• Course Introduction

        • Time: 54 hours
        • Free Certificate
        We are all familiar with the science of operations management in some way, since we all have scarce resources and have to allocate those resources properly. Think about the process of preparing a meal: you have to gather all the proper ingredients and prepare them for cooking. Certain ingredients go in at certain times. Occasionally, you fall behind or get too far ahead, jeopardizing the entire meal. And, of course, if you find that you do not have enough ingredients, even more problems arise. All of these elements of meal preparation – purchasing ingredients, prepping the ingredients by dicing them up, mixing ingredients together, boiling or baking the dish, serving, and cleaning – can be seen as parts of operations management.

        In the realm of business, operations management is more complicated than preparing a family meal. There may be hundreds or thousands of participants rather than just you and your brother or wife or grandfather cooking in the kitchen. Each participant has a specific role in the operations process; if any step of the process is disrupted, the whole process can stall or fall apart. Smart operations managers will have contingency plans in the event that stoppages occur. In this course, you will learn the fundamentals of operations management as they apply to both production and service-based operations. Successful completion of this course will empower you to implement the concepts you have learned in your place of business. Even if you do not plan to work in operations, every department of every company has processes that must be completed; someone savvy with operations management will be able to improve just about any process.

        First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me in this course". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

      • Unit 1: Overview of Operations Management

        Operations management is a vast topic but can be bundled into a few distinct categories, each of which will be covered in later units. (It should be noted, however, that entire courses could be devoted to each of these topics individually.) Because most people do not work in a formal operations department, we will begin with an overview of operations management itself. The top manager of an operations department is usually called the Director of Operations. Most operations departments will report to a Chief Operating Officer (COO), who reports to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The COO is often considered the most important figure in a firm, next to the CEO.

        The history of operations management can be traced back to the industrial revolution, when production began to shift from small, local companies to large-scale production firms. One of the most significant contributions to operations management came in the early 20th century, when Henry Ford pioneered the assembly line manufacturing process. This process drastically improved productivity and made automobiles affordable to the masses. Understanding the motivations behind innovations of the past can help us identify factors that may motivate individuals in the future of operations management.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.