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Recent Trends in Production/Operations management

1. Flexibility and Lean Production

2. Total Quality Management (TQM)
3. Time Reduction
4. Worker Involvement
5. Global Market Place
6. Production/Operations Strategy
7. JIT
8. Re-engineering
9. CAM
11.Technology - Supply-Chain Management
13.Environmental Issues

1) Flexibility: The ability to adapt quickly to changes in volumes of demand, in

the product mix demanded, and in product design or delivery schedules, has
become a major competitive strategy and a competitive advantage to the
firms. This is sometimes called as agile manufacturing.
Lean production: Production system have become lean production systems
which have minimal amount of resources to produce a high volume of high
quality goods with some variety. These systems use flexible manufacturing

systems and multi-skilled workforce to have advantages of both mass

production and job production.
Agile - The New Lean:
Agile methodology is an alternative to traditional project management,
typically used in software development. It helps teams respond to
unpredictability through incremental, iterative work cadences, known
as sprints. Agile methodologies are an alternative to waterfall, or
traditional sequential development.
Considering individualization and growing complexity, the lean concept
is, however, no longer sufficient. Now and in the future, processes in
the supply chain must rather be agile or, more clearly, flexible and
interactive, ensuring high-quality delivery results. To expand upon
Agile in the supply chain management model, agile supply chain
management stands for the ability to cope with unforeseen events
through the use of lightning-fast decision making. The implementation
of this management approach requires more than just the commitment
of those involved. An additional technological component is essential
and enables people to deal with the unplannable.
2) Total Quality Management: TQM approach has been adopted by many
firms to achieve customer satisfaction by a never ending quest for improving
the quality of goods and services.
3) Time Reduction: Reduction of manufacturing cycle time and speed to
marker for a new product provide a competitive edge to a firm over other
firms. When companies can provide products at the same price and quality,
quicker delivery (short lead time) provide one firm competitive edge over the

In the future, variety of high quality products for short time production is
expected from firms.

Nowadays, everything is possible. Even the invention of high-tech machines

will totally result to fast production. Lessening the span of time for
manufacturing cycle will contribute to the speed and more production of
goods. When a certain company offers products on similar quality and price,
there will be fast distribution and purchase. As a result, the industry will have
an edge over other firms.
If there is an abundant supply, there will be a smooth distribution of goods.
When it comes to exportation, other countries will continue to purchase the
variety of products. Having a variety means that there are a lot of options for
the consumers.

4) Worker Involvement: The recent trends is to assign responsibility for

decision making and problem solving to the lower levels in the organization.
This is known as employee involvement and empowerment. Examples of
employees empowerment are quality circle and use of work teams or quality
improvement teams.

Employee Involvement will result to absorption of fresh ideas.

Within an organization, the opinions of workers also matter. For an effective
project management, there must be an active involvement among the
employees on the low level of business firm.
With the prior knowledge for the upcoming trends in Operations
management, even a small business firm can be at par with those large
corporations. Success will not stay as a mere dream as long as a business
owner adapt to modernization.
5) Global Market Place: Globalization of business has compelled many
manufacturing firms to give operations in many countries where they have

certain economic advantage. This has resulted in a steep increase in the level
of competition among manufacturing firms throughout the world.
6) Operations Strategy: More and more firms are recognizing the importance
of operations strategy for the overall success of their business and the
necessity for relating it to their overall business strategy.

There will be a great need for application of more innovative strategies.

A business industry has its own set of strategies which are anchored with the
available resources. For the inputs, materials, facilities, information, and
customers are involved. Within the strategy, planning and designs are given
attention. For the final output, good products and services are introduced to
the market. Happy customers are satisfied with what they purchase.
7) Just in time production: JIT is a pull system of production, so actual
orders provide a signal for when a product should be manufactured. Demandpull enables a firm to produce only what is required, in the correct quantity
and at the correct time.This means that stock levels of raw materials,
components, work in progress and finished goods can be kept to a minimum.
This requires a carefully planned scheduling and flow of resources through
the production process. For example, a car manufacturing plant might receive
exactly the right number and type of tyres for one days production, and the
supplier would be expected to deliver them to the correct loading bay on the
production line within a very narrow time slot.
8) Business Process Re-engineering: BPR involves drastic measures or
break-through improvements to improve the performance of a firm. It
involves the concept of clean-state approach or starting from a scratch in
redesigning in business processes.
9) Computer Aided Manufacturing: Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) is
the use of computer-based software tools that assist engineers and

