Operations management has become one of the most popular options for an online MBA and the demand for operations managers is constantly increasing. If you have any doubt regarding choosing operations management as your career path or how to learn operations management, then we got you covered here.
Below, we’ve compiled a complete guide that includes everything about operations management that you need to know before you make your career decision. From understanding what operations management is all about to free online operations management courses and resources, we’ve got it all covered for you.
What Is Operations Management?
Operations management is the management of the entire set of activities or processes that convert inputs into outputs. The outputs are the products and services, and the inputs are raw material, labor, and machinery.
In our everyday life, we use different products and services. It can be your toothpaste or your Wi-Fi service. But how are these products made and how are these services offered? This is where operations management comes into action.
For example, to build a bike, a factory requires raw material, metal in this case, which is processed and transformed into the finished product, the bike.
The production process can consist of multiple activities that run in a contraption. Now, this input, that is the raw material that undergoes several activities and processes which convert it into the final finished product, a bike.
The management of all these activities that transform inputs into outputs is known as operations management. It is mainly concerned with planning, coordinating, and overseeing the production of goods or the provision of services.
What Is Operations Management Used For?
To figure out if operations management is the right choice for you, we need to talk about what operations management is all about. Then, you can decide if you have what it takes to be a successful operations manager.
Let’s take a look at the fundamental foundations of operations management and an operations manager’s job roles. The foundations of operations management are:
- Process. Formulating a sequence of activities that transforms inputs into outputs with minimal bottlenecks.
- Efficiency. Operations management is supposed to eliminate bottlenecks, and manage resources and downtimes to ensure the processes run with maximum efficiency.
- Quality. Quality checks are one of the most critical factors of any production of goods or provision of services to maintain customer satisfaction. Failing to implement quality checks can cause a great deal of damage to a company’s reputation.
- Planning. Forecasting, preparing, and making required adjustments to optimize the processes fall under the operations management department.
- Continuous Improvement. With constant development in technology, new and more efficient methods of executing processes are discovered every day. The operations manager must always seek better ways to compete with other companies.
- Cost Control. A significant portion of a company’s expenditure is typically on production. An operations manager must keep it a minimum.
What Does an Operations Manager Do?
An operations manager is responsible for supervising all steps of manufacturing products and providing services. An operations manager must oversee all resources such as technology, raw materials, machinery, and employees to create goods and services that the consumer wants.
The field of operations management includes a diverse set of functions and roles, which can differ among industries and companies of different sizes. This includes:
- Supervising manufacturing plants
- Supervising coordination among various teams
- Management and execution of timely delivery protocols
- Conducting multiple enterprise resource planning (ERP) sessions
- Navigating industrial labor relations
- Reducing waste and bottlenecks
- Making sure that the company’s strategic plan is being executed
Though these are the fundamental job roles of an operations manager, they are not limited to them. The job roles may vary depending upon the types of products or services a particular company provides.
To be a good operations manager, you need to be organized, adaptable, smart, creative, and able to negotiate. Above all, you must possess leadership skills. Management is all about leading people, and therefore leadership qualities are very important.
Types of Operations Management
Operations management is a broad subject, but it can be broken down into more specific streams. These include:
The planning operations department decides what direction the company will move toward. The planning operations department does this by conducting market research to analyze what services or products the market needs, and by researching who the competitors are and how to beat them.
The result of the research may conclude with a prototype to meet those requirements of the targeted consumer.
Low-quality products or services can have drastic effects on a company’s reputation and business. Quality management covers a wide range of activities. It is so broad that it can further be divided into two parts: quality control and quality assurance.
Quality control is keeping a check on the manufactured goods, and quality assurance is the inspection of how long they will last or how well they will perform.
Supply chain Management
A Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management (SCM) will teach you that the management and sourcing of the raw materials for product development is vital to success, along with managing logistics The primary purpose of SCM is to ensure that production and distribution functions without interruption.
Companies employ supply chain firms to develop and execute the supply chain of their company in the most efficient way.
Capacity management is the act of ensuring that a business makes the best use of its potential to maximize its sales. Capacity management also deals with market research to develop a strategy on the market’s purchase capacity in a given location and how the company can expand its sales capacity accordingly.
Learning Operations Management
Operations management is an excellent skill, and if added to your skills section on your resume, it can increase your chances of getting a much better job. There are many ways to learn operations management, including online courses, books, or online resources.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Operations Management?
However, there are also many standalone courses you can pursue to become familiar with operations management. By joining an online course or a training program, you can learn the fundamentals of operations management in as little as a week.
How to Learn Operations Management: Step-by-Step
Below we have compiled an in-depth guide on learning operations management from the best free online courses to training programs offered by top universities.
But first, let’s break down your plan to learn operations management into five simple steps.
- Choose an online course or a training program: You need to decide what suits you better, an online course or a traditional offline training program. If you are comfortable with attending online lectures, then you can always go for an online course. Not only do you get more flexibility, but some are absolutely free.
- Get yourself enrolled: If you have decided to pursue your career in operations management, then don’t waste time. Get yourself enrolled in an online course or a training program and begin your studies.
- Collect Extra Certificates: Getting a degree is great, but what can you do to make yourself better than other candidates? You can complete a course that specializes in a particular sector within operations management. For example, you can complete a supply chain management or quality management course. Extra certificates will definitely give you an edge over other candidates.
