Project Planning

INTRODUCTION

Today’s global economy has forced companies to focus on how they deliver their product or service to their customers. Operations Management is an integral part of this process because it focuses on the transformation of needed inputs to desired outputs. This transformation includes office, production, manufacturing, and vendors or suppliers, as well as other things that affect the company’s ability to deliver superior quality products. Operations Management is the core of any business. It is the management function that coordinates all the activities in relationship to product/service reliability, quality, efficiencies, delivery and meeting customer’s expectations. Operations Management includes the use of the facilities, equipment, materials, technology, and most importantly the employees. These operational activities are designed relative to sustainability concerns. In this unit we will study the importance of Operations Management.

INTRODUCTION

In the Five Forces Behind the New Business Reality, we see how businesses have been affected by today’s global economy. This has forced companies to continuously evaluate better ways to reduce cost, improve quality, and give the customer more than they expected. Understanding Operations Management will allow you to see the flow of the product or service as we use the project to gain the understanding of how companies do business. Relating the core of the business to the strategy needed to compete in today’s highly competitive markets while being environmentally responsible.

OBJECTIVES

To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:

Describe operations management and its importance to all businesses.
Analyze the relationship between operations management and the company’s strategy.
Explain the impact of operations management on a company’s competitive advantage.

Unit 1 Study 1
Studies

VitalSource Bookshelf

After procuring the e-books for this course, you may access them via the VitalSource Bookshelf. A link to your Bookshelf is provided in the left Course Tools menu.

The interactive features built into the VitalSource Bookshelf help save time and enhance learning by allowing you to search, notate and highlight, organize, and share information about your texts. VitalSource Bookshelf is also available as a downloadable application. Once this application is on your computer or mobile device, your materials will be available even when not connected to the Internet. Visit VitalSource: Support to download the application.

Readings

Read Chapter 1, “Introduction to Operations Management,” and Chapter 2, “Operations Strategy and Competitiveness,” in the Reid and Sanders textbook.

PROJECT – PLANNING

Resources

Project – Planning Scoring Guide. (see attached)…

The course project is a key component in this course and its assignments are integrated throughout the course. To gain a better understanding of the course project, please review the project description. Start your project by determining the company you will review and the person(s) you intend to interview for your project. Include a brief description of the company, as well as a list of questions you will ask the interviewee and submit the information to your instructor.

Note: In Units 2, 3, and 6 you will be asked to complete an interview with the person(s) you selected in this assignment. Please be sure to set your appointments early so you can complete the interview in time to submit a write up in the appropriate units.

Company Description

            COWI is a leading multinational consulting organization that has specialized in environmental science, engineering and economics. The company was created in 1930, and it has subsidiaries in 24 countries across the world. COWI has successfully undertaken over 85000 projects in 175 countries. The remarkable performance can be attributed to the experience developed over time as well as the able leadership in the firm. COWI has been involved in some of the largest infrastructure projects in the world (COWI, 2013). The company’s business operations include consultancy and planning based on the local knowledge of the region and the expansive knowledge that the company has acquired over the years. Notably, the international experience has been instrumental in advancing the business across the world (COWI, 2013). The company has a diverse workforce that facilitates its operations across different fields. The professionals include planners, biologists, engineers, economists, geologists, surveyors, sociologists, anthropologists and architects. The diversity of the workforce makes the company to have a reliable workforce that can meet the needs of the consumers efficiently. The diversity of the workforce facilitates the strategic undertaking of a 360° mindset approach that ensures the services offered are from a multidisciplinary initiative. The qualified staff and coordination of responsibilities across disciplines have enabled COWI to engage in a leading role in complex projects, undertake additional responsibilities because the services are expandable, and facilitate a structured and smooth flow of projects. Additionally, these capabilities have been instrumental in ensuring that COWI offers coherent solutions and meets customer satisfaction (COWI, 2013).

COWI is a consulting company that focuses on offering sufficient value for its customers, workers, and the society through the knowledge that has been gathered over the years and through its 360° strategic approaches. The mission of the company is based on three key elements that include:

  • Inclusiveness of all stakeholders and customers in co-creating finest solutions.
  • Using world-class experience and knowledge throughout the world and locally based on economics, engineering, and environmental science.
  • The company is focused on creating success and opportunity for customers, workers, shareholders, and stakeholders.

