Operations management is a process of organizing and managing resources produced and delivered by a particular organization. The example of Toyota, a vehicle manufacturing industry provides a perfect demonstration of the significance and nature of an operations management department in an organization. In the same manner the engine is the core of the motor vehicle, operations are the core resources of an organization. Operations management is actually the field which deals with planning and overlooking the production and distribution of its manufactured products. Operations managers have predetermined delegated activities in the organization which ensure efficient production of goods and services. The size of the operations management is determined by the size of the company, the types of products they handle and the market they serve. Toyota is a large company which has thrived very well in the competitive motor market; however it has endured numerous challenges in the management of its operations. A comprehensive evaluation of its products and services with respect to the significance of operations management reveals the connection between success in a business and proper management.
Toyota deals with the production of different vehicle models ranging from lavish personal vehicles to heavy commercial motors. It also majors in the production of spares, which are used to make broken or dysfunctional parts of not only their local models, but also from competing companies. Additionally, Toyota has a department in its organizational structure which deals with servicing and repair of vehicles (irrespective of the model or the manufacturer). This move gives them the platform to study the different appliances and techniques of production used by their rivals. Its research unit makes good use of such information to help raise the innovative standards of their production department. Toyota imports a number of its raw materials from other countries and is also able to manufacture a number of appliances it uses.
Its prominence in the production of car engines, with bodies of greater strength, has seen it cruise the German market with ease. However, the company has faced a number of challenges in its production process. Given the size of the company and the nature of the products it produces, it is a logical fact that its operations are wide and much involving. Therefore, the control of all these aspects of production requires a good operations management coupled with a wider coverage. Its operations management department has attested the presence of these challenges as well as the adverse effects they have on the success of the company.
First, the company’s operations management has in many instances deviated from the main objectives of the company. This has been explained to have come as a result of market and competitive pressure. The market situations the company at times finds itself in pressures the operations management to formulate strategies of solving the situations as soon as possible. In doing so, the company realizes that some of its actions (done to sustain its presence in the market or uphold the quality of its products) actually jeopardize the main objectives of its processes. In such situations, the operations management is held responsible for the shift of attention from the organizational objectives.
Additionally, the team has had problems in the development of an operations strategy for the organization. Actually, before a production or fiscal year is commenced, the operations management team has to develop a production plan to be implemented throughout the year. Toyota has recorded mid-year problems with their adopted production strategies as a result of emergent issues like the entry of another firm in the market, gaining of competitive advantage by their rivals and shifts in the market waveforms. This shows that the predetermined strategy has to be revised as far as the company’s significance and position in the market is to be maintained. In essence, an operations management team should be flexible enough to handle emergent issues in production strategies.
Moreover, the operations management team (led by the operations manager) has the responsibility of designing the product of specialization by the company. However, Toyota has an independent body which deals with the design of various models to be manufactured by the production department. Fundamentally, designing is the activity of determining the visual and imaginary form and shape of the end products to be produced by a company. In the context of Toyota as a company, the process of designing is controlled by the operations management but done by an independent body within the organization. This body answers directly to the team which then recommends the final draft for production. Toyota has had problems with a number of its product models which not only show tremendous faults, but also questionable quality features.
Furthermore, the team is responsible for planning and controlling the operation. A business like Toyota, with respect to its size should have a perfect planning and control of operations within its organizational structure. The operations management plans and controls the activities in the organization which involves the decisions of what the operations resources should be doing. It is their additional responsibility to ensure that these processes are implemented.
This has been a problem to the Toyota operations management team. Wrong decision making has seen the company lose a lot of resources that would have otherwise been utilized if the right approach would have been adopted. However, the success of Toyota as motor producers has been evident in their dominance in local and international markets. Its operations management has demonstrated greater ability in linking particular relevance to the organization’s operations with respect to the effects of globalization, the pressures for environmental protection, the increasing relevance of social responsibility, the need for technology awareness, and how knowledge management is becoming an essential part of operations management.
Moreover, the operations management team should be equipped with risk management skills to ensure the company does not suffer as a result of emerging pressures in the processing department. As a matter of fact, low production costs in third-world countries have increased pressure to reduce production costs. Moreover, companies have to carefully evaluate their options, which include reducing costs within the company, making of designs, and improving quality. Having this in mind enables the company to develop the best strategies that would help the operations management team in controlling the processes of the company.
These tools would be the best in the context of Toyota as a company. This is because the company is already developed and enjoys the economies of scale by serving a large market. Therefore, adjustments that would widen the scope of the operations management team would be the best alternative. Toyota serves local markets and has a profound position in the international market. Hence, its operations management should be able to dictate the best chains of supply as well as logistics for their goods. As a matter of fact, to maintain a competitive advantage in the global arena, a company like Toyota has to ensure that its products measure up to the standards of international markets. Generally, the company should equip its operations management with adequate skills to manage the various operations the organization is involved in.
All the activities of operations management can significantly contribute to the success of any organization by using its resources efficiently to produce motors and spares in a way that satisfies its customers. Toyota, when evaluated in a perfect business ecosystem, has achieved a lot as far as its organizational objectives are concerned. To do this it must be creative, innovative, and energetic in improving its processes, products, and services. As a matter of fact, the way operations management performs its processes can have a significant impact on the profitability of any company. For instance, Toyota’s financial worth has significantly lagged below its true capacity as a result of the challenges faced by the operations management team.
As mentioned above, technological advancements as well as environmental issues should be put into consideration to help move the company forward. One essential factor alluded by Toyota, is a research team. This would be mandated with the responsibility of researching on new models and eco-friendly production approaches. This would not only put Toyota a step forward with a greater competitive advantage over its rivals. The presence of such a team in the organizational structure of Toyota would simplify the actions of the operations team which would ultimately optimize their performance. In conclusion, the operations management function is central figure of the organization because it produces the goods which are the main sources of finance to the organization. Therefore, the operations management ensures the continuity and relevance of the objectives of the organization. Hence, all companies (inclusive of Toyota) should ensure the availability of the operations management team to ensure its production processes are well controlled.
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