Operations management is the corporate area in charge of designing, managing and tracking different processes.
These processes are made up of interrelated, sequential activities through which the components and actors required (raw materials, labor, capital, information, the client, and such) are transformed into products.
The key is the value added through the process as perceived by the customer, i.e. the end product has a greater value than the elements pre-process.
These products are the goods and services people buy and use every day, from skis to washing machines, and medical assistance to tourism services. To create the vast array of end products the processes involved are extremely varied.
For example, in a factory setting these may include assembly, control and packing, where in the airline business they are more likely to be passenger check-in, flying the passengers from A to B and getting their bags back to them. In consultancy processes, the end products will be gathering data, drafting proposals and project implementation.
Beyond this, the pressure is on operations management to make improvements in sustainability, not least in environmental areas.
Operations departments are expected to incorporate eco-efficiency and eco-effectiveness principles into their processes. Further innovation is the key to competitive advantage, reduced costs and technological development, vital for the long term sustainability of the firm.