Systems Approach - Operations Function
In parallel with the development of management science, and also largely stemming from the wartime inter-disciplinary teams, an interest in 'systems' flourished across many disciplines. The reason for the interest is reflected in Aristotle's aphorism: 'the whole is greater than the sum of the parts'. For the operations manager the systems approach probably has its greatest value as an insightful way of looking at the system being managed, in relation to its environment. We will consider the following general aspects of systems:
1. System complexity
2. Inputs transformation and outputs
3. Interdependent sub-systems
4. Negative feedback
5. Time-lag effects
'System' has had many definitions, but for our purposes we will consider it to be simply a group of elements serving some common purpose.