Answered Essay: Describe the historical development of Operations Management. Give specific examples of the impact

Describe the historical development of Operations Management. Give specific examples of the impact of at least 3 developments in your answer.

Expert Answer

Operations Management has been a part of human life and its endurance over time, broadly as manufacturing processes and their management. It ca be divided into three critical phases.

1. Craft manufacturing – The craft was as old as human civilization. various crafts developed over the time and were practiced by skilled craftsmen who usually mastered the art of weaving, carpentary, metalwork, sculpture, masonary etc. to create the products for their customers. These craftsmen used primitive techniques of manufacturing, and the skill was usually transmitted from one generation to the other. It was a slow process with little competition between the creftsmen.

2. Mass production – With increasing requirement of goods,the craft system was replaced by mass manufacturing system where material started to be produced in large quantities with low variety. Annother innovation was the standardization of interchangeable parts that could be used in different models. It was called the American System of manufacturing. Another innovation was the scientific management of processes where a task was subdivided into smaller tasks, assigned to persons with specialized skills to perform those tasks. This led to increase in the speed of doing work and hence reduction in costs.

The third innovation was development of assembly line, where the product was passed through different stages of production, where specific tasks were accomplished on it by specialized workers. This enabled work at a very high speed where standardized products could be made at very low cost.

Modern age – The modern age was characterized by rapidly changing customer preferences and reducing product life cycles due to availability of multiple choices and rapidly evolving technologies. This gave rise to following changes in operations management.

1.Flexible specialization where firms specialized in different parts of the processes and developed products in collaboration with other partners of the network.

2. Lean manufacturing focussing on removal of all wasteful activites from the system.

3.Mass customization, i.e. making the products on mass scale customized to meet the requiremments of individual customers.

4.Agile manufacturing that made the process flexible enough to switch from one market driven objective to the other with help of technological intervention.

Three developments that marked the changes in Operations Management

1. Assembly line manufacturing process by Henry ford that enabled mass scale production of standardized products at low cost.

2. Toyota Production System that formed the basis of lean manufacturing.

3. Technology enabled processes leading to management of global supply chains, that fuelled the e commerce revolution.

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