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Operations Management

Operations Management

You should draw on concepts and theories discussed in Operations and Process Management,
Principles and Practice for Strategic Impact, 3rd edition, 2012, Slack, Brandon-Jones, Johnston,
Betts, FT Prentice Hall, your module Study Guide, and from your wider reading and research to
support your analysis and justify your critical factors and recommendations. You should only employ
credible research sources. I suggest you consult the MBS Library Services for information on a wide
range of research resources and services


Operation managers perform some of the most vital roles in an organization. They ensure that
the process of operation management occurs at the preferred levels. In so doing, operation managers
oversee organizational business practices in a way that leads to highest possible efficiency levels in
that organization. Primarily, their duty is to ensure that the conversion of raw material into finished
products and services is carried about in the best way possible which ensures minimum wastage,
reduced expenses, and high returns. Because of the importance of the function of the operation
management processes, most organizations prefer to establish operation management teams which are
tasked with the duty of ensuring that activities are carried out as planned. To achieve this, these teams
often balance the revenue to be achieved from the production of certain goods and services with the
cost that is required to carry out the whole process. They aid in the achievement of maximum returns
by ensuring that the net marginal and operating profits remain high. Despite the overlaying common
responsibility for operation managers, the type of organization in which the managers work in greatly
influences the type of activities and challenges that they face. Therefore, this paper explains the
challenges that an operations manager faces in managing quality in a service organization relative to a
manufacturing organization.
Both service and manufacturing organizations offer closely related duties to their operation
managers. This is because the end objective of the manager’s effort is to ensure maximum quality of
services and products, efficient production processes, and high returns (Bozarth & Handfield, 2016).
Therefore, operation managers working in both service and product companies are required to utilize
available resources from the organization’s employees, equipment, technology, and materials to
develop products and services that will suit the needs of their customers as well as utilize the capacity
of the organization to the maximum. This is achieved by carrying out certain specific roles such as
determining the size of production plants, choosing the best project management techniques, and
establishing appropriate communication and technological networks at an organization. Apart from
these structural duties of an organization, operation managers also have to deal with activities that
directly relate to the day to day management of business at an organization (Jacobs & Chase,2013).


These activities include; inventory level management, acquisition of raw materials, quality control,
and establishing of maintenance policies (Khanna, 2015). To effectively carry out these duties,
operation managers working in both service and product organizations rely on various formulas to aid
them in carrying out their activities. For instance, operation managers in a manufacturing organization
often utilize the economic order quantity formulae in determining the size of inventory, when to order
or process, and the size of inventory to hold at certain times.

Operation Manager’s Duties In a Manufacturing Organizations
There are distinct duties of operational managers who work in manufacturing organizations
that might not be part of the work schedule for those working in a service company. First, operation
managers in manufacturing organizations have to carry out production planning (Lacmanovic, 2010).
This includes determining the exact size and quantity of goods that will be manufactured and the


means through which they will be manufactured. Secondly, operation managers in manufacturing
organizations have to carry out production control. This involves scheduling and monitoring the
activities that make up the production process. In this regard, the operation managers specific duties
involve getting feedback and responding to it through appropriate adjustments which might include
handling inventories and purchasing of raw materials (Bozarth & Handfield, 2016). Lastly, operation
managers in manufacturing firms have to physical control the quality of processes being carried out.
This involves observing and ensuring that the goods produced have the pre-requisite specifications
and that their quality matches the company’s values and customer needs.

