What is operations management?

When we talk about operations management in a small business, we’re talking about a lot of moving parts. Operations management means all the activities, processes and controls a small business uses to produce its products and services. These include:

  • New product or service development
  • Inventory management
  • Purchasing
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution
  • Logistics
An operations management plan for your small business

Whether your small business is in retail sales, manufacturing or a service company – or anything in between – you need an operations management plan. Of course, the operations plan for a hair salon won’t be quite the same as that of a small manufacturing business, but a plan is vital. How will you source your suppliers? How will your inventory get to your location? Who will control purchasing? Is it the same person who will control distribution? The list goes on! The components of operations management are interlinked, so a well-crafted operations management plan will ensure you are prepared.

Sounds complicated, but there’s a silver lining – entrepreneurs and small start-ups can design and implement new and innovative operations processes without having to overcome old, outdated ways of doing things. Older, larger businesses are always looking for ways to cut costs and improve operations. Small firms are fast and flexible, and can quickly gain the upper hand over the competition if they can deliver more efficiently too.

Have more questions about operations management? See what questions have already been answered in our Ask an Expert – Operations Management section. If you don’t see your question there – ask! We love talking operations management with fellow entrepreneurs.

Thanks to our special blog contributor, Dr. Leslie Roberts of GoForth Institute.

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