1 Introduction

A session in which  we define Operations Management  and explore its strategic importance for a wide range of organisations.


This session provides an introduction to the course and an overview of the issues which will be addressed later in the course.


  • Be able to define “operations management”
  • Be able to describe an organisation as a network of processes;
  • Be able to relate the four performance measures to a process, propose potential measures of each, and discuss their relative importance;
  • be able to describe the concepts of “Focus”, Porter’s Value Chain Analysis and the Hayes & Wheelwright’s model of Operations Effectiveness.

Three Relevant Models

1. Skinner’s Focused Factory

Originally outlined in an article in the Harvard Business Review way back in 1974, then developed in his book Manufacturing: The Formidable Competitive Weapon in 1984. Skinner reflected on the evolution of manufacturing strategy in 2007 in his article Manufactuing Strategy: the Story of its Evolution.

2. Hayes and Wheelwright: Stages in Operations Effectiveness

Originallly outlined in their book Restoring our Competitive Edge in 1984 and then in 1985 in an article in the Harvard Business Review Competing Through Manufacturing.

3. Value Chain Analysis

Michael Porter proposed Value Chain Analysis in his book Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance published in 1985. Porter’s books are weighty reads, but he published a concise outline of how the value cahin fits into the analysis of strategy in What is Strategy? published in the Harvard Business Review in 1996.