A snap view of total quality management value
The nature of the duties of operation managers in manufacturing companies exposes them to
various challenges. They are required to make appropriate decisions, make flawless plans, and
oversee all the aspects of production from the acquisition of raw materials to the satisfaction of the
customers (Hill & Hill, 2012). Therefore, their most primary challenge is decision making. They have
to decide on the best production methods to use. This is not easy as sometimes the best methods might


not be cheap to implement. Moreover, decision making is difficult because if a wrong choice is made,
the organization’s image might be destroyed (Schönsleben, 2016). Therefore, to successfully come
up with a sustainable production processes for a manufacturing organization, operation managers have
to consider the goals and objective of all other organization departments but, most important, they
have to give priority to the objectives of the marketing managers (Khanna, 2015). This is because it is
the marketing managers that are tasked with the duties of selling the products once they are produced.
Therefore, production managers have to come up with a production process that will ensure that the
products produced possess the exact specifications as required by the marketing managers.
Because of the need to establish a production process that caters for the needs of the
marketing managers as well as all other managers within an organization, production managers often
find it difficult to obtain all the relevant information from each of all the organization’s sections (Agus
& Shukri, 2012). This is because accessing such information might be difficult depending on the
organizational arrangement. Moreover, combining the information takes time. Another challenge
faced by manufacturing company’s operational managers is procurement. They are required to
purchase raw materials or inventories at appropriate costs while at the same time ensuring that the
materials purchased have the ability to produce quality products that will result in high revenue to the
company. This is difficult as it involves careful balancing of costs and revenue. Moreover, if left to
the procurement department, they may end up purchasing materials of inferior standards. Lastly,
operation managers in manufacturing organizations are faced with a challenge of ensuring that the
goods produced are of high quality. Therefore, there is a need for the operation managers to oversee
the whole production processes and make recommendation and amendments at each stage.
Alternatively, they have to enlighten the organization’s human resource regarding adherence to
quality standards (Baines & Lightfoot, 2013). Either way, it is difficult because most operation
management teams consist of a few individuals who may not be able to physical inspect all the
production practices that might be going on in an organization. On the other hand, most organizations
have not equipped their operation managers with the ability to train or influence the organization’s
staff regarding quality standards. This challenge is often replicated in the production of inferior goods


that end up causing negative user experience (Jacobs & Chase,2013). For example, the current
generation of Samsung Galaxy S7 Tablets is being recalled because of a flaw in production that
causes the gadgets to self-destruct when exposed to certain conditions.
Operation Manager’s Duties In service Organizations
Service organizations do not deal with the production of physical goods and services.
Therefore, despite the fact that they too aim at satisfying the needs of their clients just as the
manufacturing organizations, there are differences between these two types of organizations when it
comes to the duties of operations managers. Most obvious causes of difference in their duties include;
the intangibility of service organization’s products, lack of standardization of products by service
companies as opposed to manufacturing companies (Schroeder, et.al, 2013). For instance, a one-litre
bottle of coca cola is the same everywhere in the world as opposed to service activities such as getting
a shave that is specific to a person’s head. Lastly, service organizations are always in contact with
their customers as opposed to manufacturing organizations.

A snap view show showing how to identify a quality management system


The existing differences between service and manufacturing organizations make the duties of
service organization be more skewed towards customer satisfaction and relation as compared to
manufacturing organizations. For instance, a hotel will have to enhance its public image to attract new
customers and will have to relate well with existing customers so as to attract them back. In spite of
these, the duties of service company’s operation managers might be similar to those of manufacturing
company’s operation managers in some ways. Particularly, service operation managers are often
engaged in; operations planning which involves determining the service to offer, how to provide it,
where to provide from, and the forecasted demand for the service. Operations managers in service
industry also have to carry out operation processes monitoring (Baines & Lightfoot, 2013). This
includes ensuring that the planned processes are taking place as stated. According to the Institute for
information industry (2014), as opposed to manufacturing firms, in service quality control and
management, operations managers have to ensure that customer satisfaction is prioritized and
achieved first in both the long run and short run. This is because the success of a service organization
relies on satisfying customers and having them come back for more. For example, an airline company
has to make sure that their customers arrive at their destinations safely and in time so that they keep
on choosing that particular company over others. This is as opposed to manufacturing, for instance, a
company such as Ford might make one car and have the owner use it for over three years before
coming back for another model.
Based on the nature of their activities, operation managers in a service organization have a
more daunting task of ensuring that the outcome of a company’s processes results in quality service as
compared to those working in manufacturing firms. First, aside from understanding the organizational
business processes and flows, they also have to understand their customers. This is difficult because
many customers have different traits, preferences, and needs (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2013).
Therefore, this makes it difficult to effectively determine what they may want. The situation is made
tough by the fact that poor understanding and evaluation of customer needs by operation managers in
service organizations might lead to the offering of low quality services, a factor that may lead to poor
customer relations and negative customer perception regarding the organization.


