Operation Notes

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Chapter One

Introduction to operations management

Learning outcomes
After reading this chapter you will be able to: ➜ Define what is meant by operations management ➜ Understand the nature of operations within an organization ➜ Explain what an operations manager does and the role he/she plays in an organization ➜ Discuss the similarities and differences between the manufacturing and service sectors of the economy ➜ Explain the similarities and differences between customer processing operations, materials processing operations, and information processing operations

CASE INSIGHT

AgustaWestland—getting into operations
Stuart is 23 years old and has three years of operations management experience. Whilst studying for a business management degree, he undertook a professional training placement for a year. It was spent working for AgustaWestland (AW), the aerospace engineering company that manufactures helicopters in Somerset. On graduating, Stuart returned to work in operations for them—as a graduate management trainee. As their graduate employment brochure explains, AW takes on a number of graduates each year. As well as the two-year graduate programme, there are a number of other training and development opportunities, including the AW personal development programme ‘Leading Edge’, and the Finmeccanica Learning Induction Programme (FLIP) which encourages interaction with graduates across the Finmeccanica Group (AW’s parent company). With over 230 trainees, from apprentices to graduates, the company also creates a social network through regular organized events to integrate newcomers. line managed by the Training Department and then seconded to production departments for a period of time. During my year out, I had six months in two very different areas. The first of these was in the production of aircraft and the second was in a process improvement team in customer support. The first role involved long-term production planning and scheduling of different sections of the aircraft. During the second six months I looked at a variety of support processes and was involved in facilitating process improvement events. The graduate scheme I am now on is made up of working in four or five specific areas over a two-year period. This is designed to deliberately develop expertise and skills within a host directorate. In my case this is Customer Support. In this directorate there are three main areas—technical services (which coordinates responses and resolutions to aircraft failures or breakdowns, as well as issuing technical communications), materials services (which deals with materials and logistics of spares, repairs, and overhauls), and aircraft services (which maintains aircraft for those clients that have outsourced this back to us). During my two years on the scheme I worked in materials services. Hence I have had four different roles relating to process development and improvement, standardization across aircraft platforms, capacity planning, and developing reporting structures in relation to supplier performance, and analysing these. Every working day is interesting and challenging. This is partly because graduate trainees are given different projects to do and partly because of the dynamic nature of this business. The environment is AgustaWestland, the aerospace engineering company, takes on a number of graduates each year.

ever changing because technology is changing all the time. So it is a very innovative sector. It is also very international as support has to be provided to clients across the globe.

Here Stuart talks about his operations management experience: I’ve always been interested in working in operations because I have always found anything a bit of a puzzle interesting. I found a placement with AgustaWestland through the Placement Office. I was attracted to the opportunity to work in aviation as I had been an air cadet. The firm organizes placements by having trainees

Source: authors’ primary...
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