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MS2511 Operations Management

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MS2511 Operations Management

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Course Code: MS2511
University: University Of Aberdeen

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Country: United Kingdom

Question:

You are to report on the business profile of a successful company “General Electric” that builds and manufacturer’s electromechanical products and has plants located in different parts of the world.
1. Identification of the type of operations in the company, describing how each functions as an integral part of the business strategy as a whole.
2. Analyze the aspects of supply chain management, and process design as it relates to the business strategy.3. Discuss the first two points as it relates to multinational operations. What type of problems can arise in supply chain management from a multinational perspective and what solutions would you offer? Please justify your response.

Answer:

Operations Management
Every single company has strategies and modalities on how its activities are run and how they can be used in achieving the set company objectives. Also, all organizations have production processes whether the company is service oriented or aligned towards goods (Piercy, 2012). Usually, the business process involves developing and controlling the entire operations process. Operations management is a subject that is charged with ensuring the design and administration of business processes are efficient and effective (Harvey, Heineke & Lewis, 2016).   The main aim of operations management is to minimize on the resources used and at the same time ensuring the needs of the consumers are met. In summary, management of operations involves making critical decisions about the operations strategy, process and product management, management of the product’s quality and finally records management.
General Electric (GE) is a transnational corporation that was founded in 1982 and focuses on digital industrial products. The company’s headquarter is in Boston New York and houses numerous operational segments which include: oil and gas, healthcare, renewable energy, transportation, aviation, power, and energy connections and lighting. In 2017, the company was ranked position 13 in the United States as one of the largest companies in terms of gross revenue (“GE | Imagination at Work”, 2018). All the mentioned segments under General Electric Company are independent and therefore function as constituent businesses. In addition, the company treats honesty and compliance as priority and core values in its operations. Consequently, GE strives to produce standard goods as they not only ensure safety to the users but also promote consumer trust on their products (“GE | Imagination at Work”, 2018). General Electric has been in existence for a very long time and therefore has a formidable reputation in the business world.   
Type of Operations in General Electric
The operational nature of General Electric is primarily a manufacturing kind of business since the company converts various inputs into finished products. For instance in the aviation industry which is a sub-businesses in GE, the company specializes in the manufacture of aircraft engines and their spare parts. The division which is named GE Aviation produces engine supplies for commercial airplanes. This division is headed by an executive officer who oversees all the operations (“GE | Imagination at Work”, 2018). Another important division in the corporation is the GE Healthcare which specializes in the manufacture of imaging devices. Healthcare facilities need such equipment when conducting various diagnosis and tests. GE Healthcare leads in manufacturing radiopharmaceuticals that assist in the patient imaging process. Other medical electrical equipment includes patient monitoring machines CT image systems.
The other major division is the General Electric renewable energy division. This business operations segment focuses on the various sources of renewable energy such as wind, water, and the sun. The company actively supplies these forms of energy to interested consumers. Essentially, the energy supply is meant to cover both small scale and large scale users of the energy. The division’s headquarter is based in Paris, France and is managed by an executive officer. GE Capital is the other division that subscribes to General Electric (“GE | Imagination at Work”, 2018). This subsidiary’s principal aim is to provide various financial services through lending and leasing of funds and resources. Also, the division supports the entire General Electric business by managing its finances and giving financial advices on how to improve revenue generation. The subdivision of GE into subsidiary business operations enhances operations management and maximizes on the revenue earned
Supply Chain Management
A chain symbolizes a connection and flow of materials and so is supply chain management which works on the flow of goods or services (“Understanding operations management”, 2018). Essentially, Supply chain management (SCM) focuses on the direct movement of the finished products from the point of manufacture to the consumption area (Andriotis, 2018). Also, the inventory of these end products is critically kept and followed through the entire process of supply chain management.
