Manufacturing operations is just one industry that employs advanced operations management (or operations management) to conduct processes that govern the company. Many manufacturing companies employ software to make operations management activities run more efficiently. This software assists businesses with digitizing production processes and information, enhancing execution systems, managing quality, research and development projects, and advancing planning and scheduling.
In 2021, the operations management software market was valued at $9.5 billion. However, manufacturing is not the only industry that uses operations management to run business processes. In many industries, operations management is involved with many of the most mundane activities. Whether ordering food at a restaurant, ordering products online, or providing insurance information to healthcare providers, operations management activities are involved.
What is advanced operations management?
Operations management allows businesses to maximize profit and become more efficient by focusing on administrative practices, business structure, and processes. Some of the activities that are a part of operations management involve overseeing multiple departments and making goals, overseeing production and logistics, balancing revenue and costs, and developing strategies. Ultimately, all these activities are a part of the day-to-day processes of running a business.
Operations management is important to business because it is at the core of running the company. Without it, a company’s survival is threatened, whether it involves making the right hires, purchasing the right equipment, or making sure that the business location is not only profitable but operating in a safe and ethical location. A company that implements strong business operations is an advantage to the entire enterprise. The area’s key functions are as follows.
This involves ensuring that products are designed properly, meet customers’ needs, and cater to market trends. They also play a role in assisting businesses when they are introducing new products, which can be challenging.
Operations management plays an integral role in making sure that money is allocated properly and used to the fullest extent. This allows a business to meet its production goals while at the same time allowing it to seek out good investment opportunities. In production, advanced operations management also allows companies to make the best possible product for customers at the best price.
In this role, operations management helps companies make predictions regarding future needs. Some of the activities involved in making these types of predictions include determining what customers might want and informing manufacturers of what they need to produce. Forecasting is important because it helps companies get a sense of how much inventory they require.
This aspect of operations management involves the planning, monitoring, analysis, and assessment of business processes. It also assists with making better production planning and scheduling decisions, meeting company goals, and keeping customers satisfied.
Quality control involves producing the best quality product possible. This part of operations management focuses on production processes that impact product quality.
What jobs are available in advanced operations management?
Students considering a job within this field have a few options. Operations management jobs can be found in general business operations and niche, specialized occupations. These are a few of the roles a professional can play in advanced operations management:
- Business manager – The business manager takes on a variety of roles in overseeing a business by making decisions based on data to improve the overall operation of the company.
- Purchasing manager – In this role, the professional purchases products, goods, and services to be resold by the company. Their purpose is to make purchases of quality products at the best possible price.
- Materials manager – This role oversees storing, procuring, and distributing the company’s inventory or stock.
- Operations research analyst – Using data, research analysts help businesses with cost-effectiveness, supply chain, product placement, and staff resources-related decisions.
The industry is so vast that these are just a few of the jobs that a graduate or mid-career professional might find themselves working within operations management. One way to determine which direction to go is to drop into a career center, many of which are located in universities and colleges. Not only will they spend time doing a career inventory to determine whether operations management is the right career, but they will also help find the right industry for you. The counselors in these centers also direct students, graduates, and professionals in finding the right degree programs, job searching, and other career-related issues.
What are the educational requirements to work in this profession?
Careers in operations management typically require the student to earn a bachelor’s degree in a business-related subject, for instance, finance, business management, economics, or logistics. More advanced positions require professionals to obtain a master’s degree. Some people take their Master’s in Business Administration and work in executive roles within operations.
However, more and more academic institutions recognize the need to prepare a workforce for advanced jobs in operations management. These colleges and universities have designed programs specifically to train professionals to work in this field, using coursework. For professionals already working in the field, this provides them with the advantage of being able to apply what they learn in class at work.
Many of these institutions have made earning an advanced degree much more accessible by creating online programs that culminate in earning a Master’s of Operations Management. For example, mid-career professionals can attend the Kettering Master in Operations Management Online program that leads to a Master’s in Science in Operations Management. A student can complete a Kettering University Online program in as little as 18 months and work in an operations management field soon after graduation.
Which industries use operations management?
Once you have received your degree, the only thing left to do is find an industry that uses advanced operations management as a part of its platform. If seeing a career counselor is not for you, below are just a few of the industries to explore that use operations management as a part of business processes.
Supply chain management
Supply chain management refers to the industry of moving goods to customers, directly and indirectly. For instance, let’s say that you purchased something from IKEA online. From the minute the item leaves the warehouse to the moment it arrives at the house, supply chain management operations are involved in delivering the product on time and in good condition.
The pandemic is a perfect example of the importance of this industry. During COVID-19, many industries had problems delivering products to customers, and more significantly, healthcare organizations. Grocery store shelves were completely empty as customers made purchases in bulk to ensure they had necessary items, for example, toilet tissue and paper towels. In the case of healthcare organizations, personal protective gear became a premium after suppliers could not deliver enough. Since COVID-19, many companies in the supply chain management industry have integrated technology into their businesses to make moving products to customers from warehouses more efficient and cost-effective.
With that said, in the supply chain management industry, these professionals work with suppliers and manufacturers to procure materials, manage the manufacture of products, and as stated previously, they are heavily involved in the delivery of goods to customers and businesses. Many businesses have made improvements in supply chain management due to operations management.