It is the mission and vision that shape the goals and objectives of the organization. In this light, the vision of the company is designed to develop coherence for the sustainability of the company. The vision of the company includes: (COWI)

To become a top player in the industry. COWI is a top earner, which offers the financial capacity for growth, research, and innovation.

To be the client’s first choice. The company works closely with the customers, making them partners in the creating of innovation and adding sustainable value. `

Have the best people. The company has a high number of qualified workers who share their knowledge to increase organizational performance and ensure the company remains a leader in the industry.

To be a leading brand. The company is the strongest brand and the preferred service provider in the markets they operate.

To be a world-class international specialist. The company is recognized across the globe for their effective service delivery and international business links.

To have excellent operations. The company has been undertaking continuous improvements that are designed to improve how it performs in the market.

            The company is also structured on key values that have played an important role in its success. The key values include:

Integrity. The company operates with credibility and integrity in all undertakings.

Respect. COWI ensures that all associates, workers, nature, and the society are treated with respect. Additionally, respect is maintained across the organization to ensure that decisions made and their implementation is made when all stakeholders are in consensus. Friendship is an important aspect of the organizational hierarchy. Maintaining informal relationships helps to maintain communication and healthy cooperation in the organization.

Independence. The company ensures that it is financially independent to facilitate its freedom at work and ensure that it remains competitive.

Professional capability. The company employs different professionals with qualifications that meet the company standards. COWI encourages innovation and professionalism to create value for the clients.

Freedom. The company offers significant empowerment in the business operations by ensuring there is free thinking and effective communication.

            COWI Holding A/S is the parent company of the organization situated in Denmark. The majority shareholder of the COWI Foundation is the majority shareholder of the company. The group is organized as a One Company Network that ensures the international activities are performed in close relationship with the local people, while maintaining a close partnership with the clients. Subsequently, working closely with the local clients ensures that the company’s regional businesses benefit from the international organizational expertise.

Interview

            To understand and develop insights about the company, it is imperative to engage professionals who work in the company. According to Slack, Chambers, and Johnston (2010), organizations engage in a mixture of services and products in their operations. Understanding these operations is important to understand how strategies are implemented to create profits. The personal insights will be imperative in understanding the industry and how the company has managed to survive it. In this context, an interview will be conducted with a representative of the company. The participant will be the Business Development Manager in the Industry and Energy Department, Kristoffer J. McClelland. McClelland works in a branch office in Qatar. The proposed interview questions that will help in understanding the company are as follows:

Operational Interview Questions: Process and Practices

What is the history of the company?

What are the mission and vision statements of the company and how have they changed over the years?

How has the organizational culture been preserved?

Which are the business channels used by the company?

Which are the key products and services of the company?

What is the market share and which products and services are considered the most profitable?

Are there plans for changes that might impact the products or services?

Does the company suffer internal competition?

How is the quality of the products and services controlled?

What are the key training and recruitment practices within the organization?

Does the company have talent management processes?

How are knowledge and experience passed on to other workers in the organization and other branches of the company?

What are the motivational strategies employed in the company?

How are the various departments integrated into the business process?

Operational Interview Questions: Operational Tactics and Strategies

What factors contribute to the setting up of an office in a particular area?

What market factors contribute to the development of products and services?

What are the key factors considered in the supply chain?

Who are the key competitors in the international and local markets?

How does the company maintain competitiveness?

What is the market share of the key competitors in the industry?

How does the company maintain sustainability?

What threats are presented by the competitors with respect to the sustainability of the organization?

What opportunities and threats are presented by the market?

What are the key risks in working in a particular market?

How does technology influence the performance of the organization?

What are the company’s plans in the use technology?

What are the key challenges facing the company due to trends in the industry?

What are the core competencies of the company and how do they contribute to the competitiveness of the company?

What is the future of the company with respect to its mission and vision?

References

COWI. (2013). COWI QATAR A/S: Company Profile. Doha, Qatar: COWI.

COWI. (n.d.). The Future Of Development In Qatar. COWI.

Slack, N., Chambers, S., & Johnston, R. (2010). Operations Management (Sixth Edition). Pearson Education Limited.

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