What is Production and Operations Management

Table of contents

Production and operations management a process that mixes and converts many resources that are consumed in the production and operation subsector of the firm to add value on to the services according to the organization policies. It is concerned with changing of several inputs to the desired products and services that contain the required level of quality.

Since consumers globally have become competitive, there is the need for manufacturing firms have to raise the quality and quantity of the products and services they are specialized. Many organizations inclusive of non-profit organizations are involved in the production system. There is a need to manage the production and operation of activities in any firm properly. It is the core sector in many firms as it directly influences the other systems in the organization. It, however, determines the profitability of any company.

The objectives of production management are to produce the right quality of the product. This is influenced by production price of the product and specific requirements that suit the technical characteristics. Secondly, production management is concerned with producing the right quantity of the products in the right number. The organization considers several factors such as capital available and the demand to satisfy the consumers.

However, it also takes into account the time of delivering the products and services. This is an essential tool to determine the efficiency of the production department. This means that the production department should make optimum utilization of the resources put into the production to achieve its objective. Finally, production management establishes the manufacturing costs before manufacturing the product. Thus, attempts are made in the production of the products at a pre-established cost. This reduces the differences between the real and standard cost.

On the other hand, operations management is concerned with two objectives i.e. customer service and resource utilization. Firstly, the organization’s operating systems should ensure their customer service satisfies the customer’s wants. Hence, customers’ service is the main objective of operations management. The operation system should produce products that can fulfill the customer’s need regarding costs and time.

Therefore, the firm should consider the functions of manufacturing, transportation, supply and service delivery to the customers. The organization through its managers should aim at certain standards to achieve the required customer service.

However, operating systems should utilize resources to satisfy the customer wants effectively. This means that services given to the customer must be availed with the aim of achieving efficient operations by using resources effectively. Using the resources inefficiently leads to the decline of the operating system commercially. Operations management is concerned with gaining of optimum impacts from the inputs by reducing their losses, and underutilization.

Literature Review

Over the past decades, operations and production management in many organizations have been a critical factor in the growth of any country’s economy. Adam Smith was able to recognize benefits of specializing labor. The suggested that the jobs should be broken down into subtasks and workers to be recognized to their specialized tasks where they can increase their skills and become more efficient. Early in the 20th century, F. W. Taylor succeeded Smith’s theories and was able to develop a scientific management. Since then several techniques have been laid and others employed and developed that prevail the old traditional view.

During the 1920s till the late 1960s in the United States, there was great industrial development. This led to the focus on the operations management to improve the productivity of labor. The major techniques for promoting productivity of labor included; the queuing theory, production control and the motion study (Bayraktar et al., 2007).

Research on operations management has been focusing on the resolving the optimum problems in many areas and returned to identify the major tools of success in operations management. According to Chopra et al. (2004), this focus on the operations management has been on the matters of applying management skills in science and operation of the experiment. The idea of operations management begun to be famous in the 1960s where its scope was extended to service firms (Chase & Prentis, 1987).

However, operations management was broadly accepted as one of the essential fields of any organization in the 1980s (Filippini, 1997). Cost reduction was the main role in the 1980s. However, the role was shifted to the quality in the 1990s through linking with the information systems. Over the years, researchers have been using customization to fulfill the customer’s requirements (Heizer ; Render, 2006).
Researches in production and operations management fields identify the factors that can be used to raise strategic activities in management.

Chinese’ success in manufacturing products to the global markets has led to setting focus in the production and operations management by reducing the cost, innovating new products, promoting the operation services and improving the production strategies. Ward et al. (1998) study of the manufacturing firms in the United States set the four scales of competitive priorities that included quality, cost, delivery time and flexibility. However, Harry and Schroeder (2000) introduced the six sigma technique that concentrated mainly on the processes that eliminate changes for controlling quality.

Literary studies also figure out many essential problems of operation management. Wright and Meckling, (2002) identified forecasting, quality management and utilization of resources as the key operational issues for small-serviced firms. Yang Hsu and Ching (2002) suggest that one key method that can be used to improve strategic operations management is through developing a framework that use product design chain (PDC) and linking clients.

The major issues highlighted in the PDC include the method for determining how to limit the time required to finish a project and how to influence the product production process and its quality. Proper quality methods such as the one used for the development of a quality management process is an important factor in many operations (Rahman, 2007).

Shi and Wand (2010) highlights that norms developed successfully bring a lot of benefits to the firms in practice. It also enhances benefits to the supply chain partners through improved solidarity, raised flexibility as well as facilitating information flow that enables organizations to communicate effectively and improve cooperation with their partners. Besides, these norms increase the level of satisfaction in the present cooperation as well as the future cooperation. Objectives of the Study

As per the literature review above and the width of the research gap, the study will be driven toward achieving the following objectives:

  1. To determine the ways of enhancing better production and operations management strategies.
  2. To determine the impacts of production and operations management strategies in the US and the world as a whole.

Purpose of the study

Due to an increased rate of the number of organizations evolving every day, there is need to know whether they are practicing the appropriate measures to manage its activities and labor force. Proper understanding of the productive and operations management strategies would ensure that the firms are capable of producing products and services that are of high quality to meet the needs and expectations of the customers.

