Particular Challenges in Operations Management

Particular Challenges in Operations Management Order Instructions: ASSIGNMENT

Critically discuss the particular challenges, an operations manager faces, in managing quality in a service organization relative to a manufacturing organization. Cite specific examples.
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Particular Challenges in Operations Management
Particular Challenges in Operations Management

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Operations Management


Operation managers perform some of the most vital roles in an organization. They ensure that the process of operation management occurs at the preferred levels.  In so doing, operation managers oversee organizational business practices in a way that leads to the highest possible efficiency levels in that organization. Primarily, their duty is to ensure that the conversion of raw material into finished products and services is carried about in the best way possible which ensures minimum wastage, reduced expenses, and high returns.  Because of the importance of the function of the operation management processes, most organizations prefer to establish operation management teams which are tasked with the duty of ensuring that activities are carried out as planned. To achieve this, these teams often balance the revenue to be achieved from the production of certain goods and services with the cost that is required to carry out the whole process. They aid in the achievement of maximum returns by ensuring that the net marginal and operating profits remain high. Despite the overlaying common responsibility for operation managers, the type of organization in which the managers work in greatly influences the type of activities and challenges that they face. Therefore, this paper explains the challenges that an operations manager faces in managing quality in a service organization relative to a manufacturing organization.

Both service and manufacturing organizations offer closely related duties to their operation managers.  This is because the end objective of the manager’s effort is to ensure the maximum quality of services and products, efficient production processes, and high returns (Bozarth  & Handfield, 2016).  Therefore, operation managers working in both service and product companies are required to utilize available resources from the organization’s employees, equipment, technology, and materials to develop products and services that will suit the needs of their customers as well as utilize the capacity of the organization to the maximum.  This is achieved by carrying out certain specific roles such as determining the size of production plants,  choosing the best project management techniques, and establishing appropriate communication and technological networks at an organization.  Apart from these structural duties of an organization, operation managers also have to deal with activities that directly relate to the day to day management of business at an organization (Jacobs & Chase,2013). These activities include; inventory level management, acquisition of raw materials, quality control, and establishing maintenance policies (Khanna, 2015). To effectively carry out these duties, operation managers working in both service and product organizations rely on various formulas to aid them in carrying out their activities. For instance, operation managers in a manufacturing organization often utilize the economic order quantity formulae in determining the size of inventory, when to order or process, and the size of inventory to hold at certain times.

Operation Manager’s Duties In a Manufacturing Organizations

There are distinct duties of operational managers who work in manufacturing organizations that might not be part of the work schedule for those working in a service company.  First, operation managers in manufacturing organizations have to carry out production planning (Lacmanovic, 2010). This includes determining the exact size and quantity of goods that will be manufactured and the means through which they will be manufactured. Secondly, operation managers in manufacturing organizations have to carry out production control. This involves scheduling and monitoring the activities that make up the production process. In this regard, the operation managers specific duties involve getting feedback and responding to it through appropriate adjustments which might include handling inventories and purchasing of raw materials (Bozarth  & Handfield, 2016). Lastly, operation managers in manufacturing firms have to physical control the quality of processes being carried out. This involves observing and ensuring that the goods produced have the pre-requisite specifications and that their quality matches the company’s values and customer needs.

A snap view of total quality management value

The nature of the duties of operation managers in manufacturing companies exposes them to various challenges. They are required to make appropriate decisions, make flawless plans, and oversee all the aspects of production from the acquisition of raw materials to the satisfaction of the customers (Hill & Hill, 2012). Therefore, their most primary challenge is decision making. They have to decide on the best production methods to use. This is not easy as sometimes the best methods might not be cheap to implement. Moreover, decision making is difficult because if a wrong choice is made, the organization’s image might be destroyed (Schönsleben, 2016).   Therefore, to successfully come up with a sustainable production process for a manufacturing organization, operation managers have to consider the goals and objective of all other organization departments but, most important, they have to give priority to the objectives of the marketing managers (Khanna, 2015). This is because it is the marketing managers that are tasked with the duties of selling the products once they are produced. Therefore, production managers have to come up with a production process that will ensure that the products produced possess the exact specifications as required by the marketing managers.

