What is Production And Operations Management?

What is Production And Operations Management?

-Dr. Olaniyi Opanuga

Production and Operations Management (POM) is the effective, efficient and sustainable utilization of systems and processes involved in the transformation of human, natural, material, financial, capital, technological, informational, marketing and supply chain resources to create and deliver value in the form of goods and services that satisfy the customers for the benefit of all the stakeholders.


Production and Operations Management has long been underdefined and misunderstood.

The input-conversion-output illustration in the textbooks or classrooms are simply miniature models of the production/operations system in a typical organisation. I say miniature model because it does not fully represent what production or operations is about.


The factory is not the only place where production takes place. Production also takes place on the farms, mining and construction sites, oil and gas fields, electricity generation/power stations and in the offices. Most authors and teachers often explain this fact.
Operations are not carried out only in a department of an organisation but throughout the entire organisation. There is no department or section of an organisation that is not involved in operations.


The entire organisation is about production and operations. In some organisations there are Chief Operating Officers or Chief Operations Officers (COOs) who are next to the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in rank on the Board of Directors. Moreover, the President or Managing Director and CEO is responsible for managing the entire business operations.This is an aspect of Production and Operations Management.The reverse is not the case.

Other departments of the organisation practice Operations Management covertly but use different job titles. In some cases employers add ‘ Operations ‘ to their titles. We have such job titles or job functions as Supply Chain Operations Manager, Financial Operations Manager, Human Resources Operations Manager, Marketing/ Sales Operations Manager, Distribution/ Retail Operations Manager, Procurement or Purchasing Operations Manager, Logistics Operations Manager and so on. I believe they know what these job titles mean.These jobs are Operations Management jobs! I know Manufacturing Directors or Factory/Plant Managers understand that they are in production and operations management function. I wonder if Supply Chain And Logistics Directors see themselves as production and operations people but they are in reality. Some executives want to oversee or control production but they don’t want to use the title. They prefer fancy job titles. The truth is: everyone produces services to get paid. All organisations are production organisations. Even Consumer Co-operative Societies produce wastes! So, there is no running away from production. Many are inclined to see operations as bigger than production. This is another fallacy. I have also read about supply chain incorporating or encompassing operations. Another goof. Everyone seems to toe the lines of this lopsided narrative construction except a few who dare to be different. Supply chains comes within production and operations. Operations evolved from production as a new way of describing the job of creating goods and services around late 1960s and early 1970s while Supply Chain Management (SCM) concept became popular in the late 1980s and 1990s climbing on the back of Operations Management (OM). Moreover, Operations are the things we do to achieve production. Supply Chain is a network of operations associated with the flow of goods and services from the suppliers to the customers or the end- users. Operations extend beyond supply chain networks both locally and globally.


Supply chain, engineering/ maintenance, research & development (R&D), quality, safety, health and environment, materials management, procurement/ purchasing etc.are members of the Operations Team.

You don’t have to be in the production or operations department to practice production and operations. That is why we have productivity challenges in public and private sector organisations. Everyone needs production and operations management knowledge and skills even if it is rudimentary. Everyone needs to understand that production is the main reason for coming to work, the company exists because it is producing.This mindset helps to create unity and harmony while enabling people to perform effective cross- functional roles while preventing them from working at cross purposes.

Production And Operations Management is a multidisciplinary field and it is practiced at strategic, tactical and operational levels.

The entire organisation comprises two sets of people- those who work in direct production and operations functions and the others who work in indirect production and operations- Finance, Sales/Marketing, Human Resources and Administration

Dr. Olaniyi Opanuga, FNIPM is the President/ Chairman of Council, Nigerian Institute of Production Management (NIPM)

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