Customers are fickle, and if deliveries are late or do not arrive at all, they will take their business elsewhere. Keeping customers satisfied is the reason operations management has become an integral part of this industry. In fact, supply chain management uses many of the key components necessary to successfully deliver goods to businesses and customers; forecasting, quality control, product design, and strategy.
Healthcare is another area where advanced operations management has played an integral role in the processes of taking care of patients. These professionals are responsible for ensuring that patients receive quality care, but they also focus on daily processes such as managing administrative costs, legal compliance, and claims and billing, among others. Implementing electronic health records, for instance, is an example of the way operations management works in a healthcare organization.
Electronic health records make it possible for all care providers to have access to a patient’s medical records. These programs are important because they provide nurses and physicians with the patient’s entire medical history. Previously, information was held in hardcopy records, but let’s say the patient sees more than one physician; the healthcare provider could only rely on the patient to get the relevant information needed to deliver care, which led to duplicating information related to billing and insurance and having to do extra work – not very efficient.
The electronic health record is centralized, which means that at all contact points, everyone involved with caring for the patient has the patient’s health history in digital form and in real time, which reduces the time needed to access information to file claims and bill insurance companies.
Another way operations managers work in the healthcare setting is to strike a balance between providing quality care for patients and reducing costs. Currently, healthcare organizations are plagued with costs associated with expensive technological and emergency-based treatments. This, combined with costs associated with treating the uninsured, places a burden on taxpayers, healthcare institutions, and insurance providers, not to mention it can diminish the quality of care. In a nutshell, they address these issues by encouraging institutions to promote preventive care and find ways to reduce the cost of expensive surgeries.
Advanced operations managers also play a role in the retail industry. The retail operations manager is involved with finding ways to staff the establishment that provide customers with the best possible shopping experience. Moreover, they are tasked with scheduling staff in a way that helps business growth and reduces waste. Staffing is only one part of operations management, however.
Retail operations managers are also involved with overseeing inventory. This means they not only make sure that products are on the shelves but also track inventory to see which items are moving quickly and which are selling slowly. Furthermore, in some cases, they are involved with figuring out whether these products are actually selling or not.
Finally, one couldn’t have this discussion without mentioning that operations managers are also involved in making sure customers are satisfied. Finding out how customers are treated and greeted when they enter the establishment and how they find the entire shopping experience is all a part of operations management. Today’s retailers are also integrating virtual reality that utilizes avatars and artificial intelligence in-store, where customers can receive answers directly and meet most of their shopping needs.
Even restaurants employ operations managers to help them run their dining establishments. This role oversees all the restaurant’s critical areas related to running the business. More significantly, they look for inefficiencies such as improperly scheduling staff, lack of inventory oversight, and other persistent issues that can cost restaurants money. Inventory is one of the first areas in which an operations manager will improve the financial health of the restaurant.
Some restaurants, for example, will integrate point-of-sale software, which allows restaurant operators to track inventory based on what meals customers order. This along with staff inventory counts and vendor invoices helps restaurant owners track spending. An extension of inventory, restaurant operators are also involved with finding ways to reduce food costs.
Inventory control is one way to reduce food costs but reducing waste is another way to decrease the amount spent on food. Food waste is akin to throwing away profits, so operations managers play a role in monitoring inventory usage, recipe measurements, and portion sizes to make sure their profits do not go down the drain. Managers also look at food costs when making changes.
Transportation and logistics
Transportation and logistics are two industries that work together. They focus on how products get to their destinations. Specifically, logistics refers to how supply chain managers move products along, and transportation is the method used to make deliveries. In advanced operations management, these industries use a lot of technology to track inventory and products as they move along the supply chain, from the warehouse to the delivery destinations. In fact, data logging and automation are tools that are firmly entrenched in these industries.
Operations managers in transportation focus on the methods that manufacturers use for deliveries, whether it is by air, land, or sea. Some of the considerations a transportation operations manager factor in when shipping is the type of product and how soon the item needs to be shipped. Other factors include whether the item is perishable or needs refrigeration. Operations managers in transportation look for ways to keep their clients happy using technologies that make transporting products efficient and lower overall costs.
As stated previously, manufacturing software has become a billion-dollar business for the manufacturing market. One of the reasons is that businesses in this industry must make sure that all the processes involved not only work to make the best possible product but also make more products and make them efficient. In this role, operations managers are involved with finding ways to improve profits, making sure that the company complies with government regulations, and helping reduce waste, among other activities.
Professionals who graduate with a Master’s in Operations Management will find the above industries a great place to start. Regardless of the industry, the operations manager’s job involves one key area; making sure that businesses operate efficiently, deliver great customer service, reduce costs, and comply with government regulations. More importantly, operations management offers those who work in the field a wide range of jobs to select from, in addition to being able to make lateral and upward movements into other areas.
However, education is a big part of gaining access to many of these industries. Today’s educational institutions make it possible for students and mid-career professionals to get their education and obtain a degree, whether through conventional methods or as a part of one of the many online educational programs. Online programs, specifically, provide students with the convenience of being able to watch lectures, submit work, and take courses at their leisure.
Additionally, these programs provide further assistance, with some programs offering academic support and career advisement. Students also benefit from a program that connects them not only to their classmates and professors but an online community of professionals within the industry. Working in operations management is only a degree away for those thinking about entering this industry that offers so many options.