Process of Operations Strategy

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The process of operations strategy – substitutes for strategy? (Week 9)

Lecture aims

This lecture is a little different from the other lectures in the book. It deals with a number of ‘new’ approaches to the management of operations that are often seen as operations strategies, but are not actually strategies in themselves. Six of the more important ‘new’ approaches are treated in this lecture, namely, Total Quality Management, lean operations, Business Process Reengineering, Enterprise Resource Planning and Six Sigma. They all need to be understood (particularly, the similarities and differences between them) if they are going to help with strategy or strategic implementation. Of course, none of these approaches can transform an organisation overnight, but what really matters in the long run is how these approaches help an organisation to learn from its experiences and build operations capabilities. The lecture aims to include the following.

1. Examine the background and elements of Total Quality Management. 2. Examine the background and elements of lean operations.
3. Examine the background and elements of Business Process Reengineering. 4. Examine the background and elements of Enterprise Resource Planning. 5. Examine the background and elements of Six Sigma.

6. Examine how these approaches can contribute to operations strategy.

The list is not exhaustive
The lecture’s ‘new approaches to operations improvement’ is by no means exhaustive. Almost all academics and consultants in this area will have their own prioritised list of improvement approaches. Other candidates that could have been added to their list include Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Zero Defects, Cycle Process Reduction (CPR), the Work-out Approach, Quality Circles, Value Engineering and so on. Nor is there is much hard evidence as to the extent to which these approaches actually give concrete results in terms of performance improvement. Also,...
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