CURRENT TRENDS AND PRACTICES IN MODERN OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT.
Operations management is the management of activities leading up to products or services that improve value to the customer. Operations management is not a new practice but it is evolving in form of practice and modernity is bringing about new trends that are being incorporated into operations. The following is a few.
- High quality products over a short time.
In the past, high quality products took a long time to produce. They insisted on quality time to produce quality items. A spanner has been thrown in the works and operations are improving and in the near future we will get to enjoy good products without necessarily waiting for long procedures. Fast production will lead to creation of a variety of products giving the customers options to choose from.
Companies benefit from it as well because they get to produce a lot of goods at once that they can ship to other countries. In often instances, fast production translates to fast returns and plummeting profits for the company.
- Brain storming by employees.
In the recent past, the employees did what the boss commanded. The boss was the ultimate say and handled all decisions and solved all problems alone. This was tiresome and as you can guess employees felt oppressed and demotivated as their say did not matter to anyone. It was also difficult for top management to get their employee’s perspectives and often ignored the challenges they faced because they were not well informed.
The new trend of listening to employee input is a light at the end of the tunnel. Companies all around the world are adopting employees in decision making and brainstorming ideas with them and in most cases, new inventions have been made and existing products substantially improved. Solutions to employee problems have been found and workspaces have now found life as employees are satisfied with an improved work environment. Happy employees often translate to improved products and services and the profits rise. This has been effective in both small organizations and large corporations
- Environmental responsibility.
Like all trends, every corporation worth its name is claiming to be a part of Corporate Environmental Responsibility. Most of them are doing this to seem competitive and cut themselves a favor by impressing their surrounding community. The corporations have formerly been accused of degrading the environment and leaving the areas full of waste. In this new trend they are striving to clean up both their reputation and the environment they are responsible for. Governments all over the world are putting up policies towards environmental protection and put
Companies are undertaking environmental responsibility for various reasons;
- It makes sense that sustainability reduces the overall cost.
- A company is able to attract new customers who care about the company’s environmental blue print.
- The managements want to be part of the top cream leaders who care about the environment.
- Employees are excited to work for a bigger cause and the environment is the current exciting trend.
- Companies are also seeking publicity by improving the company image and seeking goodwill from the society about them.
- Companies are also seeking to save natural resources so that they can sustain their future input.
- A company can also use it as a competitive advantage over other companies.
- A focus on the environment will help new innovations by the corporates creating opportunities for better revenues.
A company can go green in its production and marketing strategies and take up responsibility on wildlife and forest protection without being asked to and without being forced in to it.
Versatility of products
The current markets are getting competitive by the day. New innovations are being launched daily and operations management in every corporation is striving to do better. They are doing this by increasing the numbers of different types of products and high quality ones at that in the race to attract the highest number of customers. Satisfied customers especially those that are spoilt for choice will be loyal to a brand. It is a trend that is not going away any time soon and companies are adding to their list of products almost annually. This ensures that loyal customers do not have to try out other brands when they are spoilt for choice within their brand of preference. Versatile but related products for example cosmetics make sense when they are produced within the same organization to save on costs and the need for diverse technologies.
Many companies are adopting e-operations in the quest to reach the ends of the earth. In the process of attracting customers from across the world, more and more companies are adopting e-operations especially in the shipping of their products. A variety of operations will be undertaken to ensure that a customer gets exactly what they requested within reasonable time limits. All operations are done mainly by use of portals. E-operation systems aid the company to hire statements, schedule easily, and easily receive payments and process cargo requests. This is often the answer to companies that are looking towards globalizing their products.
In 1923, Henry Ford stated that: “If there is something you cannot do more effectively, cheaper and better than competitors, there is no point in doing it, and you should hire someone who can do the task better than you.” (Spector, 2012)
Years later, the statement that Ford made is making more sense and companies are embracing outsourcing. It makes little sense to continue struggling as a company to develop a product that your company is not very good at. It is advisable to give the tender to another company that is excellent at producing it. This in the long run helps save on time and reduce frustration levels creating a better work space. It also helps the organization to focus on developing other products that they are excellent at to produce powerful end products. This also ensures a company long term business partners, improves the focus of the company, shares risk between companies and maximizes on resources.
Outsourcing needs to be taken seriously and various activities can be carried out to ensure that it is successful.
- A clear vision needs to be set and the goals of both companies need to complement each other for good results.
- Finding proper partners is essential because non committed ones can cost the company time as well as resources.
- Be careful with the treatment of employees and partners alike to ensure profitability.
- Have a good and open communication network to ensure transparency.
- Have senior management at par in terms of decision making.
Agility in business
Management needs to embrace changes in their marketing and product development it is especially important in the organization because it helps in fast product delivery, increases customer satisfaction, improves the quality of products. Being agile in an organization means that it can absorb changes and make them work fast. The decision to be made affect the employees as well as the partners and customers, it may affect processes, data in the organization and may need a change of technology as well as the older technology is replaced by newer, faster technology. New threats may occur and should therefore be addressed in good time to increase the opportunities in the competitive market. Business agility is essential for fast paced businesses that have no qualms about finishing up on one project and moving on to other project. Most of their projects are short-term but the business has long-term vision on what they intend to achieve within a certain time limit. It is however not suitable for companies that are not as innovative. Decision making is fast and should consider the risks involved and be able to mitigate them when they arise.
It is becoming increasingly important in operations management to embrace social media and other forms of technology. Management is also going further to employ a tech savvy team to manage their technological operations. The tech savvy team finds out for the company, customer feedback which in turn helps the organization to improve on their services or products to attract more customers. It is also essential in identifying problems and solving them because they will be pointed out. Operations managers have to be very keen on the technologies relevant to their industries and be very knowledgeable about the very specific technologies in their organizations. Technology is the.
Modern management is taking up aggressive hiring. They are hiring specific people that have specialized in certain operations to maximize on creativity and efficiency as well. This is often done when companies are expanding to new territories and it is done by looking for qualified and talented staff with the knowledge that the company needs. A company with staff shortage will find it difficult to handle all the required operations. Companies may also shy away from training new employees that may later want to move to more lucrative opportunities. They are however preferring to hire already qualified people that they will not need to incur further training cost.
Globalization of products
In the past, countries only produced products to be sold within their locality or region. The new trend however is that every company is now striving for a production system that will produce enough products to be sold across borders and across the world. This has been made possible by better communication networks that have made the world a global village, fast shipping, new technology that can produce products fast and globalization.
Just in time production.
In the recent past, production was carried out on a mass scale. Industries produced a lot of products they were not sure they could sell and would result to a lot of wastage once newer and improved products made it to the market. JIT, made popular by Toyota, is a new production system where a product is developed only when it is needed. Toyota starts to assemble a car only when it is ordered and deliver it within a satisfying period of time. JIT has resulted in waste management, saving cost on inventory, cutting on storage costs and it has helped management to focus its resources towards other projects when not in use in storage or inventory. In JIT, a product is put together only when a customer has made a decision to buy that product and has put in some commitment. This has totally eliminated the need for storage warehouses that would be capital intensive.