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Operations Management


Operations management is about the way organisations produce goods and services. Everything you wear, eat, sit on, use, read or knock about on a sports field comes to you courtesy of the operations managers who organised its production. Every book you borrow from the library, every treatment you receive at the hospital, every service you expect in the shops, and every lecture you attend at university - all have been produced. While the people who supervised their 'production' may not always be called operations managers, that is what they really are.

That is what the book (and as a support aid this website) is concerned with - the tasks, issues and decisions of those operations managers who have made the services and products on which we all depend. In this introductory section the book examines the overall nature of operations management and the activities of operations managers. This section of the website provides more background to some of the companies mentioned in the first chapter of the book; some companies who are referenced in the full colour pages; and finally some further company examples whom have made relevant statements on this topic and some relevant background articles.

The model which is developed to explain the subject is shown in Figure 1.1.
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The Chapter Examples In The Book

IKEA - Relevance Rating *** - Site Rating ***
An IKEA advertising site, but does have some information on IKEA not concerning their products and services. The design approach and the meaning of IKEA are both interesting for background information but are not very detailed. A good impression of the way IKEA do business can be gained here though.
Further information can be obtained from the 'About IKEA' section from Swedish Roots, Facts, Figures & FAQ's, and Press Releases.


The Body Shop - Relevance Rating **** - Site Rating ****
The Body Shop logo The site is an excellent source of information on the Body Shop. Many topics are covered here - of particular interest are their detailed values and policies to the environment. There are excellent examples of strategic statements. Topics include:
  • Company & Values - A detailed statement on social, environmental, and animal protection issues
  • Questions & Answers - General, environment issues, animal protection, the community and trade.
  • Products - Ranges of products sold
  • News - Various articles on the body shop (usually products)
  • Full voice - Hard hitting magazine
  • Action - Campaigns on topical issues

Biz/Ed include detailed information on The Body Shop which is ideal for studying the operation. This can be found in the company facts section in the Biz/Ed page.

UNITED BISCUITS (Personal Profile) - Unavailable

NatWest Bank - Relevance Rating ** - Site Rating ***
This homepage is geared to describing the services that NatWest offer both its corporate and personal customers. It is moderately useful with a NatWest News Centre section and a search facility. However, there are no specific statements concerning operations examples. It is a useful source of background information though and provides a good flavour of NatWest.


Other Organisations Relevant To This Chapter

Biz/Ed Company Facts – Rating ***** - Recommended
This is a section of the Biz/Ed site well worth visiting. Leading organisations have provided answers to typical student questions, basic data and case studies especially prepared for Biz/ed. This is valuable if studying any of the particular companies mentions. Some of those available are BMW, The Body Shop, BP, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Unilever amongst others. A good general site for operations management examples.

Virtual Visits - Rating ****
This site has bee developed jointly by Edinburgh University and Heriot-Watt University. It provides virtual case studies on six companies in different business sectors. Of the six companies available there are currently only three which can be accessed ;United Distillers, Blue Circle and Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service. Information about the company in terms of background, structure, production process is available for the three mentioned operations to providing a useful educational tool.

Operations Management Centre – Rating ****
The operations management centre provides on line resources for operations management material. Of particular interest to this introductory chapter is the company tour section. In this over 50 company tours are detailed to assist the application of theory to real organisations. Use the site as an assist to the study of the subject and apply some of the key learning points to the businesses.

Articles Relevant To This Chapter

Operations & Production - Virtual Conference Centre Rating *****
To enter the Operations & Production Section follow the relevant link in the main page. The Quality Management conferences list details the Virtual Conference Centre's available selection for conferences in this subject area. The facility allows you to enter current conferences or browse the selection of proceedings from past conferences. This is an excellent resource for obtaining articles related to Operations & Production.

Hot Topics - Rating ****
The Warwick Business School - Hot Topics briefing papers are available as general background to key organisational issues. They summarise research on a variety of topics. They aim the papers at directors, policy-makers and opinion formers in both the private and not-for-profit sectors, however, the information is also relevant background to researching a variety of areas. The content is not however wholly directed towards operations management.

Harvard Business Review - Rating *****
The Harvard Business Review is an excellent site for obtaining general information on the subject of Operations Management. The site contains abstracts from the current issue which provide a good insight into miscellaneous areas. There is also an archive section from which previous articles can be obtained.

TOMI Collection - Rating ***
The Operations Management Index’s own compilation of OM related books and articles compiled (by theme).This is a good starting place for researching and obtaining information and articles on the general theme of Operations Management.

Journal of Operations Management - Rating ***
The Journal of Operations Management provides an information source for the general areas of interest in the field of operations. The journal exists to publish high quality papers in the field and promote further understanding of operations management. As a result there are many papers relevant to this area although not all are available from the site. A good place to begin research.

The Sections
Main Page - Operations Management
Section 1 - Introduction
Section 2 - Design
Section 3 - Planning & Control
Section 4 - Improvement
Section 5 - The Operations Challenge