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5 Trends in Operations Management

Business professionals in leadership roles need to be up on current trends in operations management, given the rapid change and development in technologies, supply chains and market conditions. Effective operations management is essential to any profitable company's bottom line, regardless of the industry and goods or services that the company offers.

The salary potential of operations management jobs is high. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for operations managers was $100,780 in 2019.

Pittsburg State University's online Master of Business Administration integrates the study of operations management into the coursework of many different subjects. Below are examples of current trends in operations management:

  • A Focus on the Employee Experience

The employee experience is at the root of many current trends in operations management. Staff members who feel content, respected and invested in their work usually align with their company's culture and tend to be motivated and productive employees. Skilled operations managers maximize productivity by helping enhance the employee experience.

Attracting and retaining top talent – challenging given the rising gig economy – is usually a function of employee experience too. Low retention means high cost in hiring, onboarding and training. Thus, focusing on improving the employee experience can help operations managers benefit their organization's bottom line.

  • Flexible, Blended Workplace Environments

Trends in office design and remote versus office-based work all have benefits. Open offices can benefit productivity and employee morale through promoting teamwork, a collaborative environment and positive company culture. Yet, some employees can focus better and be more productive in private spaces with less distraction and stimulation. Higher productivity is often the result for remote staff, with the company benefiting from lower office-space overhead, too. Remote work may also open the door to a broad talent pool of professionals who may not commit to office-bound positions. But, if not managed, collaboration can suffer from the decentralized workplace.

Operations and human resources management are increasingly moving toward the "blended" workplace, incorporating beneficial aspects of all these trends. In this flexible form of office and operations design, employees have options for open, collaborative environments, private office space and the opportunity to work remotely when appropriate and beneficial.

  • Mobile Communications and Collaboration

As collaboration propels innovation, productivity and the development of a positive company culture, promoting effective teamwork is an essential driver for many operations management initiatives and processes. Effective internal communications underpin productive collaboration. Remote and office-based employees need to message, videoconference, co-work and collaborate on projects and shared files frequently. It follows that integrating mobile, instant internal communications systems constitutes an increasingly important aspect of operations management. These systems can create a semblance of the traditional collaborative office within the modern blended workplace.

  • Scaling Production According to Demand

With rapid-fire product and technology development, economic volatility and continuously evolving consumer trends, operations management must be extremely responsive to demand. This engagement involves scaling production to meet inventory needs of forecasted demand.

The central imperative of operations management is to have the appropriate inventory to meet demand while not overproducing and wasting resources. It involves myriad factors of interdepartmental operations and collaborations, from consumer data analytics and market forecasting to product development, logistics and supply chain management. Operations management is the thread that connects these subsets for appropriately scaled production according to shifting market demand.

  • Building the Customer Relationship

Building strong customer relationships and fostering brand loyalty is an indispensable part of developing long-range, sustained business growth and profit. Customer feedback and analytics logically inform demand forecasting, marketing strategy, user interface design and product development, thus driving operations across all departments. Modern operations management works to ensure and oversee this interdepartmental, integrated flow of customer information and responsive strategy.

As operations management is a through-line between multiple departments, the above trends could be generalized to many aspects of overall business administration. Business management professionals with an education in operations management can play an important role in improving productivity and profit.

Learn more about Pittsburg State University's General MBA online program.

Sources:

Beekeeper: 7 Key Trends in Operations Management in a Post-COVID World for 2021

Cleverism: Operations Management: Definition, Principles, Activities, Trends

Planet Together: Trends for Operations Management in 2019

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2019 - General and Operations Managers

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