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What Is Manufacturing Operations Management?

The operations manager oversees the process from start to finish.
Managers in charge of manufacturing operations may require that production workers learn new skills.
Operations managers usually focus on ways to improve production.
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  • Written By: J. Airman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2014
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Manufacturing operations management oversees all stages of production from the acquisition of raw materials to the delivery of finished goods. Operations managers usually scrutinize every level of the manufacturing process to streamline and improve production. Effective managers are able to facilitate productive communication among manufacturing departments, suppliers, and clients. Most manufacturing operations management seeks to implement process and policy changes that save the company time and money. Computerized databases called manufacturing execution systems or manufacturing enterprise systems are used by managers to track the positive or negative effect of manufacturing process changes.

The job of an operations manager is generally to understand the entire manufacturing process and focus on finding ways to improve production. Each step of a product manufacturing procedure is called a unit process. Manufacturing operations management often reviews the details of each individual unit process to search for issues. Duplicated efforts and unnecessary steps are commonly reduced or eliminated to increase the performance of employees. Small improvements in a unit process tend to have an immediate effect on the efficiency of end-to-end manufacturing capabilities.

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Some manufacturing operations management groups consult for multiple corporations. Operations managers are commonly brought in on an advisory basis to offer suggestions and ideas. A manufacturing operations management consulting firm is able to review processes with a fresh set of eyes. Management consultants often have experience in multiple manufacturing industries and can present solutions beyond what the company had previously envisioned. The manufacturing process consulting firm typically writes a report and leaves the final decisions to the leaders of the company.

Responsibilities in manufacturing operations management may go beyond simply producing a product. Product life cycle management is the process of following the promotional success or failure of a product in the market. Operations managers may decide changes are necessary based on current public reaction to the product. Feedback from consumers and retailers is often taken into consideration when setting operational and performance goals for a manufacturer. Staying in touch with the desires of the market allows the manager to implement manufacturing changes in the best interest of the company's bottom line.

Corporations looking to save money usually seek the advice of someone experienced in manufacturing operations management. Cost increases at the retail end can often be avoided by producing a product faster and cheaper. Profit margins on a product are regularly increased after adjustments are made during an operations manager overhaul.

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