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Postgraduate (MSc, MA, MBA and PhD) Programs in Manufacturing/Operations Management

Find postgraduate programs in MANUFACTURING

Manufacturing of course refers to a process that converts raw materials into finished products. Operations, on the other hand, refer as readily to the production of a service as it does to production of a product. Thus, operations management is generally concerned with the analysis, design, and management of those operations that produce goods and services. Modern operations management tends to rely on structured, highly quantitative techniques for this analysis and design.

Find postgraduate programs in PRODUCTION

At one time, few organisations apart from those in the traditional manufacturing and distribution sectors applied such techniques. Now, however, supply chain managers for restaurant chains, managers in charge of insurance claim processing, hospital surgery co-ordinators, and so on are likely to rely on the techniques and tools of operations management. Operations management can be applied to many elements in many organisations.

Find postgraduate programs in SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT

Trends in Manufacturing/Operations management

Manufacturing Programs

Numerous substantial trends continue to drive this field, including:

• Reduced product life cycles
• Rapid technological change
• Complex manufacturing strategies
• Worldwide supply chains
• Heightened (global) competition
• A shift to quality- and time-based competition
• Mass customisation
• Increased environmental concern and regulation
• Outsourcing
• A shift in power to consumers (and retailers)

Choosing a masters program

Operations management courses are generally one year in length. Although many look to integrate engineering and management knowledge, and thereby attract many engineers, they are not designed for those wishing to do engineering research. Most are designed to look at the planning and control of operations in both manufacturing and service firms. Topics covered generally include forecasting, capacity planning, material requirements planning, just-in-time manufacturing, scheduling, facility layout, facility location, and quality management concepts.

A typical program offers courses on:

• Operations strategy
• Materials management
• Manufacturing planning and control
• Capacity planning and scheduling
• Project management
• Supply chain management
• Purchasing process and methods
• Management of technology
• Quality control
• Information systems (integration) management
• Workforce management
• Ergonomics and human factors.

Oddly, given the increasingly global nature of firm supply chains – and the frequent outsourcing of manufacturing, few operations management programs offer an international exchange possibility.

Some programs require an undergraduate degree in engineering or engineering technology. Some will also accept those with engineering, hard science, computer science, or mathematics degrees. Others require only a bachelors degree with a substantial quantitative component. A few program accept those with a business degree.

Many programs also look for:

• Business coursework
• Internships in engineering, operations, or business.

Manufacturing MBA MBA in Manufacturing/Production

An MBA on Manufacturing/Production will look at the underlying concepts of the production and operations function of an organisation. In essence this postgraduate program addresses an important aspect of business management that is understanding and effectively dealing with designers and engineers and how they perform in a company.

This will include the study of service operations and exploring the concept of manufacturing or production operations. Areas of specialised study may include design-related activities; planning; controls necessary to run the operation; and means of improvement.

PhD in Manufacturing/Production

Studying a PhD in Manufacturing/Production allows the student to delve even deeper into this field and gain expertise in a specific area of interest

The University of Nottingham offers a PhD in Manufacturing Engineering which can be studied either full time or part time.

Cranfield University has a PhD in Innovation and Operations Management which can be studied part time over 72 months. This PhD integrates research into innovation together with operations management, extending across the areas of management, manufacturing, engineering, applied science and defence.

Career Opportunities

The increasing need to perform each of an organisation’s operations effectively and efficiently – and to combine them to fullest effect – has provided enormous scope for those who combine business and operations management skills and knowledge. As a result, operations management capabilities are valued in marketing, sales, finance, human resources, and other departments – not just in production or distribution departments. 

Typical job titles

Manufacturing • Manufacturing engineering manager
• Procurement and logistics professional
• Demand planner
• Quality engineering officer
• Process engineering manager
• Assistant plant manager
• Product engineer
• Application consultant
• Supply logistics manager
• Global operations officer
• Supply chain manager
• Assistant plant manager
• Operations researcher
• Process (re)engineering manager
• Process improvement specialist
• Outsourcing quality manager
• Manager of engineering and capital programs
• Labour health and safety manager
• Material systems engineer
• Optimisation planning analyst
• Transportation project manager

Professional associations (UK and US)

Institute of Operations Management (UK)
Society of Manufacturing Engineers (US)
National Association of Manufacturers (US)
Association for Manufacturing Excellence (US)

Introductory readings

Those wishing a traditional introduction to operations management can try Jack R Meredith and Scott M Shafer’s Operations Management for MBAs (John Wiley & Sons). It covers the full range of issues seen in a first operations course, including quality management, mass customisation, benchmarking, enterprise resource planning, and business process design. (It is particularly good at showing how an understanding of operations matters for those planning careers in finance, marketing, and other fields.) Another possibility is David Barnes, Operations Management: An International Perspective (Thomson Learning), which is also easy to read.

Those wishing to avoid even a stripped-down version of a production and operations textbook, but still wishing to become familiar in a general way with the main issues have a fine alternative available. Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation , by James P Womack and Daniel T Jones (Simon & Schuster), presents an interesting view of American, German, and Japanese practices, traditions, and strengths and weaknesses. It provides a good overview of the three systems and along the way illustrates many important issues in manufacturing (and non-manufacturing) management, with in-depth examples drawn from half-a-dozen industries. The book is quite good in discussing the relevant evidence in a readable fashion, and is of particular value in introducing new master’s degree students to methodological matters in a painless manner.