The foundation that Business Schools provide for managing operations and supply chain management in New Economy companies
Most of the Business Schools in the United Arab Emirates and other regions deliver specific skills to their students. The most outstanding fact is that each learner is equipped with a solid foundation for supply chain and operations management. This is the case because the fundamental aspects of supply chain management have not changed despite the nature of modern technology (Shao, Krishnan, & McCormick, 2010). This approach is necessary because supply chain managers should possess specific competencies and skills. Such skills will make it easier for them to promote the most desirable actions and eventually realize their business objectives (Li, Ragu-Nathan, Ragu-Nathan, & Rao, 2006).
The traditional principles taught in operations management courses are still relevant today. For instance, supply chain managers must be able to apply effective business leadership. Learners should be equipped with such skills to address the risks of globalization. They should possess transformational capabilities to operate in a very competitive business environment. Some principles, such as business planning, decision-making, problem-solving, will always be relevant in supply chain management (Shao et al., 2010).
Modern schools should consider such principles because they can potentially transform the effectiveness of every supply chain system. The other critical concept focuses on “how managers can link supply chain to organizational performance” (Jespersen & Skjott-Larsen, 2012, p. 31). Supply chain processes play a critical role in dictating the performance and effectiveness of every organization. This discussion clearly shows that the principles that Business Schools have been taught over the years in operations management courses will remain relevant and applicable to New Economy operations. The important thing is to combine such principles with modern innovations and technologies to achieve desirable results.
Challenges of the business environment facing managers
Business managers continue to encounter a wide range of challenges. Such challenges are attributable to the current changes experienced in the global business environment. Most of the challenges encountered by business managers are similar to those of operations and supply chain consultants. The problem of competition remains critical for present-day managers. Such leaders are required to identify new strategies and practices that can deliver positive results. The issue of sustainability has gained unprecedented attention within the past two decades. Business organizations are required to “engage in sustainable practices and manage various waste materials” (Jespersen & Skjott-Larsen, 2012, p. 19). The issue of sustainability has been supported through several legislations and campaigns. Companies that fail to engage in such practices have higher chances of becoming obsolete in their respective industries.
Terrorism remains a major threat in the world of business. Organizational managers are required to consider various strategies in an attempt to deal with this challenge. Terrorism threatens the information systems and physical infrastructures of every business organization. Modern technologies have also led to more challenges. For instance, the transfer of funds using electronic platforms is associated with new challenges such as hacking and cybercrime.
These issues force managers to update their systems and embrace the best strategies to deal with the challenge. The increased wave of globalization is posing new challenges to both domestic and multinational companies (Shao et al., 2010). The managers of such firms should consider the most desirable strategies to support their business models. These challenges should be carefully examined and addressed. Business managers should collaborate with different stakeholders and government agencies to implement the most desirable strategies (Li et al., 2006). The ultimate goal is to ensure every business enterprise is profitable.
The approaches managers must adopt to improve their products and services
The needs and expectations of consumers change significantly over some time due to several issues. Companies that produce superior products and services have the potential to survive in their respective market segments. This fact explains why managers must possess the most desirable knowledge to recognize new product improvement strategies. Such managers can, therefore, use some strategies to improve their services and products. The first critical approach is through the use of feasibility and consumer behavior studies. Companies can learn a lot from the purchasing behaviors of different customers. The study can highlight the major expectations and experiences of targeted customers (Garg, Narahari, Foster, Kulkarni, & Tew, 2012). This knowledge will make it easier for different managers to improve their products. The newly-produced services must be able to fulfill the emerging needs of targeted customers.
The other critical approach is through the use of better branding strategies. This strategy has the potential to communicate and sensitize more clients about existing products. Companies and managers should embrace the power of research and development (R&D). The R&D department will engage in continuous research to identify new strategies to improve the quality of different services and products. This approach should be adopted to produce superior products that meet r exceed the expectations of the targeted customers. Managers should analyze the unique attributes of every substitute good or service in the market. This move will ensure the best attributes are used to improve the company’s products (Garg et al., 2012). Such measures will eventually result in product improvement. Improved services and products will attract more potential buyers. Consequently, the profits made by the targeted company will increase significantly.