- Increase your knowledge by reading books: Books always add a boost to your knowledge. You can pick out a book that we have reviewed below in this article in the resource section.
- Work experience: The best way of learning anything is by experiencing it. Try to find a short-term internship before you apply to top global companies. Paid or unpaid, an internship will be an excellent addition to create your perfect resume.
The Best Operations Management Courses and Training
There are a lot of courses that will teach you operations management and finding the best one can be difficult. To help you out, we have listed the best operations management online courses and training programs below.
Best Online Operations Management Courses
Below are a few online operations management courses that you can enroll in for free.
- Provider: Udemy
- Cost: Free
- Time: 2hr 26min
This Udemy course covers all the fundamental concepts of operations management. It will give you a general introduction to the most common problems that a company faces and what an operations manager can do to solve them. The course covers a lot, including process management, lean operations, management of service operations, and supply chain.
You will get to see and understand how different businesses have different processes and how to manage them. The course further extends to provide basic training about devising a strategy to manage their operations most efficiently.
This course is packed with over two hours of on-demand video lectures and tutorials that you can follow at home.
- Provider: Coursera
- Cost: Free
- Time: 10hr (approx)
This course is offered by The University of Pennsylvania. As the name suggests, it introduces you to the world of operations management.
It imparts you with knowledge about the key terms and modules of operations management like process analysis, productivity, and quality control. This course includes practice quizzes and graded assignments to test yourself.
This course comes with flexible deadlines, meaning that you can create your own schedule and learn about operations management through 10 hours of video lectures.
- Provider: EDX
- Cost: Free
- Time: 7 Weeks (2– 4 hours per week)
This course not only gives you an introduction to operations management but also provides you with a detailed overview of the advanced concepts of operations management. This course discusses the different strategies used by businesses worldwide.
It also discusses the techniques and skills used by professionals to estimate, analyze, and compose the key elements of operations management. This online course is excellent for anyone who knows a bit about operations management and wants to learn more.
Best Operations Management Training Programs
For those who find it challenging to learn through online programs, we have listed a few in-person training programs for operations management in top institutions.
- Location: New Mexico
- Cost: $23,292.00
- Time: 6 Weeks
This course is offered by the University of New Mexico, which is currently ranked at 601-650 in QS Global World Rankings 2021. It’s one of the best training programs where you can learn operations management.
- Location: New Mexico
- Cost: $23,100.00
- Time: 6 Weeks
University at Buffalo, The State University Of New York offers an excellent training program for operations management. The University of New Mexico is currently ranked at 364 in QS Global World Rankings 2021. You will get trained by one of the best professors and gain a lot of exposure here.
- Location: New Mexico
- Cost: $23,292.00
- Time: 6 Weeks
Southern New Hampshire University is one of the best universities to study operations management. Southern New Hampshire University is currently ranked at 801-1000 in QS Global World Rankings 2021.
Best Operations Management Resources
No matter if you choose to study online or in a university, you can always take an extra step and learn as much as you can through operations management books and online resources. There is a pool of resources available out there. But how do you know what’s worth your time and what’s not?
To help you out, we have listed the best resources, both online and offline, to help you in your quest to become an excellent operations manager.
Best Operations Management Books
The Goal is not just a textbook but a literal graphic novel. Unlike other boring books written in a very formal tone, The Goal stands out because of its thriller style presentation.
The authors Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox say that it is more like a novel. Thousands of people have read this book and many of them have given reviews supporting their claim. It is one of the best books on operations management and people even consider using it as a textbook.
William J Stevenson’s book’s 12th Edition of operations management is an amazing book covering many more topics that typical textbooks don’t. People reviewing this book claim that the topics covered in this book are exclusive and are often asked in interviews.
This book also plays the role of a reference book to various concepts that are discussed with precise details. Overall, William J Stevenson has written an excellent book with an in-depth discussion of critical concepts with a modest explanation.
The book is trusted by many professors worldwide. Students from the Chalmers University of Technology say that they have used this book as the main operations management textbook.
If you are a reader who prefers “to the point” answers to your questions, then this book is just the right choice for you. This book offers a complete framework, including all the topics and concepts of how a company operates and its supply chain problems.
Best Online Operations Management Resources
PDF Drive: With over 1200 books on operations management, PDF Drive is a never-ending resource to get free ebooks. May it be about a particular subtopic or detailed study of operations management as a whole. PDF Drive offers all these resources for free.
Barnes And Noble: With a wide range of top-rated ebooks, Barnes And Noble has made its way up to this list of the best resources to learn more about operations management. The collection is not as grand as PDF Drive but is still exclusive.
Should You Study Operations Management?
With the rapid growth in industries worldwide, the demand for operations managers is constantly increasing. Management is the backbone of any business, which is why an operations manager holds a vital position in any company.
Operations management is not a seasoned job. It is never going to be outdated. There will always be a need for someone who can manage all the operations of a company.
According to a survey of more than 19,000 people, Payscale.com has concluded that an operations manager’s average salary in the USA is $65,867. So if you are looking for a stable life with a steady job, and if you have the required skills and qualities needed to become an operations manager, then this is the right career path for you.