A snapshot of Quality visualization in a service company
Operation managers in service industries are faced with a challenge of ensuring that there
exist a good relationship between customers and the company. Therefore, they have to ensure that an
organization’s staffs have the necessary customer handling skills (Baines & Lightfoot, 2013). In this
regard, the managers should be able to understand and handle any customer complaints or problems
that might occur between an organization’s employees and the client. For instance, in case a waiter
mistakenly splashes some soup on a guest in a hotel, the overseeing operation manager should be able
to come and solve any conflict that might arise. Moreover, he or she should be able to comfort the
customer and make him or her understand that it was just a mistake from the waiter. Another
challenge faced by operation managers in the service industry is as a result of globalization. This is
because globalization has created the needs for organizations to operate on international levels. This
means that various processes have to be developed so as to meet the needs of a diverse pool of clients.
Therefore, service operation managers have to learn about various new business environments and
come up with better means of offering great services to markets in such environments (Bozarth &


Handfield, 2016). Lastly, operation managers in the service industry have to keep up with the
changing social trends and workforce. This is because these factors affect the day to day preferences
of customers and abilities of the existing workforce. Therefore, they have to be able to maintain an
effective workforce that can efficiently cater to the changing client needs. However, this has to be
done carefully to ensure that ethical conduct is observed when dealing with both employees and
customers irrespective of the overlaying changes in social trends.
Operation managers need to have a proper understanding of various processes within an
organization. They need to actively create new production processes while at the same time evaluating
the effectiveness and efficient of the current processes. Therefore, irrespective of the type of
organization that operation managers will be working for, they have to be versatile and organized to
ensure that they create processes that lead to high productivity. From the papaper’s dicusion, it is clear
that the duties carried out by operation manners in manufacturing organizations are somehow
different from those carried out by organizational managers in service organizations. Those in
companies offering services face more challenges since their activities involve direct interaction with
customers. Such interactions often require highly efficient delivery of services and strict adherence to
ethical practices. This is because even the way employee’s carry themselves out in a service
organization might influence the perceptions of the customer.



Agus, A., & Shukri Hajinoor, M. (2012). Lean production supply chain management as
driver towards enhancing product quality and business performance: Case study of
manufacturing companies in Malaysia. International Journal of Quality & Reliability
Management, 29(1), 92-121.
Baines, T., & W. Lightfoot, H. (2013). Servitization of the manufacturing firm: Exploring the
operations practices and technologies that deliver advanced services. International
Journal of Operations & Production Management, 34(1), 2-35.
Bak, O., & Boulocher-Passet, V. (2013). Connecting industry and supply chain management
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Bozarth, C. B., & Handfield, R. B. (2016). Introduction to operations and supply chain
management. Pearson Higher Ed.
Fitzsimmons, J., & Fitzsimmons, M. (2013). Service management: Operations, strategy,
information technology. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Hill, A., & Hill, T. (2012). Operations management. Palgrave Macmillan.
Institute for information industry; researchers submit patent application, “major management
apparatus, authorized management apparatus, electronic apparatus for delegation
management, and delegation management methods thereof”, for app. (2014). Politics
& Government Week, , 10515.


Khanna, R. B. (2015). Production and operations management. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd..
Schönsleben, P. (2016). Integral logistics management: Operations and supply chain
management within and across companies. CRC Press.
Schroeder, R. G., Goldstein, S. M., & Rungtusanatham, M. J. (2013). Operations
management in the supply chain: Decisions and cases.

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