Operations management software helps to make sure that all business operations, whether for services or products, are effective and efficient.
No matter what industry your business is part of, you’re probably looking for ways to boost your competitive advantage. One way you can gain a significant edge is to adopt more effective operations than your competitors.
Technology is already widespread in our personal lives, but it’s been a bit slower to take hold in many businesses. Around half of the companies are still using manual processes to do things they could be doing more efficiently with tools like operations management software.
These companies are in jeopardy of falling behind those that have already implemented operations management solutions. Including these tools in your organization could be a significant step toward improving your business.
Here’s what you should know.
What is operations management (OM)?
Operations management is the business function that’s responsible for managing the process of producing and distributing goods and services. While it involves planning, organizing, coordinating, and controlling the resources to deliver these goods and services, there is much emphasis placed on the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes.
Since operations management typically includes considerable measuring and analysis of internal processes, it is a management function that’s mainly concerned with managing people, equipment, technology, information, and any other resources that are necessary for the production of goods and services.
You may also like an article about Key Manufacturing Business Metrics.
Regardless of the industry, the company’s size, whether it is manufacturing or service, or is for-profit or not-for-profit, operations management is a central function in every one of them.
Why is operations management so important, and what are its main functions?
In the past, it was difficult to improve efficiency within a production facility because thorough insights and collaboration were missing in the organization. With the implementation of operations management, however, there became more accountability and accuracy for delivering a product or project successfully. Operations management performs vital functions that ultimately contribute to increased production within the operation.
Here are those primary functions:
Finance plays a critical role in operations management. Without the proper use of funds, it is difficult (or impossible) to ensure that the goods and services you are producing are optimized to meet the needs of a substantial customer base.
Planning helps organizations to make the most of the resources they have available and to get a competitive advantage. It has value in several areas of business:
- Product planning
This form of planning includes market research that helps to clarify the wants and needs of specifics groups of potential customers and how new products can best be provided for them. It could identify both competitors and potential partners. The research could also advise on the best terms in pricing the products and services and suggest ways to advertise and promote them.
- Facilities planning
Facilities and their maintenance add up to an expensive component of operations management. These costs make facilities management one of the most important in the planning functions. Getting this right will benefit the organization by making it possible to effectively and efficiently produce products and services within the plant.
- Capacity Planning
Capacity planning includes specifying how many products or how much service will be produced and at what rate. This planning will also involve predicting (forecasting) the demand for the products or services.
The operations function is concerned with planning, organizing, directing, and overall control of all activities within the business. It is the primary function of operations management because it mainly aids in turning raw materials and labor into a product or service that customers want and can use.
- Production planning
Production planning is that part of operations in which all the inputs are converted into a product or service. It incorporates numerous elements, from the activities of employees to the ability to forecast delivery dates accurately. Without an effective production planning operation, a manufacturing process cannot take advantage of its full potential.
Scheduling is another critical activity within the operations function. Highly effective and efficient organizations coordinate the timing of events to organize, monitor and optimize the equipment, people, and production activities. Scheduling has a significant impact on the productivity of the system.
- Workflow management
Workflow management is creating and enhancing the paths for data so that the company can produce items in a particular process. It includes charting the workflow in an ideal state, finding unneeded tasks, automating wherever possible, and finding bottlenecks and areas for improvement.
Supply chain management (SCM)
Supply chain management refers to the various activities that are required to plan, control, and execute a product’s movement from materials to production to distribution—all in the most economical way possible.
The goal of SCM is to optimize this flow of materials, information, and capital in functions that include demand forecasting, sourcing, production, and inventory management, along with storage and transportation. Companies use often use dedicated software to manage their supply chain and obtain a competitive advantage.
Supply chain management is a complex undertaking that relies on each partner–from suppliers to manufacturers–to run smoothly. Effective supply chain management requires collaboration and risk management to ensure communication and alignment among all the participants.
Inventory is made up of unprocessed materials, finished goods, supplies, and works-in-process. Inventory management is that portion of supply chain management that directs those items from manufacturers to storage to where they are sold. Companies must strike a balance between the size of their inventory and their actual rate of sales. With too much stock, companies cannot recover their costs from sales promptly. Too little inventory means lost revenue because the company is unable to meet customer demand.
Quality management is a critical aspect of operations management, especially as it pertains to continuous improvement. Quality control is part of quality management that focuses on fulfilling quality requirements. While quality control is mostly the inspection feature of quality management, quality assurance refers to how the process is performed or how a product is manufactured. Other advancements in the area of quality include benchmarking and Total Quality Management.
What is operations management software?
Operations management software brings together all the components of the system to make sure that all business operations, whether for services or products, are effective and efficient. It streamlines the processes as much as possible to help organizations make the most of their resources, achieve excellent results, and increase their potential for higher profits.