Regardless of which sector of the economy the business operates in or whether it is for profit or not, operations management is considered one of the most important functions of all organisations today. In essence, the role of operations is to transform inputs (resources) into outputs (goods and services) whilst adding value at each stage of the process. It sounds simple, however, the rapid advancement in technology and access to global markets have made operations management one of the most diverse organisational functions within the business. In fact most other departments now rely directly on information from operations management in order to perform their own tasks.

The role of the operations manager is therefore complex and requires a specific skillset in order to create efficiencies throughout the operations process. Decisions, both strategic and tactical, must be made swiftly and the operations manager must have a strong working knowledge of operational trends including just-in-time, TQM, re-engineering, flexibility, time-based competition, the global marketplace and environmental issues. Ultimately, operations managers have overall responsibility for the creation and execution of the organisations operations strategy which focuses on developing specific capabilities called ‘competitive priorities’ for the business.

Quality operations management, when executed perfectly enables organisations to gain competitive advantages and create greater efficiencies over their competitors and rivals. The role of operations management is critical and all operations managers must possess a wide range of specialized business and interpersonal skills in order to be effective within the organisation.

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