Operations management: A promising option for MBA specialization

Have you heard that India’s supply chain will get a strong boost in upcoming years? This is because the pandemic has caused a downturn effect on the country’s economy. Due to this fact, people in every corner of the country are facing job loss and salary cuts. To improve this, the production of different things will start in India giving rise to more job opportunities mainly in manufacturing in the supply chain. This all is related to Operations Management which is in boon. It is a specialization from an MBA course. Operations Management is majorly concerned with planning, executing, and managing related to manufacturing, procurement, or technology. The end goal of operations management is making a product or a service that will satisfy customers. In this, it has mainly internal things to act mainly in supply chain management and logistics.

What skills are required for operations management?

Anyone fond of problem-solving will do best in this stream. This is because it involves a detailed look into the processes and systems involved in the company where you will work with. Also, good decision-making power and analytical skills are important when you are a high level of the work area. Proper planning, implementation, designing, and leveraging the strategy is needed for a job role basically for an operations manager. There are plenty of other job roles that you can get by pursuing this career which requires a mix of creative skills and self-driving attitude.

Which are the top institutes for operations management?

Foreign Institutes

MIT Sloan School of Management located at Cambridge is the top-ranked business school for operations management. Other than this, HEC Paris in France; SDA Bocconi in Italy; Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands;  Alliance Manchester Business School in the UK stands the best institutes in this stream. To get admission into these prestigious colleges, you need to appear for the GMAT exam and score between 690-760. You can get benefits of joining these business schools like you can get salaries in the range of US$130,000 – US$175,000 and great exposure in terms of faculties and new technologies.

Indian Institutes

India has numerous management institutes that offer a degree in multiple formats as MBA, PGDM, MMS, PGDBM, and PGPM for Operations management. They all matter in a similar way when it comes to placements just the association or affiliation of the colleges differs. Top Indian Institutes for operations stream is XLRI, Jamshedpur followed by IIM, Bangalore; IIM Calcutta; NITIE, Mumbai; SP Jain, Mumbai; ISB, Hyderabad and SIOM, Nashik. The eligibility criteria for these colleges varies and is based on entrance test either XAT, CAT, GMAT, CMAT, or SNAP; GD/PI; academic performance. It will be cherry on the cake if you have added work experience. NITIE’s and SIOM’s fee is slightly less than other colleges, otherwise, the fees bracket is from 4 to 15 lacs.

After completing the first year, you have to do a summer internship where you will get exposed to the practical life of operations management. The matter of fact is that these colleges do offer and added advantage in terms of ROI for students. The salary ranges around 7 to 15 lacs per annum. Lately, there is a lot of competition for getting into these colleges. So, only if you study hard, you will be able to crack the entrance test. But not to worry there are other colleges like FORE, VGSoM, IIT Kharagpur, GLIM, JBIMS, Welingkar, and KJ Somaiya where you can guarantee good placements.

What are the core subjects in this stream?

Supply chain management

Operations management
Basic supply chain steps

The supply chain is a process of transforming the raw material into a finished good and then delivering it to the end customer. In the management of the supply chain, there are many basic things involved like procuring the raw materials, maintaining the cost sheet and bill of materials, production of goods and services, keeping the stock properly in the warehouse, then the logistics part which transfers the goods to customers.

Operations management
Automated warehouse

Here, there are methods to improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of the supply chain. For managing the inventory in the factory, you can leverage ABC Analysis, XYZ Analysis, and much more. Also, processes are getting automated and the power of artificial intelligence is utilized considerably in this industry 4.0 world. This has a ripple effect in the supply chain by creating an automated warehouse, Just in Case theories, Vendor Management Inventory, and Digital Manufacturing.

Lean Operations

Operations management
Jidoka being followed in Toyota Plant, Japan

Lean means to eliminate or reduce non-value adding activities. You will be able to learn various unique things in this subject. Lean operations focus to produce only what is needed and when required in the factory. Major types of waste identified in this area are overproduction, waiting, transport, inventory, motion, over-processing, and defects. The activities from the Toyota plant that follows the Toyota Production System (TPS). Also, Shigeo Shingo invented of Poka-yoke, Jidoka, and JIT (Just in Time). Kaizen means continuous improvement is a very crucial thing to understand in Lean. This is perfect to achieve productivity in any work you are in to be it in a factory or any IT firm.

Operations management
Implementing cellular layout

Other famous tools are SMED (Single minute exchange of die), Andon, Standardized work, Gemba (real place where activities take place) management, measurement of throughput time and takt time and Five S. In the manufacturing area, there are theories which can be learned and applied easily like Six sigma, Cellular layout, WIP (Work in progress), OEE, TQM, and TPM. Process capability, FMEA, and VSM are other important tools that are involved to improve in terms of problem-solving, quality, and cycle time.

Business process re-engineering (BPR)

Operations management
BPR Steps

This is a very interesting area that is mainly concentrated in the cross-functional processes in an organization instead of fragmented functional thinking. BPR is the fundamental rethinking and radical redesigning of business processes that leads to improvising the performance measures like cost, services, quality, and speed. You have to execute steps in BPR and also conduct process mapping and flow diagrams in terms of as-is (actual process) and to-be (expected process). In the to-be process, you mark the areas for making improvements. Most companies in the world are trying to leverage BPR in their departments but some of them are not able due to one most the major reason that is resistance to change.

