This course, Understanding operations management, is designed to provide you with a basic framework for understanding operations management and its organisational and managerial context. It begins with a brief history of the changing nature of operations in a manufacturing context, but emphasises that the operations function is significant in all types of organisation, whether they produce goods or provide services, and whether they are in the private, public or voluntary sectors.

This course presents a process model of operations that describes inputs being transformed into outputs within the boundary of an operations system. It also discusses the role of operations managers, in particular the importance of focusing on suppliers and customers who are outside this boundary, as well as on other aspects of the operations system’s external environment.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • define ‘operations’ and ‘operations management’
  • identify the roles and responsibilities of operations managers in different organisational contexts
  • apply the ‘transformation model’ to identify the inputs, transformation processes and outputs of an organisation
  • identify operational and administrative processes
  • describe the boundaries of an operations system, and recognise its interfaces with other functional areas within the organisation and with its external environment.

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