Going through the module has greatly enhanced my understanding on operations management. My understanding on several areas as listed below has improved significantly.
A general view on what is operation management. Going through the model provide me a comprehensive understanding on knowledge related to operation management. I started to understand that operation management is a broad concept, which is inter-related to other field of study such as marketing, human resources management, organization structure, strategic management and etc. The issues studied include staffing, fund, customers, products or services, suppliers, and process technology. The subject further enhanced my understanding on the linkages between these elements, and how they come together (in a value chain) in contributing to the success of an organization.
Key success factors of effective operation management. I learned the critical success factors in delivering effective and efficient operation management in an organization. They are quality, speed, dependability, flexibility, and costs. I also learn how to measure the degree of performance through the 9-point performance scale. I had also learned about how these key success factors can enable the firm to form competitive advantages to beat the competitors in the same industry.
Business improvement techniques. I had also learned many ways to improve a business. The concepts of order winning and order qualifying enable me to determine how to further enhance core competencies and competitive advantage of organization. I start to learn that many aspects in business can be improved by doing the right things at the very first time. For example, JIT is doing the right thing for quality products since the very first step in operation management. Besides, I also learned that continuous improvement and innovation is critical to the growth and high performance of a firm.
Contemporary issues in operation management. Besides the traditional operation management subject (e.g., inventory management, project management, planning and scheduling and etc.) learned, I had also learned many theories regarding contemporary issues in management. For example, I learned about the concepts of sustainability, the design of lean organization, the applications of green concept in design of the operation as well as how to act responsibly to society. The applications of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibilities) of organization in today environment is critical to the success of an organization, as people today are getting more environmentally conscious and demanding more socially responsible acts from corporations.
By going through the module, I had learned a lot new knowledge and skills that are useful in my academic development in the future. Several new knowledge and experienced gained as presented as follow.
New business jargons learned. Firstly, I had learned a lot about the new business jargon often used in operation management. For example, I had learned terms such as JIT (Just-in-Times), project management, inventory management, knowledge management, scheduling and many others. All these jargon will make my study of management subject in the future easier, as my understandings on these jargons will further enhance my speed and comprehension when reading business journals and textbook
More understanding on how operation management relate to other areas. I had learned many new concepts, which are actually also applicable to other field in management. For example, I learned the order winning and order qualifying criteria, which are also useful to be analyzed factors leading to successful marketing management of a firm. The key success factors learned in operation management are also applicable to the study of strategic management subject in business. Overall, the study of operation management provides me another perspective on how to effectively manage a business organization.
Learning new frameworks in improving my analysis skills. In the subject, I had learned many useful business frameworks, such as the value chain analysis, stages in project management, order qualifying and order winning criteria, and many others. Besides, many tools, useful to research and analyze business problems and issues are also learned. For example, example tools include input/ output analysis, flow charts, scatter diagrams, cause & effect diagrams, Pareto diagrams and why-why analysis.
Enhance my writing skills. The completion of the module requires me to write assignments about business management. This provide me chances to further practice my writing skills, as I found that I had improve significantly in writing out my ideas in English language, after practicing for a long time.
Improve my critical thinking abilities. The studying and answering of the assignment questions, as well as participating in group discussions had significantly enhance my critical thinking ability. Through the process, I started to learn not to take any idea or concept at the face value, whereby personal thinking and analysis on the idea is required, to investigate the validity of such ideas, or if such ideas are actually valid and real in world today.
Force to me learn faster and remember more. In this subject many materials are presented, and students are expected to learn all of these materials fast and yet to remember these materials learned. Thus, by going through the process, I had forced myself to change my studying style, in order to absorb more materials faster and more effectively.
I had developed several skills and gain better experience through the hard work required in completion of individual and group assignment. Several extra skills as well as soft skills had been learned. All of the lessons learned had been identified as follow.
Start early. I learned that to truly excel and score in my assignment, I must start early. Early preparation is critical as I can have more time to edit my mistakes, to think more deeply and to discover more useful materials to be included in the assignment. Regrettably, I started too late in doing my assignment for this module.
Take notes. I found that by taking notes, I can enhance my memory, and hence my learning speed and ability. When I take notes and review them often, I found that I can suddenly understand the entire picture very fast, as my comprehension on each of the small pieces of information is completed.
Read widely. In order to truly excel in business management subject, it is critical for me to read widely, as to expand my knowledge and exposure to different concepts, ideas and context. The more I read, the faster I can relate an argument to other theories and concepts. Overall, that will further enhance my confidence, and hence my motivation to learn more about business related issues.
Communication is a two way process. When working in a group, communication is a very important topic should not be neglected by the group members. Besides, it is critical to understand that communication is a two way process, for two or more people to exchange ideas. Thus, it is critical for someone to stop speaking, start listening when someone is talking. It is crucial to understand the others perspectives properly first, before we voice up our opinions. When we are able to do that, people can sense that we are truly listening, and thus, more willing to listen to our opinions in return. Without doing this, it is very hard for people to send messages to each other effectively.
Everyone is responsible for the success of group assignment. When working in a team, every team member is responsible to the success of the group. When someone is not contributing, the entire team may be affected. Other team members can become de-motivated, or simply follow the negative attitudes shown by some of the team members. Thus, in order to work in a group, and to achieve stated objective of the group successfully, each and every team member must understand that they play critical roles, duties and responsibilities in ensuring group performance and effectiveness. Team member should be proactive pushing and encouraging each others to move forward, to perform better and to work hard for mutual benefits. If that is possible, the formation of a high-performing group can be formed.
I had built stronger self-awareness. Last but not least, but writing articles such as reflection exercises that require me to think deeply on myself, I can enhance my self-awareness. I started to monitor myself, to check what I am doing, and to evaluate if I am doing it correctly more often. All these enable me to understand myself and what am I doing in a more precise manner. By building up better and more accurate self-awareness, I can correct my actions and thinking easily. More importantly, I can constantly provide feedback to my thinking process by reflection on my actions personally whenever I am free.
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Payne, E. and Whittaker, L. (2006) Developing Essential Study Skills, 2nd Edition Prentice Hall: London.
Pedler, M., Burgoyne, J., and Boydell, T. (1994) A Manager’s Guide to Self Development, 3rd Ed. McGraw-Hill: Maidenhead.