Also Read The Most affordable University of America for Indian students

IT vertical

Operations management

The fast growth in the technological field has made the world a very better and fast-moving place. This growth is mainly due to the increase in the applications, use, and programming of computers in almost every field. So, if you are doing operations management and are inclined towards IT, this subject area is really best to opt for. You will get to answer the following questions:

  1. How IT has matured itself and has become the enabler?
  2. What are the Servoequal and designing business models?
  3. What is the detailed project management style for the organization by implementing CPM, Agile methodologies, SDLC frameworks, and so on?
  4. How IT strategy adds value to the company’s objective by decreasing cost and risks?
  5. Which are the business analysis steps, documentation, stakeholder analysis, object relationships, and so on?

Operations Research and Analytics

Operations management

You can use your analytical and critical thinking skills in this subject. More calculation and excels comes into the picture for solving the models like transportation, shortest path first, algebraic formulations, simplex method, Least Cost Method (LCM), Vogel’s Approximation Method (VAM) and much more. In analytics, you will have to apply a statistical approach to find mean, median, moving average, and errors to predict the demand of the goods. Other terminologies include:

  1. CPRF (Collaborating, planning, and forecasting) by keeping the buffer stock to plan ahead of the demand in uncertain conditions to avoid stock-outs. Profit is analyzed in the end and compared with a method that does not integrate CPFR.
  2. Strategies and resource allocation: Actual and expected demand is taken into consideration. The production activity is basically divided into 4 types based on in-house and sub-contracting to find which is profitable.
  3. JIT: It is analyzed by taking a situation where there are not only multiple distributors but also multiple products. The ratio of production is taken and thereby it helps the company to understand which distributor and product have to be taken care of at first go.

Also Read Do you know the difference between business analysis and business analytics?

Production, Planning, and Control

Operations management

This area mainly deals with the practical application of managing resources, capital, labor in operations. It includes topics like

  1. Integrated Production planning techniques and Production layout types
  2. Finding the Capital/System/Labour Productivity
  3. Evaluating the sales forecast and eventually find the total cost by level and chase capacity planning.  
  4. Working on Efficiency, Utilization, and capacity.
  5. Line balancing by calculating the cycle time and idle time.
  6. Job scheduling methods by leveraging average completion time, delay time, number of jobs, and efficiency.
  7. Exponential smoothening and regression techniques.

ERP (Enterprise resource management)

Operations management

Nowadays, ERP is used by 80% of the companies in the world and is considered the backbone of businesses. This topic deals with the functionality of ERP and tools required to tailor ERP systems. It is a very significant tool to manage day-to-day business activities such as accounting, project management, procurement, supply chain operations, risk management, and compliance. You will also learn how ERP is used to make faster decisions for multiple departments. This is because data is managed through one single tool. Every transaction is tracked in this tool and also helps in supplying real-time information.  

What additional certification you can do?

Doing some good courses online and offline mode will make your resume more presentable. It will be an added advantage and you will stand out of the enormous crowd. You can prefer doing certifications listed below:

  1. Lean Six Sigma (for manufacturing opportunities)
  2. PMP Project Management Professional
  3. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
  4. AMA Certificate in Analytical Skills
  5. IIBA certification (for Business Analysis)

What are the job profiles and sectors you get after pursuing this?

Operations management

You can get various job options in sectors mainly like:

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Retail
  3. Consulting Firms
  4. Banking and Finance
  5. Hospitality
  6. Construction
  7. Information Technology
  8. Supply Chain
  9. E-Commerce
  10. Logistics

There are a plethora of job roles which you can opt for:

  1. Supply Chain Manager: They play a very important role in building up relationships with the vendors of their company. Overall, they work on increasing efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity.
  2. Logistics Manager: They perform tasks in order to strengthen business developmental activities. They also ensure proper customer satisfaction and sustainability. They are liable to work in the process of monitoring, storing, organizing, and distribution of the goods.
  3. Consultant: They might have a huge workload on them but their analytical skills help everywhere. They majorly offer advice to the companies to improve their business processes in terms of operations, strategy, and so on.
  4. Business Analyst: They identify the business needs first and then try to find the solutions for business problems. In this process, they work on numerous documents, conduct research, communicate with clients, and do the critical analysis.
  5. Inventory Control Manager: These managers are responsible for managing the tasks related to inventory like coordinating and planning the scheduling, production control, inventory management, and material planning. They are also responsible for managing different inventory levels for products and raw materials.
  6. Operations Manager: An operations manager is a prime member of the company’s management team. He/She manages the high-level HR duties, like assigning the training standards and hiring schedules. Also, plays tole to improve organizational processes, and improve quality, efficiency, and productivity.
  7. Business Process Engineer/Manager: They play a role to define, implement, and maintain the functional business processes to meet business objectives. Sometimes, they even have to work with other process engineers by making a cross-functional team to find new opportunities in the business.
  8. Plant Manager: The key role of these managers is to oversee all daily operations of the plant basically from production and manufacturing. They are also responsible to check about the policies and procedures of their plant. Sometimes, they can develop processes inclining towards quality, stewardship, safety, and productivity.

Companies like Cognizant, Accenture, L&T, KPMG, EY, Novartis, Amazon, TCS, and much more come for recruitment during the placements seasons of the colleges. If you select Operations Management as your specialization in MBA, it will be an extremely productive twist in your life. You will be able to apply your skills, relearn value-added things and unlearn the nonvalue added things. Make sure you give your best shot and achieve your goal.

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