Operations management is fundamental to every organisation. All enterprises provide a product or service, and operations are central to this process. Without operations there would be no customers. Operations management denotes the activities that transform resources into products. It is directly concerned with creating the goods and services that are the very reason for an organisation's existence, no matter its size, whether it is in the manufacturing or service sector, or whether it is a profit or non-profit organisation.
Essentials of Operations Management is intended for students of operations management undertaking degree, diploma and professional courses in business studies, management and engineering. The work is offered as an introductory treatment of the subject for both goods-producing and service-producing organisations. It discusses wide and narrow definitions of operational processes to appeal to a varied audience, from student to practitioner.
As a teaching text, the book covers the core operational theories, concepts and frameworks, using a product life-cycle structure. It deals with the operational system and the context of operations management, facilities, capacity, scheduling, materials and control. The text is well written, with a clarity of style, and it will appeal to many students, although to some it may seem a little dated and insular in its approach.
Endogenous factors are rather overlooked, and more recent theoretical perspectives - such as operations strategies, supply-chain management and logistics - are conspicuous by their absence. Nevertheless, despite its omissions, the book is a solid foundation text for students and inexperienced managers wishing to learn more. It also has a pleasing level of pedagogic material with key points, further reading, case studies and questions for each chapter. There is a CD-Rom that offers more extensive case studies and other supporting material in multimedia format.
Ray Wild is also responsible for Operations Management . This is a comprehensive work that seeks to provide a strong conceptual framework in both service and manufacturing operations to students on MBA, production engineering, management degree and other professional courses. No background knowledge is presumed and a broad view of operations is supported.
The text is thorough and concise in its treatment of the basic operational tenets and will provide valuable, if a bit one-dimensional, support for students, academics and managers. Topics include operating systems and operations management, the context of operations management, business policy, facilities, work systems, capacity, scheduling, materials and control. Some of the latest research-led thinking is rather overlooked, but it does offer students a clear reflection of the subject. Extensive case studies, further reading and questions are supported by a CD-Rom with more detailed material to aid learning and teaching.
Roberta Russell and Bernard Taylor's Operations Management is a stark contrast to these last two offerings. It is a lavish text in typical American fashion, aimed, seemingly, at any student of operations management. The ethos of the book is to make operations management exciting. To this end, it is clear, concise and well organised and has lots of special features and examples.
The work is certainly current and attuned to many new innovations in disciplines such as operations strategies, design networks, supply-chain management, just-in-time and lean production, enterprise resource planning, e-business and service improvement.
For the purist, there may be an annoying number of interruptions to the flow of the text, with endless exercises, activities and examples. Indeed, some students may view such oversimplification as patronising. On the other hand, the authors make excellent use of the latest research and provide a vast array of ancillary support for both students and teachers.
There are the usual case studies, examples and exercises and also a website and CD-Rom with virtual tours, quizzes, news clippings, company resource weblinks and even simulation exercises for the statisticians.
Finally, Foundations of Operations Management is intended as an introductory guide to the subject for students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The work is contemporary, with an examination of operations strategy, supply-chain management, web-based services and lean production.
The rationale for the choice of topics is not particularly clear, and some students may find the content rather simplistic in its treatment. It is, nevertheless, well written and concise, with a vast array of supporting material including a CD-Rom, interactive website, examples, quantitative techniques, problems and homework exercises, case studies, managerial best practice, PowerPoint presentations and video sequences.
Robert Lowson is director of the Strategic Operations Management Centre, University of East Anglia.
Essentials of Operations Management. Fifth Edition
Author - Ray Wild
Publisher - Thomson
Pages - 450
Price - £25.99
ISBN - 1 84480052 0