Operations illustration Operations theory

Aiding and controlling business activity

Organisations are structured in such a way as to aid and control business activity. Typically business activity is organised around a systems approach in which inputs are converted into desirable outputs through business activity. The structure of the organisation is therefore organised to manage these activities to create the best possible results.

In modern production industries like the car industry, companies have developed structures whereby cells of workers combine in quality circles to take responsibility for the continuous improvement of production activities. This leads to the minimisation of waste and the maximisation of high quality outputs of motor vehicles. This is often referred to as the 'kaizen' approach taken from the Japanese word for 'change for the better' or 'improvement'.

Customer focused

In modern service industries such as air travel, companies have organised their sets of processes including booking flights, passenger treatment in terminals and on flight activities so as to focus on delighting consumers by providing a market focused experience. In public sector industries the same picture emerges. For example, the Inland Revenue has recently been organised to take on a customer focused approach based on new team working and customer service management approaches.

Top down hierarchies

Many modern organisations have been restructured to develop customer focused teams as opposed to top down hierarchies, which are fast becoming a way of organising of the past. However, top down hierarchies do have their place, especially when decisions have to be made quickly, for instance in times of recession or intense competition, so should not be looked upon as inherently bad.

Supporting Documents

These downloads will help to put operations theory into context using real world examples from real businesses.

Meeting customers' needs in growth markets - online gaming
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Learn how BT employed operations theory to succeed in the telecommunications industry by downloading our premium case study.

Live, breathe and wear passion
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Learn how Diesel applied operations theory to prosper in the fashion industry by downloading our premium case study.

Entering a new market with a new product
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Discover how Experian applied operations theory to succeed in the financial services industry by downloading our premium case study.

Sponsorship as part of the marketing mix
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Find out how Ford employed operations theory to thrive in the automotive industry by downloading our premium case study.

The marketing mix in the food industry
McCain Foods logo

Find out how McCain Foods used operations theory to thrive in the food & drink industry by downloading our premium case study.