Operations management – some interesting points


Factories occupy a unique place in our country. They are temples of modern India, shouldering the stupendous task of lifting our economy from its traditional and agrarian fold to a modern and industrialized one. Next to agriculture, it is the factories which are the largest employers. Thousands of families look up to the plants for support and sustenance.

It is the industrial establishments which produce the various goods and services for our day-to-day consumption. Factories are great institutions which bring about desired changes in our socio-economic outlook. Our incomes, living standards, wants, motives, thoughts, actions, life-styles and patterns are influenced by factories. It is desirable that one should be knowledgeable about factories their nature and scope, and their functions and problems.

A study about factories helps us appreciate the role played by people in producing goods and services. When a product is turned out by a plant, it is the result of fusion of the efforts and services of scientists, engineers, technicians, managers, workers and janitors. Factory is not merely buildings and machines. Factory is people. The best of automation may result in the reduction of number of people working in a plant, but the presence and contribution of human beings cannot be completely dispensed with. Neither factories, nor products should be divested of people. They are the common ingredient of all activities that take place in factories.

The total picture about of the factory becomes clear by a close study of the subject. There were some misconceptions about factories a few decades ago. There is a clarity now dispelling the negative belief. Factory is not a sinner that has annihilated the handicrafts. Factory is not a monster out to disrupt ecology. Not an evil that has destroyed the traditional value we once held dearly. Neither factory is a scourge that resulted in migration of people from village to cities. Nor factory is bad neighbor who disturbs our sleep early mornings by blowing sirens. Systematic study of factory management reveals its interesting psychological, social, political, technical, and artistic phases all of which lend color, character and genuine splendor to the activities which permeate an industrial enterprise.

Factory study helps in selecting a career. As was mentioned earlier, factories are potential employers. They offer attractive positions for effective executives, brilliant scientists, financial wizards, creative artists, skilled technicians and hard-working workmen. First step in selecting a career is to understand the various positions available in a factory and what they demand, in terms of qualification and experience. Next step is to evaluate one’s fitness in relation to the requirements of the job. Submitting applications and attending interviews will follow later.

Taking a close look at the subject by practicing managers helps them in at least two ways. First, it has recognized that, high productivity has been one of the keys to the high standards of living. Productivity is the backbone of a nation’s economic progress. Those countries where productivity is high living standards are also high. Increasingly productivity should be a national challenge, and it motivates all managers to do their utmost to achieve ever increasing levels.

Second, the managing of a manufacturing firm today presents a greater challenge than ever before. Top managers of companies are presented with endless streams of problems that arise from continuing inflation, energy crisis, high taxes, government regulations and intense foreign competition. To get some idea of the magnitude of these problems, one need, but pick up a daily newspaper or news-magazine and read about efforts to offset price increases, to secure plant modernization, to increase productivity, to meet foreign competition and so forth. Knowledge about the ways of managing production and operations management will be strategically useful to the executives.