Top 6 Concepts to Learn During an MBA in Operations Management

Operation management is an important function in every company and the emphasis on business process & operations and process improvement has been growing in recent years as this is directly tied to the growth and revenue of companies. In this post, we will cover some of the top concepts to learn while pursuing an MBA in Operations Management.

1. Just in Time Inventory Management

It is a management strategy also called the Toyota production system( TPS) because it was made popular by Toyota. It is used to manage inventory and/or production that aligns raw-material orders from suppliers directly with production schedules.

Major Companies used this inventory strategy to increase efficiency and decrease waste by creating, storing and keeping track of just the number of orders that are required to supply the actual demand for the company’s products. Companies use Just in time methods to take care of their production efficiency and fulfil the orders they receive.

2. Total Quality Management( TQM)

Total Quality Management is a management strategy and has become extremely popular in the last 30 years. It is a customer-oriented process and it describes the culture, attitude of a company where the goal is to provide customers with world-class products that satisfy all their needs. This means that all the processes need to be done right the first time and it ensures that all the work is towards common goals to achieve the best quality and optimizing the production process.

A great emphasis is placed on decision making based on pure facts and using defined performance metrics to reach objectives.  Total Quality Management Principles are Management commitment, Empowerment of employees, Continuous improvement, Focus on the customer and process orientation. TQM consists of 4 phases: Planning, Doing, Checking, Acting Phase. Learn more about employee Total Quality management through various brand examples, projects case studies during your MBA in Operations Management.

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3. Kaizen Principles

It is a Japanese management concept that actually means continuous improvement. This method helps to improve the productivity of an organization. It enables this by taking simple, small steps continuously that together over a period of time lead to big improvements and drastic improvements in the business processes. This concept says that work never stops or work is never done as it is a principle of improvements that never stops.

This management concept follows the following basic elements that are teamwork, personal discipline, improved morale, quality improvement, zero defects, productivity improvement which lead to important objectives such as less waste, reduction in cost, improved and best quality of products, identification and then observing a certain set of standards.

Some of the benefits of this principle to companies are workers are empowered with problem-solving skills, faster delivery and lower overall costs, highly transparent and delivers results, increase the morale of employees and instils a sense of culture and responsibility.   Learn more about Kaizen principles through various brand examples, project case studies during your MBA in Operations Management.

4. Assemble-to-Order Strategy

This is a manufacturing strategy where final products are assembled from the component parts only once an order has been placed by the customer. This strategy is used when a company can assemble and deliver goods quickly. The company predicts the orders for products based on past data, macro-economic trends and the overall market conditions.

This is actually a combination of the make to order strategy which is when parts are ordered and assembled based on the order placed by the customer but it takes a longer time to deliver and they make to a stock strategy which is stocking up on inventory of the final goods based on the forecasts made for demand but the risk and unsold inventory here is high.

Advantages of this strategy are lower overall business costs, faster delivery times and the ability to customize orders. Learn more about Assemble-to-order Strategy through various brand examples, project case studies during your MBA in Operations Management. 

5. Bottleneck

A bottleneck is a very common term in operations management and it is one particular process in a whole chain of processes whose output reduces the output of the entire chain. When there are bottlenecks in a process the following problems are common, the production is halted, there is an overstocking of supply, employee morale is low. There 2 types of bottlenecks: short term and long term.

A short term bottleneck is limited and an example can be a very skilled employee taking a few days off while long term bottlenecks occur more frequently and it slows down production drastically and one good example is a non-efficient machine. Learn more about bottlenecks through various brand examples, project case studies during your MBA in Operations Management. 

6. Six Sigma

Six sigma is a very popular concept. It is a set of disciplined, data-driven management tools and quality control techniques which when implemented correctly can reduce or eliminate the defects and mistakes in a business process which was developed in 1986 by Motorola. It lays lots of emphasis on improving the cycle time while at the same reducing defects or mistakes.

It is a method to work more efficiently with fewer defects or mistakes. Of late it has evolved into a business management philosophy where the focus is to meet customer requirements, improve retention of customers and sustain the business. Learn more about Six Sigma through various brand examples, project case studies during your MBA in Operations Management.

MBA Programs in India

Due to lockdown across India, multiple universities and b-schools are now offering their MBA programs online. You can consider some of these world-class MBA programs offered by top Business schools. One of the top MBA learning platforms in India, upGrad can help you apply for an MBA from Liverpool Business School with a specialization in marketing.

You will be given many MBA projects that will enhance your overall learning experience and help you learn a practical application of marketing concepts that various brands have used. upGrad also offers individual mentoring sessions with industry leaders from various domains.

You will also get 360-degree career support and placement assistance throughout the MBA program that will help you apply for a job with some of the top brands. upGrad expert mentors will guide you and help you build, review your resume and help you apply for various marketing & business roles across various brands.

How does Six Sigma work?

At the beginning of every six-sigma method, a business problem is identified. The problem statement usually addresses questions such as what, when and where. Once this is done, the root cause of this business problem is identified. They are then converted to statistical problems using hypothesis testing methods. The identification of root causes is vital because it has maximum impact on the problem. The last step is identifying a practical business solution for every problem and implementing it in the process. The results derived are then observed and sustained.

What does an operations manager do?

As the name implies, an operations manager is responsible for the operations and production-related aspects of a company. Whether it’s overseeing the manufacturing of goods or increasing the efficiency of production machinery, they play a vital role within an organisation. The other job duties include monitoring expense reports, reviewing budgets, coordinating training programs for the staff, interpreting financial data, driving initiatives that contribute to long-term operational excellence, and performing a thorough cost-benefit analysis on internal programs.

What does the 5S methodology in the Kaizen principles really mean?

The 5S methodology comes under the lean manufacturing umbrella. It is a simple tool that eliminates waste within a manufacturing process. The five steps of the 5S process include sort, straighten set in order, shine, standardise and sustain. When implemented in the right order, the 5S process can drive higher profits and increase productivity. As an operations manager, if you want your organisation to continuously produce high quality products according to the set timelines, you should use 5S. It empowers manufacturers to achieve quality consistency and delivery.

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