Operations Mangement: What Is It?

Understanding Business - Nickels, McHugh, & McHugh

Understanding Business
Understanding Business

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Operations Management is a Specialized Area

Operations Management: What is it?

“Operations management is a specialized area in management that converts or transforms resources (including human resources) into goods and services. It includes inventory management, quality control, production scheduling, follow-up services, and more.”

The following text notes that the term “production,” which is used to reference the “creation” of goods, is often replaced with “operations,” to reflect goods and services. (Nickels, McHugh & McHugh, 2008, From Production to Operation Management section).

Benefit from Improved Operations: Which Industries/

What are some industries that might benefit from improved operations management? Here is one Industry and two suggestions.

Many businesses today can have a combination of products and services. Meaning, a business that produces products and offers consumer services can widen the scope of its core business model to cover various sectors or industries. Nickels, et. al use a superb example of the automobile manufacturing and servicing industry; which can cover the Consumer Goods sector’s Auto Manufacturing industry and simultaneously, the Service sector. To add, auto manufacturers can also reach into the Financial sector through financing arms. Therefore, operations management can exist in countless categories of sectors and sub-categorical industries.

What industries may benefit from improved operations management?

In a service sector U.S. type of economy, industries that may benefit from improved operations management range from Advertising Agencies and Business Services to Restaurants and Resorts & Casinos.

One service sector industry that can use improved operations today is Education & Training services.

1) Even though there are some education facilities that offer online education, traditional higher education institutions should aggressively begin investing time and effort on online degree programs. Because student welfare is an essential issue to this service industry and operations management is consumer based, traditional facilities should be flexible and consider technological innovations.

2) Traditional education institutions have “a common concern [that] when starting a distance education program[,] the online course offerings will merely divert students from existing traditional courses, dividing a fixed pool of students….[and] might lower a traditional institution’s academic profile” (Magna Pubs, Inc., 2006, ¶ 1). My suggestion is to evade this fear. In the article Cavanaugh states that, “such fears are unwarranted… [and] attracting more distance education students can improve the overall academic quality of a student body at a primarily traditional campus.”

Moreover,“[f]or universities willing to make a serious commitment to capacity and marketing, online courses could be an important way to attract students with a good chance for success” (Magna Pubs, Inc., 2006, ¶ 3). Overall, these suggestions, in a sense, will improve current operations by meeting the current/future needs of students/consumers.


Magna Publications, Incorporated. (2006). Recruitment & retention in higher education: Online Students Can Improve Overall Student Quality. [Electronic Version].

Nickels, W., McHugh, J., & McHugh, S. (2008). Understanding business: Chapter 9: Producing World Class Goods and Services.(8th ed.). [Electronic Version].

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