Supply chain management is a very integral part of the General Electric Company which is one of the senior companies globally. For all the operations to be managed properly, it is only decent that the finished goods are treated as a priority and handled in a way that maximum profit is earned. Since GE is a multinational company and has various divisions and subsidiary operations the supply chain management in the company is quite complex. GE’s supply chain management is multiplex in the context that the subsidiaries function independently and yet the profits earned have to be channeled towards one direction.
Currently, General Electric has streamlined operations management which includes the supply chain management process. The company’s SCE is designed to increase the revenues and minimize the input costs. In the past years, GE had a tendency of merging and acquiring companies to boost the management process but has currently opted to maintain the existing subsidiary companies. Furthermore, the corporation has reduced paperwork in the inventory and records keeping department. The inventory is reduced to make operations more clear and seamless for those in charge (Theme, 2018). Presently, the additive industry is being given more attention as the company has faith that this particular product holds the future of the manufacturing industry.
The supply chain management structure of General Electric is in a top-down type of management style. This traditional management structure means that the upper-level management plays a significant role in the success of GE’s supply chain management (Reimann & Ketchen, 2017). The entire structure is aligned and directed first to the CEO’s of the various divisions before it is channeled again to the CEO of the whole company. The top-down structure not only enhances clarity but is also a strategy for reducing the inventory. The supply chain management of the General Electric Company is immaculate due to the precision and the organization of the entire operations structure.
Process Design
In a company, a process is an act of translating raw products into useful end products and services (“Special Issue of Production and Operations Management on Marketing and Operations Management Interfaces and Coordination”, 2013). The design, on the other hand, is the art of developing the product and planning how useful it will be to the consumers and how much the good is likely to bring back to the company. Products and processes are interconnected, and the nature of the process is entirely determined by the details and elements of a product (Forza, Salvador & Rungtusanatham, 2015). Likewise, General Electric’s process design widely relies on the goods produced. GE is a manufacturing business operation, and so a lot of emphases is placed on the design of the products. The design comes before creation, and so it is important that the company pays more attention to process design before executing the entire process plan (De Toni & Zipponi, 2011). Successful process design should effectively satisfy the needs of the consumers. Customers need products that are of good quality, reliable, inexpensive and pleasing to the eyes. All these ought to be factored in during the products and process design.
General Electric Corporation puts effort into ensuring that its reputation in the manufacturing industry is maintained even in process design. The company has therefore employed a strategy known as the Six Sigma which is meant to produce goods of pure quality appealing to their customers. Essentially, Six Sigma is the meta-design process that is concerned with developing products that are as close to perfection as possible. The Six Sigma design process has six main components (What is Six Sigma?, 2018). The first component pays attention to quality and demands that during the product and process design the specific attributes critical to the customer are fully integrated.  The second element is on the defects involved during the designing process. This feature is meant to avoid the flaws that may arise during product development. Thirdly, the process capability is a concept that tests what the design process can achieve. It is also important to measure the customers’ satisfaction and therefore the variation concept is used to calculate the progress (What is Six Sigma?, 2018). The fifth element stable operations which ensure consistency in all the involved processes to ensure consumers are satisfied.  Finally, the design element brings together all the mentioned concepts that will develop a viable product in the eyes of consumers. The Six Sigma is a strategy of the process design that has proved to be useful for the General Electric Company.
Challenges of Supply Chain Management
All processes including the supply chain management process have to be accorded full attention minus which the operations are bound to fail. The supply chain has become complicated due to numerous factors. Customers are in need of technologically current and innovative. This overwhelming demand from the consumers creates a challenge to multinational companies as it is hectic to strike a balance between cost-effectiveness and responding to the demands (Berrios, 2014). Inevitably, these challenges hinder the entire progress of a company.
The first major problem in supply chain management is globalization. Senior companies find it a challenge to cut the costs of the supply chain process (Gold, Trautrims & Trodd, 2015). To avoid this situation, companies have opted to transfer their manufacturing centers to low-cost nations. However, this has made it more complicated for the supply chain process as there are the time and communication barriers between time zones. It is always the desire of customers to receive their goods in real time.
