Evolution Of Production And Operations Management

2251 words - 9 pages

THE DEFINITIONS"Operations management (OM) is defined as the design, operation, and improvement of the systems that create and deliver the firm's primary products and services. Like marketing and finance, OM is a functional field of business with clear line management responsibilities."(Chase, Jacobs, Aquilano, 2006:9)"Operations management is the management of processes or systems that create goods and/or provide services. It encompasses forecasting, capacity planning, scheduling, managing inventories, assuring quality, motivating employees, deciding where to locate facilities, buying material and equipment and maintaining them, and more."(Stevenson, 2002:4)At the most fundamental level, operations management is about getting the day-to-day work done quickly, efficiently, without errors, and at low cost.Figure 1 - Operations processTHE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION AND POMThe Industrial Revolution began in the 1770s in England and spread to the rest of Europe and to North America during the nineteenth century. A number of innovations changed the face of production forever by substituting machine power for human power. Perhaps the most significant of these was the steam engine, made practical by James Watt around 1764, because it provided a source of power to operate machines in factories. The Spinning jenny (1770) and power loom (1785) revolutionized the textile industry. Supplies of coal and iron ore provided material for generating power and making machinery. The new machines, made of iron, were much stronger and more durable than the simple wooden machines they replaced. Two concepts assisted in mass production: division of labour and interchangeable parts.Division of labour, which Adam Smith wrote about in The Wealth of Nations (1776), means that an operation is divided up into a series of many small tasks and individual workers are assigned to one of those tasks. Unlike craft production, where each worker was responsible for doing many tasks and thus required skill, with division of labour the tasks were so narrow that virtually no skill was required.Interchangeable parts, is sometimes attributed to Eli Whitney, an American inventor who applied the concept to assembling muskets in the late 1700s. The basis for interchangeable parts is to standardize parts so that any part in a batch of parts would fit. This meant that parts did not have to be custom fitted, as they were in craft production. The standardized parts could also be used for replacement parts. The result was a tremendous decrease in assembly time and cost.Soon after their invention in Britain, the iron-making and steam engine technologies were imported into North America. In Canada, a few small mills began operating in the first half of the 1800s. By the second half of the 1800s, canals and railways were built, and timber was being exported.The discovery of electricity by Edison in the late 1800s allowed replacement of electricity for steam as a power source, improving the efficiency and...

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