Operations management is the activity of management of the resources used in the production and delivery of goods and services. All business organizations have a dedicated function for this activity called the operations functions. The identity/title of the personnel responsible for this function changes with the type of industry they are involved in, for instance a distribution firm has a fleet manager, an administrative manager in a hospital or a store manager in a supermarket.
The operations function is one of the three core functions in an organization and works complimentarily with the other two functions of product /service development and the marketing function. CDS is an integrated services provider with a number of units operating under the same roof. CDS incorporates the production of cheap plastic home ware, expensive design-led home ware and design house partnerships providing high brand level design while as well distributing the service.
CDS in the present has to manage the operations functions for the various departments operating under it. The low end plastic ware production is raw material intensive with the production of mass products. The concept, expensive design-led home ware is information intensive with the team of designer being a key input to the production of these wares. The manufacturing is done in-house thus the need for manufacturing process management arising as result. The distribution chain for these products is sensitive and needs an active marketing team to familiarize and popularize the products to the clients. This gives rise to the need for a robust sales and marketing team to handle products from this department.
The design partnership is the newest strategy CDS has employed to continue its strong presence as the leading house ware provider in Europe. This strategy involves the engagement of designers who rarely manufacture or distribute their products. The success of this venture relies heavily on the ability of CDS to economically manufacture market and distribute these custom products.
CDS incorporates various processes and functions that have to work together for the success of the enterprise to be realized. The design team for example has to make certain that the designs they come up with are workable using the existing technology at the company’s disposal. For this to happen there must be some coordination between the production unit and the design team. This coordination of these two units is operations management. The need for CDS to have a functional and effective operations unit arises from the apparent strain between the manufacturing unit and the design team. Grant Williams who is in charge of marketing shares his concerns with regard to the design team and felt that they did not put more effort towards cooperating with the manufacturing team regarding the designs made. He says, ‘they don’t really understand that we could actually help them do their Job better if they co-operated a bit more’. The interdependency between the various processes and departments is so crucial that the underperformance of one area directly affected the functioning of the other.
The production of the ‘concept’ products which are an exclusively CDS product has to be prioritized without segregating the designer partner’s demands. The management of the machines and the drawing up of appropriate schedules to minimize setup time and improve productivity has to be well coordinated. For instance, the designer demands should be forwarded to the machine operators well in advance so that they can decide on the color sequence to apply. The process management function at CDS has to be well defined since the success of each individual process directly relies on the success of another. The dependability of these departments therefore, makes it impossible for them to operate without a system of control that prevails over them in regard to accommodating the subsequent process.