Nature and Scope of Operations Management

Operations management is often used along with production management in literature on the subject. It is therefore, useful to understand the nature of operations management .Operations management is understood as the process whereby resources or inputs are converted into more useful products .A second reading of the sentence reveals that, there is hardly any difference between the terms produ7ction management and operations management .But, there are a least two points of distinction between production management and operations management .First, the term production management is more used for a system where tangible goods are produced .Whereas ,operations management is more frequently used where various inputs are transformed into tangible services .Viewed from this perspective, operations management will cover such services organization as banks ,airlines ,utilities ,pollution control agencies super bazaars, educational institutions ,libraries ,consultancy firm and police departments, in addition ,of course ,to manufacturing enterprises. The second distinction relates to the evolution of the subject. Operation management is the term that is used now a days .Production management precedes operations management in the historical growth of the subject

The two distinctions not withstanding, the terms production management and operations management are used interchargeably .

Scope of Production and Operation Management

The scope of production and operations management is indeed vast .Commencing with the selection of location production management covers such activities as acquisition of land, constructing building ,procuring and installing machinery ,purchasing and storing raw material and converting them into saleable products.

Added to the above are other related topics such as quality management ,maintenance management ,production planning and control, methods improvement and work simplification and other related areas.

Evolution of Production Function

In order to trace the evolution of production function, we identify six historical developments :the Industrial Revolution ,scientific management , the human relations movement ,operations research, computers and advanced production technology and the service revolution A brief explanation of each stage follows.

The industrial Revolution

Since times ancient production systems were used in oe form or another. The Egyptian Pyramids, the Greek Parthenon, the Great Wall o0f China and the aquaducts and the roads of the Roman Empire , dams and anicuts built by the Chola kings attest to the ingenuity and industry of the people of ancient times But the ways the people in the ancient days produced goods were different from the production methods of today. Production systems prior to the 1700s are often referred to as the cottage system, because the production of goods took place in homes or cottages ,where craftsman directed apprentices in performing hand work on, products.

From 1770 to the early 1800s series of events took p[lace in England which together are called the Industrial Revolution. Industrial Revolution resulted in two major developments: widespread substitution of machine power for human power and establishment of the factory system.

The events that took p[lace from 1770 to the 1800s are characterized by great inventions. The great inventions were eight in number ,with six of them having been conceived in England, one in France and one in the United States .The eight inventions are—Hargreaves Spinning Jenny, Arkwright’s Water Frame, Crompton’s Mule, Cartwright’s Power Loom, Watt’s steamengine, Berthollet’s Chlorine Bleaching Discovery.Mandslay’s Screw-Cutting Lathe and Eli Whitney’s Interchangeable Manufacture.

As observed from eight inventions ,most of them have to do with the spinning of yarn and weaving of cloth .This is logical from the point o view that cloth was the principal export commodity of England at that time and was in short supply owi8ng to the considerable expansion of England’s colonial empire and its commercial trade.

The availability of machine power greatly facilitated the gathering of workers in factories that housed the machines .The large number of workers congregated in the factories ,created the need for organizing them in logical ways to produce goods. The publication of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations in 1776 advocated the benefits of the division of labor or specialization of labor ,which broke production of goods into small specialized tasks that were assigned to workers on production lines.

Thus, the factories of late 1700s not only had developed production machinery ,but also ways of planning and controlling the output of workers

The impact of the Industrial Revolution was first felt in England .From here, it spread to other European countries and to the United states.

The Industrial Revolution advanced further with the development of the gasoline engine and electricity in the 1800s.Other industries emerged and along with them new factories came into being.By the middle of 1800s. the old cottage system of production had been laced by the factory system .As days went by, production capacities expanded ,demand for capital grew and labor became highly dependant on jobs and urdanised. At the commencement of the 20 th century ,the one element that was missing was a management –the ability to develop and use the existing facilities to produce on a large scale to meet massive markets of today.
20th October 2005 From India , New Delhi

CiteWrite, Article seems very comprehensive - but you have just touched upon Industrial Revolution that is all. Could you put in the full history and other aspects on Operations Management?
6th July 2008 From India , Mumbai
Try this article
From Filing and Fitting to Flexible Manufacturing: A Study in the Evolution of Process Control
- by Ramchandran Jaikumar

I think it should be available on the net. It is a great article that explains the histroy of manufacturing in a very easy way.

23rd September 2008 From India , Mumbai

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