A meal in a restaurant, a visit to the hospital, buying a pair of Levi 501s, making a pair of Levi 501s, Woodstock Festival, insuring an automobile, staying in an hotel, going to the cinema, even the workings of a prison; all have operations activities and their management is central to the successful provision of goods and services. Even Government departments can draw heavily upon operational initiatives and strategies when they talk about supply chain management, lean supply, just in time and total quality management.
Operations management has its origins in the study of 'production' or 'manufacturing management'. These terms still very much apply to manufacturing organizations that will have distinct operational activities that convert say, beans and rich tomato sauce into cans of baked beans to be sold by a retailer. Thus, we can initially think of operations management as being part of a distinct function producing a product and service combination, just as we have marketing and accounting functions in many organizations. Our first definition of operations management is therefore:
Every organization that offers goods or services has an operations activity. As far as the organization structure is concerned, some firms will have a discrete operations function. This might be called a manufacturing department, an operations system, or have no identifiable name at all. However, like marketing and accounting, it is a fundamental function of the firm with professionally trained operations or production managers responsible for conversion of resources into the required product and service combinations. In some organizations such managers will have different titles, a store manager for a retailer, administrative managers within a hospital or distribution managers in a logistics company. This first definition tends to be rather narrow as it applies to core conversion processes (mostly manufacturing). We need therefore to widen the definition of operations management to a second level:
The design, operation and improvement of the internal and external systems, resources and technologies that create