Operation Management Essay

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MODULE 1 1.1 – INTRODUCTION TO OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT Production of goods and services has been in existence since the evolution of civilized society, but here we limit our discussion to developments that led to the widespread production of consumer goods. Prior to the development of markets for massive amounts of consumer goods, most production took place in the home or in small communities of artisans and craftsmen. Products were often handcrafted, unique, and made entirely by one person. Some people trace the development of the first factories to the textile industry in England. In preindustrial societies, people often prepared only enough goods for their families, along with a small excess to obtain items unavailable within the family (cottage industries). As land became scarce and people moved off farms and into cities, mercantilism and trade developed. This created a market for massive amounts of goods, like textiles, which previously had been produced from wool and linen available on the farm. In pre-industrial societies, producers of textiles (often women and children) were likely to produce only enough of what was needed to sustain the family for the coming year. After that production, they would likely engage in other work activities. As merchants saw their markets grow, they were discouraged by the fact that they could not get consistent amounts of goods from the cottage industry. They therefore centralized production by building factories and removing women and children from the farm so they would not be distracted from textile production. This allowed much greater control over workers and production, a development that was soon to be lamented by those who saw the development of mass production factories as essentially exploitive of the poorest labourers. What is Operations Management? Heizer and Render (2005) (page 4) define operations management as a set

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