machinists in manufacturing or prototyping product components. CAM is a

programming tool that makes it possible to manufacture physical models
using computer-aided design (CAD) programs. CAM creates real life versions
of components designed within a software package. CAM was first used in
1971 for car body design and tooling.

Computer Aided Design: Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of

computer technology to aid in the design and particularly the drafting

(technical drawing and engineering drawing) of a part or product, including
entire buildings. It is both a visual (or drawing) and symbol-based method of
communication whose conventions are particular to a specific technical field.

E-Supply Chain Management: Supply chain management is the

management of supply chain from suppliers to final customers reduces the

cost of transporation, warehousing and distribution through out the supply
chain. But SCM was a traditional concept which is now being replaced by ESCM. E-Supply chain management is a series of Internetenabled value-adding
activities to guarantee products created by a manufacturing process can








investment.Supply chains have advanced in the last two decades with

improved efficiency, agility and accuracy.The recent advancement of Internet
technology has brought more powerful support to improving supply chain
performance.In this context, e-supply chain management becomes a new
term that distinguishes itself by net-centric and real-time features from
traditional supply chain management.
Supply Chains will Look to Go Digital:
Digital technology is disrupting traditional operations and now every business
is a digital business. The impact on supply chain management is particularly
great. Businesses cannot unlock the full potential of digital without
reinventing their supply chain strategy.

Many companies understand the elemental nature of these changes and are
already working to introduce digital technology into their operations.
However, simply adding digital technology is not the answer.
This approach overlooks the fundamental difference between traditional
supply chains that have been digitally enhanced and truly integrated, reinvented supply chains whose DNA is fundamentally digital.
For digital technology to create significant improvement in business
outcomes, businesses need to:
1. Reinvent their supply chain strategy
2. Re imagine supply chain as a digital supply network (DSN) that unites
not just physical flows but also talent, information and finance. This
new breed of supply chain is more connected, intelligent, scalable and
rapid than traditional supply chain management. In a metaphorical
sense, the DSN enables people and dataas well as materials,
products and suppliesto travel together across the extended
3. This is vastly different from digitally enhanced supply chains which
(because they are never stronger than their weakest links) have less
potential to help companies:

Develop new synergies

Relate more fully to customers

Rapidly reach new markets and quickly build and scale new offerings
In todays global and connected economy, digital supply chains are the onramp to innovation and success. And if you want to be among the winners,
you need to get on the highway and go fast. Start today by re-imagining your
supply chain. Develop digital strategies that allow you to proactively evolve
ahead of the competition. Employ comprehensive solutions that support the
entire source-to-settle process and create value for all parties involved in it.


Enterprise Resource Planning: Enterprise resource planning (ERP)

is an enterprise-wide information system designed to coordinate all the

resources, information, and activities needed to complete business processes

such as order fulfillment or billing.

Environmental Issues: Todays production managers are concerned

more and more with pollution control and waste disposal which are key issues
in protection of environment and social responsibility. There is increasing
emphasis on reducing waste, recycling waste, using less-toxic chemicals and
using biodegradable materials for packaging.

Environmental Responsibility will be a major concern in business production.

Production managers nowadays must also be more concerned with
environment protection. Specifically, waste disposal and pollution control
must be taken into great consideration. This promotes social responsibility
among consumers. An emphasis on waste reduction and recycling are also
included on the environmental concerns. Power plants are also utilized on
proper way.
To respond to the environmental issues, the energy sector continues to devise
helpful ways on how to attain an eco-friendly environment. Similarly, the
application of enhanced mechanical engineering concepts gives way to
quality production.