Operations management is unique and, to some degree, represents a paradox because it is concerned with one of the oldest and also the most newly engineered information driven activities. Production and logistics activities - such as communication, inventory management, warehousing, transportation, facility location, and product service and support - have been performed since the start of commercial activity. However with advances in communications and computing, these activities have been significantly altered. The impact of the Internet on the way firms manage has been profound and no area has been impacted more than supply chain where the concepts of "virtual integration" and "electronically extended enterprise" are prevalent.
In the last few years, firms have started focusing on supply chain management and manufacturing as a source of competitive advantage. This becomes even more important given that product life cycles are shrinking and competition is intense. Production and supply chain management that leverage information represent a great challenge as well as a tremendous opportunity for most firms. Another term that has appeared in the business jargon recently is demand chain. From our perspective we will discuss both demand and supply chains in this course and how firms are deploying new processes and technologies to enhance total situational awareness across the supply chain. This will allow us to examine the interplay between operations and other functional areas within the firm and with their suppliers and customers.
We will view the value chain of a firm from the point of view of a general manager. Operations management is all about managing the hand-offs in a value chain - hand-offs of either information, product or cash. The design of a system is critically linked to the objectives of the value chain. Our goal in this course is to understand how operations decisions impact the performance of the firm as well as that of the entire value chain. The key will be to understand the integration of supply chain and demand chains and how they impact financial and non- financial metrics of performance. We will also cover some basic principles and challenges in the management of quality and productivity in today's organizations. (4/11-sk)