“Our business is about technology, yes. But its also about operations and customer relationships.” – Micheal Dell
Operations management is a relatively new term, having little stature surrounding it until the 20th century, although its beginnings can be traced back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Adam Smith is credited as one of the first people to address the issues of operations management in 1776.
There was little to no improvement in the world of operations until Fredrick Taylor and Henry Ford developed a scientific approach to operations in the early 20th century. Their system involved collecting data about production then analyzing it to make improvements. Taylor helped Ford bring the price of the Model T down from $825 to $575, and in sixteen years they went from selling 10,000 units to over 10 million. This only further proves how operations is an essential part of the business world, even though it is often taken for granted or looked over.
After doing some research here are the top three reasons in my opinion that make operations such an important and necessary role.
In operations, you must be the jack-of-all-trades to be successful. It doesn’t matter if you are in a manger or entry-level position. There is an ever-increasing amount of planning, scheduling, logistics, quality assurance to do. The main goal of operations is to make everyone’s lives easier, whether it be coworkers, customers, bosses, etc. It is an all-encompassing role that requires you to be quick on your feet and a fast thinker, knowing everything, keeping it organized, and communicating properly.
One thing stays true, no matter the size of the company, operations supports every single role. They are the moms and dads of the business world, responsible for idiot-proofing every step and detail while enforcing standards and procedures to ensure a healthy environment. All while putting their boss’s mind at ease by ensuring them that everyone is in a safe and injury-free zone. Those in operations are the solid foundation that helps amazing ideas go from being simply a seed to blossoming and flourishing into something great.
A lot of operations is about efficiency, getting the most done in the least amount of time with the highest quality work being delivered. Those in operations are the ones that make sure the daily activities run seamlessly, even if no one notices. It is organizing time, energy, and money so that it can speak for itself and create value. Whether it be renting a venue, computer or machine every detail gets taken care of perfectly by someone in operations. This includes behind the scenes stuff as well such as pricing, rebates, and hours that often get looked over.
Now as I’m sure you can see the role of operations can vary tremendously, not just from entry-level to a manager but also in the day-to-day tasks. Some common tasks that those in an operations role have to complete are:
- Monitoring and improving daily functions
- Maximizing and measuring efficiency levels
- Updating processes to meet the company’s needs
- Coordinating with all levels and positions in the company
That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the plethora of responsibilities that those in operations have. An operations role is not for the weak or lazy, it is a constantly evolving position. It encompasses all sides of every story and wraps it up with a bow on top. It is the fuel that keeps a company going, and continuously striving for improvement.