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This subject examines the engine of every organisation: its productive processes. These are the systems, processes and activities that convert the organisation's inputs into its outputs. Whether manufacturing of goods or provision of services, the principles and techniques of Operations Management can assist an organisation to achieve effective outcomes in terms of cost, quality, delivery, service levels, flexibility and innovation. This subject is integrative in nature, drawing upon concepts originally developed in other areas. The traditional topics such as: assessing the strategic importance of operations; planning and controlling the use of resources; ensuring quality of products and services; and various human issues involved in operations are examined from a contemporary perspective that involves complex phenomena such as globalisation, supply chains, virtual and e-operations, agile/lean operations and mass customisation. Quantitative approaches are often useful in leading us toward possible solutions and so these are introduced where appropriate. However, in many situations, it is sufficient to descriptively understand the critical issues and major trade-offs involved. Finally, links with other areas of decisions and organisational functions are considered as they are critical to getting the most from the operations system.
Intended learning outcomes
The objective of this subject is to introduce the strategic and operating issues and decisions involved in managing the business/operational processes within an enterprise. The subject aims to provide students with a conceptual framework and a set of analytical tools to enable better understanding of why processes behave as they do. Given this understanding, students will be in a position to see how effective management of operations relates to organisations' strategic decisions, key processes, competitive posture and, ultimately, performance.
On successful completion of this subject, students should have improved the following generic skills:
- Appreciation of resource allocation decisions;
- Application of theory to practice;
- Critical thinking;
- Analysis and synthesis of issues; and
- Communication, presentation and reporting.
Last updated: 16 March 2020