), pp. 286-302, Scopus, EBSCOhost [Online]. Available from: DOI: 10.1108/09564230210431983 (Accessed: 20-June-2015).
Campion, M.A. & Thayer, P.W. (1987) ‘Job design: Approaches, outcomes, and trade-offs’ Organizational Dynamics, 15(3), pp. 66-79, ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost [Online]. Available from: DOI: 10.1016/0090-2616(87)90039-8 (Accessed: 24-June-2015).
Drira, A., Pierreval, H. & Hajri-Gabouj, S. (2007) ‘Facility layout problems: A survey’ Annual Reviews in Control, 31(2), pp.255-267, ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost [Online]. Available from: DOI: 10.1016/j.arcontrol.2007.04.001 (Accessed: 12-June-2015).
Marsillac, E. & Roh, J. (2014), 'Connecting product design, process and supply chain decisions to strengthen global supply chain capabilities', International Journal Of Production Economics, 147(part B), pp. 317-329, ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost [Online]. Available from: DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpe.2013.04.011 (Accessed: 24-June-2015).
Rosenbaum, M.S. & Massiah, C. (2011) 'An expanded servicescape perspective', Journal of Service Management, 22 (4), pp. 471-490, Social Sciences Citation Index, EBSCOhost [Online]. Available from: DOI: 10.1108/09564231111155088 (Accessed: 24-June-2015).
Slack, N., Brandon-Jones, A. & Johnston, R. (2014) Operations management, 7th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education.
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