Sustainability mindset of today’s operations and supply chain managers
The issue of environmental conservation has become critical than ever before (Rangan, Chase, & Karim, 2015). Policymakers, community members, and stakeholders have been focusing on the issue of sustainability. It should not be amazing to realize that many companies have succeeded because of their sustainable environmental conservation approaches. Today’s operations and supply chain managers should work hard to develop this kind of mindset.
One of the best recommendations is ensuring that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is implemented as a unique corporate value. By so doing, every employee and stakeholder will be aware of the importance of the company’s CSR. Sustainability should become a critical attribute of the firm’s corporate image. The supply chain process should be carefully managed to “promote sustainable sourcing of materials, production of finished goods, and delivery to the targeted customers” (Jespersen & Skjott-Larsen, 2012, p. 43).
Supply chain managers should ensure the targeted distribution networks are aligned with the visions and values of their firms (McFarlane, 2014). This means that the distribution processes will be coordinated professionally. The ultimate goal will be to ensure every practice and agenda supports the concept of sustainability. Every stakeholder in the company should be encouraged to support the targeted sustainability agenda. By so doing, the supply chain network will be executed professionally and eventually promote the sustainability of the natural environment (Rangan et al., 2015). Feedbacks from different stakeholders should be used to address the needs of more communities (Jespersen & Skjott-Larsen, 2012). CSR should become a critical attribute of the supply chain mission. Every activity undertaken throughout the supply chain network should support the concept of sustainability and improve the living conditions of more communities.
Recommendations for managers to contain present day growing challenges of operations and supply chain management
A wide range of challenges characterizes the global business environment. Organizations and their respective managers must embrace the best strategies to tackle such challenges. Supply chain management and operations are fields characterized by challenges such as increased competition for resources. The issue of environmental conservation forces organizations to engage in effective CSR. The role of partnerships in supply chains has changed significantly. Managers must use effective strategies to address most of the challenges of supply chain and operations management. Corporations should establish stronger distribution networks to deal with various global markets (McFarlane, 2014). Such supply chain managers should consider “the role of technological improvements” (McFarlane, 2014, p. 26).
Such managers “must stay abreast of new and emerging developments in operations management” (McFarlane, 2014, p. 27). It will be necessary for them to implement new processes that have the potential to add value to the firm’s services or products. McFarlane (2014) encourages supply chain managers (SCMs) to pursue new training and skills from learning institutions. They can also attend seminars in an attempt to widen their competencies. Such measures will make it easier for them to bridge the gap between business practice and theory. The move will play a critical role in promoting organizational effectiveness and success. Modern technologies should be used for monitoring purposes and improvement strategies. Such technologies will ensure timely feedbacks are obtained from different stakeholders. The gathered feedback will be used to improve decision-making processes. More stakeholders should be allowed to present their ideas to improve the effectiveness of the supply chain process.
Garg, D., Narahari, Y., Foster, E., Kulkarni, D., & Tew, J. (2012). A groves mechanism approach to decentralized design of supply chains. Manufacturing Systems Research, 1(1), 1-8.
Jespersen, B., & Skjott-Larsen, T. (2012). Supply chain management: in theory and practice. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.
Li, S., Ragu-Nathan, B., Ragu-Nathan, T., & Rao, S. (2006). The impact of supply-chain management practices on competitive advantage and organizational performance. The International Journal of Management Science, 34(1), 107-124.
McFarlane, D. (2014). The challenges of operations management for business managers. International Journal of Operations and Logistics Management, 3(1), 16-29.
Rangan, K., Chase, L., & Karim, S. (2015). The truth about CSR. Harvard Business Review, 1(1), 41-50.
Shao, J., Krishnan, H., & McCormick, T. (2010). Incentives for trans-shipment in a supply chain with decentralised retailers. Sauder Journal, 1(1), 1-21.