Because of this notion, I was forced to do a research to identify the factors that contribute to the proper management strategies in organizations. A number of respondents will be assessed during the study and will help to collect data since they are immediate sources.

Research Question

From the research, I was capable of providing sufficient information to the study question. The research provided an insight of the constraints in the production and operation departments in many firms. Also, impacts brought about by proper application and use of production and operation strategies were identified from the research.

Several factors involved in the production process were considered and proper analysis of their significance was done. The study was conducted primarily in the United States and a relation was compared to be happening to the firms involved in the production and manufacturing task in other countries globally.
Limitations of the study

No matter how good a road seems to be, there are always bends and potholes that tend to make the ride uncomfortable. However, during my research I encountered some anticipated factors that tried to limit the effectiveness of the process. Some of the limitations include the following:

  1. Some of the respondents targeted in the research process were not willing to participate in answering the questionnaire. This made collection of the primary data somehow difficult and the data collected would not provide the insight of the situation.
  2. Financial difficulties in collection of the data especially data from the firms in the globe. I was forced to an extent to conduct an online survey to where respondents were to complete the survey before the information would be analyzed.
  3. Time and location constraint. Conducting online surveys are time consuming. One needs to spend more time in accessing the internet. Also travelling from one firm to another was quite challenging during the process of data collection.
  4. Availability of the secondary data from the records of the organization was difficult. Some of the top personnel in the firms were not willing to give out their records to access the information as they claimed it was a bleach of their privacy.
  5. The sample constraint. Since the research focused on the sample and not the whole population of the firms, there was possibility of errors to a limited extent.

However, to overcome the limitations and ensure the research was conducted effectively, a lot of individual efforts were put across.


The study was done on basing information from primary sources that involved collecting information through the use of instruments such as questionnaires, conducting surveys, interviews, and making observations. However, secondary data collection tools were also used in collecting data especially when finding the critical information about certain firms. This done mostly for the international organizations whose accessibility was difficult. Some of the tools used include, use of the key informants, case studies and document studies.

Data Collection

Data collection was conducted through use of primary and secondary data collection tools. Simple random sampling was done in the selection of the respondents to the questionnaires. This gave a 50 percent probability to the respondents. a sample of 100 people in total was chosen to represent the whole population.

Data Collection Tools


Several questionnaires were given out to the respondents and were required to complete them to the best of their knowledge and honesty. The questions were open ended. This enhanced collection of appropriate data that was comparable to analysis, minimized biasness in formulation and asking of the question and also the responses collected was effective.


Structured and unstructured interviews were conducted for the purpose of collecting the data. Structured interviews were administered to the workers especially the senior management team in the selected firms. This was done in order to collect qualitative data for the research. Unstructured interviews was also administered to the firm workers those that make up the casual labor to the firms.

Interviews were used preferably as they gather information even from illiterate people. Also, chances of getting no response were avoided the data was collected as the interviewee was taking part in the process. The data collected was very reliable since the respondents were cross-examined during the collection of the data.

Secondary Data Collection Tools

  • Case studies

I collected data from reading several studies and researches done by the other researchers. This gave me a deep insight of the project since I was to know the real feeling of the previous researchers. However, the information collected provided a real picture setting of the situation that is happening in many organizations.

Furthermore, the method provided an explanation to the factors that facilitated the research process but could not come from the data. The data collected was an addition to the previous researches and the changing trends in the real business world.

  • Document Studies

Additional data was obtained through reading of articles and journals by several authors on the issues concerning production and operation management in organizations. The method was considered due to its availability hence accessing it was easier. Also, the method was inexpensive and unobtrusive and it provided an opportunity for the studying trends in the production and operation in firms over time.

  • Key Informants

I visited several key personnel who are informed on the trends and effects on production and operations management. They gave out their views on the experience they have on production and operation management. The data collected from these informants gave the research process a more insight view. These informants had previous records of the past trends and present downfalls and the opportunities in the production and operations subsectors of management.

Data Management and Analysis

After collection of the data, each questionnaire was cross-checked. The questionnaires were filed up throughout the study to avoid accessibility by unauthorized persons and to ensure that they were confidential; this reduced the chances of losing the data. Preliminary analysis of the data was then conducted to ensure all the variables were in workable form before full analysis.

The findings from the study were analyzed qualitatively using various techniques that include Microsoft Excel software and the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software. The analyzed data was presented using tables, percentages, pie charts and graphs.

Results/ Findings

The results from the data analyzed formed the basis for information that led to the discussion, conclusions and interpretation of the outcomes and finally giving out the recommendations of the study.


The respondents were asked to indicate their age in years. Majority of the respondents involved in the study were between the ages of 20-45 years which is above the minimum age of being an adult. Age was a requirement since the information was to be collected from individuals who are able to make decisions on their own rather than being influenced by any factor.

Most of the respondents were well informed with current and emerging trends in the world economy. They were familiar with process of production and operation in the firm since many of them have been in the organization for more than a year.

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