Because of the need to establish a production process that caters for the needs of the marketing managers as well as all other managers within an organization, production managers often find it difficult to obtain all the relevant information from each of all the organization’s sections (Agus & Shukri, 2012). This is because accessing such information might be difficult depending on the organizational arrangement. Moreover, combining the information takes time. Another challenge faced by manufacturing company’s operational managers is procurement. They are required to purchase raw materials or inventories at appropriate costs while at the same time ensuring that the materials purchased have the ability to produce quality products that will result in high revenue to the company. This is difficult as it involves careful balancing of costs and revenue. Moreover, if left to the procurement department, they may end up purchasing materials of inferior standards. Lastly, operation managers in manufacturing organizations are faced with a challenge of ensuring that the goods produced are of high quality. Therefore, there is a need for the operation managers to oversee the whole production processes and make recommendation and amendments at each stage. Alternatively, they have to enlighten the organization’s human resource regarding adherence to quality standards (Baines  & Lightfoot, 2013). Either way, it is difficult because most operation management teams consist of a few individuals who may not be able to physically inspect all the production practices that might be going on in an organization. On the other hand, most organizations have not equipped their operation managers with the ability to train or influence the organization’s staff regarding quality standards. This challenge is often replicated in the production of inferior goods that end up causing negative user experience (Jacobs & Chase,2013). For example, the current generation of Samsung Galaxy S7 Tablets is being recalled because of a flaw in production that causes the gadgets to self-destruct when exposed to certain conditions.

Operation Manager’s Duties In service Organizations

Service organizations do not deal with the production of physical goods and services. Therefore, despite the fact that they too aim at satisfying the needs of their clients just as the manufacturing organizations, there are differences between these two types of organizations when it comes to the duties of operations managers. Most obvious causes of difference in their duties include; the intangibility of service organization’s products, lack of standardization of products by service companies as opposed to manufacturing companies (Schroeder,, 2013). For instance, a one-liter bottle of coca cola is the same everywhere in the world as opposed to service activities such as getting a shave that is specific to a person’s head. Lastly, service organizations are always in contact with their customers as opposed to manufacturing organizations.

A snap view show showing how to identify a quality management system

The existing differences between service and manufacturing organizations make the duties of service organization be more skewed towards customer satisfaction and relation as compared to manufacturing organizations. For instance, a hotel will have to enhance its public image to attract new customers and will have to relate well with existing customers so as to attract them back. In spite of these, the duties of a service company’s operation managers might be similar to those of manufacturing company’s operation managers in some ways. Particularly, service operation managers are often engaged in; operations planning which involves determining the service to offer, how to provide it, where to provide from, and the forecasted demand for the service. Operations managers in the service industry also have to carry out operation processes monitoring (Baines & Lightfoot, 2013). This includes ensuring that the planned processes are taking place as stated. According to the Institute for information industry (2014), as opposed to manufacturing firms, in service quality control and management, operations managers have to ensure that customer satisfaction is prioritized and achieved first in both the long run and short run. This is because the success of a service organization relies on satisfying customers and having them come back for more. For example, an airline company has to make sure that their customers arrive at their destinations safely and in time so that they keep on choosing that particular company over others. This is as opposed to manufacturing, for instance, a company such as Ford might make one car and have the owner use it for over three years before coming back for another model.

Based on the nature of their activities, operation managers in a service organization have a more daunting task of ensuring that the outcome of a company’s processes results in quality service as compared to those working in manufacturing firms. First, aside from understanding the organizational business processes and flows, they also have to understand their customers. This is difficult because many customers have different traits, preferences, and needs (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2013). Therefore, this makes it difficult to effectively determine what they may want. The situation is made tough by the fact that poor understanding and evaluation of customer needs by operation managers in service organizations might lead to the offering of low-quality services, a factor that may lead to poor customer relations and negative customer perception regarding the organization.

