1. What does the operations function contribute to the business?
Answer: The answer must be that the operations function, whether it be to manufacture products or provide services or a combination of both, must be the power house of the organisation. Top management may be responsible for the setting of strategic direction. Thereafter, operations must deliver the product/service in the market place where ultimately the organisation is judged. Operations are where all other managerial contributions focus: top management expectations; design and development; accounting and finance; procurement - suppliers; people management - staff; product and service delivery - customers.
Operations are a discipline where multiple managerial threads run in parallel. It has need of individuals who can multiplex by coping with multiple managerial demands and rank equally with colleagues when strategic decisions are taken. Operations (manufacturing) has been considered as a 'competitive weapon or a corporate millstone'. Operations (services) are seen as a major challenge for operations managers in order to add value to the economy. Service sector productivity must be increased as must quality. This is seen by many prominent authors as the major challenge for operations managers in the current century.