Secondly, cost control is a serious barrier to effective supply chain management. The cost of some raw products is on the rise. The energy costs and that of technology have grown stupendously making it difficult for companies to complete the manufacturing process comfortably. Additionally, the labor rates and the increasing number of customers have made it difficult for corporations to reduce the input costs. Cost control is a very integral part of SCM without it the company might collapse.
The other serious problem facing supply chain management in transnational companies is the supplier relationship management. Most multinational companies develop a partnership with other supplier companies to minimize labor costs and transfer risks. However, this step might act to a company’s disadvantage when the strategies of the two companies are not in line. Having controversial methods contributes a lot of time and resource wastage.
Solutions to Supply Chain Management Problems
Every challenge has a countermeasure and the same applies to supply chain issues. One, to avoid the problem caused by increased customer needs can be solved through extensive research (Melnyk, Narasimhan & DeCampos, 2013). It is essential that companies collect adequate customer needs information. The collected data and analysis of the same will aid in identify the specific needs of customers and hence satisfying them. In addition, customer service can be enhanced by investing in current technology. Technology reduces the workload and thus increased profits. Secondly, the supplier partnership challenge can be handled by developing an open working relationship. Both parties should be flexible, and device means of incorporating their strategies with their respective goals. Finally, the subject of globalization should be treated with caution. The manufacturing centers should be placed in strategic countries and plans be made to ensure there no supply and delivery delays due to time zone difference.
Operations management is a very critical part of a company and is a crucial determining factor in the success or failure of the company. It is important that a company understands the nature of its operations in terms of business. General Electric is a manufacturing business operation and has well laid down structures to ensure all departments and divisions are given equal attention.  Operations include all aspects in a company from production to distribution of goods. Therefore, efficient management of the same is equal to the success of the company’s objectives. Similarly, supply chain management ensures the manufactured products are distributed effectively to consumers. All that is needed is that a practical process design is established and that it is strictly adhered to.
References
Andriotis, N. (2018). Supply Chain Management Challenges And How To Solve Them With eLearning – eLearning Industry. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/supply-chain-training-for-management-challenges
Berrios, D. (2014). Challenges in Supply Chain Management. Retrieved from https://bus.wisc.edu/mba/current-students/mba-specializations/supply-chain-management/blog/2014/03/06/challenges-in-supply-chain-management
De Toni, A., & Zipponi, L. (1991). Operating Levels in Product and Process Design. International Journal Of Operations & Production Management, 11(6), 38-54. doi: 10.1108/01443579110005965
Forza, C., Salvador, F., & Rungtusanatham, M. (2015). Coordinating product design, process design, and supply chain design decisions. Journal Of Operations Management, 23(3-4), 319-324. doi: 10.1016/j.jom.2004.10.001
GE | Imagination at Work. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ge.com/?search=about
Gold, S., Trautrims, A., & Trodd, Z. (2015). Modern slavery challenges to supply chain management. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 20(5), 485-494. doi: 10.1108/scm-02-2015-0046
Harvey, J., Heineke, J., & Lewis, M. (2016). Editorial for Journal of Operations Management special issue on “Professional Service Operations Management (PSOM)”. Journal Of Operations Management, 42-43, 4-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jom.2016.03.005
Melnyk, S., Narasimhan, R., & DeCampos, H. (2013). Supply chain design: issues, challenges, frameworks and solutions. International Journal Of Production Research, 52(7), 1887-1896. doi: 10.1080/00207543.2013.787175
Piercy, N. (2012). Business history and operations management. Business History, 54(2), 154-178. doi: 10.1080/00076791.2011.631121
Reimann, F., & Ketchen, D. (2017). Power in Supply Chain Management. Journal Of Supply Chain Management, 53(2), 3-9. doi: 10.1111/jscm.12140
Special Issue of Production and Operations Management on Marketing and Operations Management Interfaces and Coordination. (2013). Production And Operations Management, 15(3), 470-470. doi: 10.1111/j.1937-5956.2006.tb00258.x
Theme, L. (2018). Key Functions of Operations Management. Retrieved from https://www.mitsde.com/Blog/key-functions-of-operations-management/
Understanding operations management. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.open.edu/openlearn/money-business/leadership-management/understanding-operations-management/content-section-2.3
General Electric. (2018). What is Six Sigma? [Ebook] (pp. 4-9). Retrieved from https://www.ge.com/sixsigma/SixSigma.pdf

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