A snapshot of Quality visualization in a service company

Operation managers in service industries are faced with a challenge of ensuring that there exists a good relationship between customers and the company. Therefore, they have to ensure that an organization’s staffs have the necessary customer handling skills (Baines  & Lightfoot, 2013). In this regard, the managers should be able to understand and handle any customer complaints or problems that might occur between an organization’s employees and the client. For instance, in case a waiter mistakenly splashes some soup on a guest in a hotel, the overseeing operation manager should be able to come and solve any conflict that might arise. Moreover, he or she should be able to comfort the customer and make him or she understand that it was just a mistake from the waiter. Another challenge faced by operation managers in the service industry is as a result of globalization. This is because globalization has created the needs for organizations to operate on international levels. This means that various processes have to be developed so as to meet the needs of a diverse pool of clients. Therefore, service operation managers have to learn about various new business environments and come up with better means of offering great services to markets in such environments (Bozarth  & Handfield, 2016). Lastly, operation managers in the service industry have to keep up with the changing social trends and workforce. This is because these factors affect the day to day preferences of customers and abilities of the existing workforce. Therefore, they have to be able to maintain an effective workforce that can efficiently cater to the changing client needs. However, this has to be done carefully to ensure that ethical conduct is observed when dealing with both employees and customers irrespective of the overlaying changes in social trends.

Particular Challenges in Operations Management Conclusion

Operation managers need to have a proper understanding of various processes within an organization. They need to actively create new production processes while at the same time evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of the current processes.  Therefore, irrespective of the type of organization that operation managers will be working for, they have to be versatile and organized to ensure that they create processes that lead to high productivity. From the paper’s discussion, it is clear that the duties carried out by operation manners in manufacturing organizations are somehow different from those carried out by organizational managers in service organizations. Those in companies offering services face more challenges since their activities involve direct interaction with customers. Such interactions often require highly efficient delivery of services and strict adherence to ethical practices. This is because even the way employee’s carry themselves out in a service organization might influence the perceptions of the customer.

Particular Challenges in Operations Management Reference

Agus, A., & Shukri Hajinoor, M. (2012). Lean production supply chain management as a driver towards enhancing product quality and business performance: the Case study of manufacturing companies in Malaysia. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 29(1), 92-121.

Baines, T., & W. Lightfoot, H. (2013). Servitization of the manufacturing firm: Exploring the operations practices and technologies that deliver advanced services. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 34(1), 2-35.

Bak, O., & Boulocher-Passet, V. (2013). Connecting industry and supply chain management education: Exploring challenges faced in an SCM consultancy module. Supply Chain Management, 18(4), 468-479. doi:

Bozarth, C. B., & Handfield, R. B. (2016). Introduction to operations and supply chain management. Pearson Higher Ed.

Fitzsimmons, J., & Fitzsimmons, M. (2013). Service management: Operations, strategy, information technology. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Hill, A., & Hill, T. (2012). Operations management. Palgrave Macmillan.

Institute for information industry; researchers submit patent application, “major management apparatus, authorized management apparatus, electronic apparatus for delegation management, and delegation management methods thereof”, for app. (2014). Politics & Government Week, , 10515. Retrieved from

Jacobs, F. R., & Chase, R. B. (2013). Operations and supply chain management: the core. McGraw-Hill.

Khanna, R. B. (2015). Production and operations management. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd..

Schönsleben, P. (2016). Integral logistics management: Operations and supply chain management within and across companies. CRC Press.

Schroeder, R. G., Goldstein, S. M., & Rungtusanatham, M. J. (2013). Operations management in the supply chain: Decisions and cases.

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