Computer technology impact the practice of operations management

Operations management is all about transforming raw inputs in the form of labor, material, and capital into useful goods and services. Though, in most industries, the old approach to strategy no longer holds. The world in which economies and organizations operate has changed dramatically due to information technology. Therefore operations manager process has also transformed drastically since the advent of computer and information technologies. Organizations have undertaken extreme restructuring by modifying their means of communication and synchronization of work activities.

Computer and information technologies have made it promise for companies to work on a real-time basis, whereby products and services are conveyed to the right place at the right time. Since then, a computer and information technology has propagated and has undergone significant improvements. A business not supported by a network of computer systems (primary information technology) is more or less destined to fail, since it will be incapable to compete efficiently in today’s complex and dynamic environment.

Video, satellite, and computer technologies have become so essential to contemporary communications that the modern society can no longer be sacked as a passing fad. For better or worse, we live and will persist to live in a society where information exchange has become torrential. The usual obstacles to communications of volume, distance, and time have been purged for all practical purposes. Ours is now a world accustomed to global telephone and television service via satellite, adapted to the computer’s capability to process data instantaneously, accustomed to the storage of 100,000 pages of print on a single five-inch disk.

Entire sectors of the economy are by now so reliant on communications volume and speed that there is no spiraling back. This is not to say that every new medium will get a niche in the marketplace. Currently there is such a propagation of new video services—from well-known technologies such as cable and video recording to fledgling satellite delivery services such as direct broadcast satellite that it is dubious all will prove economically viable.

In combination with computers, modems, and telephones, the television becomes a monitor competent of receiving and electronically publishing not only pictures but text and graphs from the most remote data banks. This convergence of video, computer, and telecommunications technologies into integrated communications networks is not perilously tied to the survival of any one new medium. It is solidly embedded in our economic and social ways of life. The age of information, otherwise known as the postindustrial age, is displacing the smokestack era in the United States and in numerous other industrialized nations.

History suggests that the technological transitions concerned as far-reaching as the advent of human speech, the printing press, the telephone, and the telegraph. The computer rapidly is approaching occurrence in domestic society. The integrated grid already is in place and requires but a few information bridges to make it a whole and all-pervasive system. With the completion of these transitions, almost every building in the United States associated to a system of interactive modern society exceptional in human history.

The complexity of the computer and information technologies inexorably influence the rate at which they are adopted, but the benefits they promise can be more than sufficient to support prospective users to attack the steep learning curves involved. As learning proceeds, users become concerned in computer and information technologies in which information delivered is always sought or chosen by users rather than being provided mechanically by the computer and information technologies. Communications through the ages has usually been directed toward individuals or small groups.

Conversation fits this mold. So does all the writing up to the Gutenberg watershed, and much beyond it. It remained for the penny press of the nineteenth century to create the first true mass medium; prior newspapers had been little more than newsletters, aimed at businesses. Combined with the wire services, the penny press created a data base shared by a considerable proportion of the American public. Radio, film, and especially television extensive and enriched this pool of common information. With the telegraph and television came centralized national control over news content and procedures.

“Abilities to access, adapt, and generate knowledge by way of evolving ICT are indispensable to social inclusion in modern society” (Warschauer, p. 9). Borrowing from European discourse, “social inclusion” refers to “the extent that individuals, families and communities are able to fully participate in society and control their own destinies” (p. 8). He seeks to answer three central questions in pursuit of one overarching goal. The questions are (1) how and why is access to information technology critical to social inclusion?

(2) What does it mean to have genuine access? And (3) how can access for meaningful social inclusion best be promoted in a wide variety of circumstances? The overarching goal in addressing these three questions is to “reorient the discussion of the digital divide from one that focuses on gaps to be overcome by provisioning of equipment to one that focuses on social development issues to be addressed through effective integration of computer and information technologies into communities, institutions, and societies” (p. 9).

Consider the ‘online complaint service’ which is regarded by Warschauer as ‘an especially valuable component of the Gyandoot project, and one that has had an important impact on villagers’ lives’ (Warschauer 2003:179-80). Complaints range from problems about drinking water and nonpayments to the absence of a veterinarian or schoolteacher and reactions thereto are required within 7 days. Although these and other services have been very widely used, ‘Some of the major problems faced by the project have been related to technology’.

Basically, Consumers and interest groups have created strategic alliances and now capable to coordinate their activities as well as exchange ideas and thoughts through a number of database and network systems. For instance, owners of personal computers can subscribe to a computer network and without difficulty retrieve information on the products and corporations on line. Such information can also without problems be transmitted to other users. This huge use of computer and information technologies by both consumers and companies affects, but the way business is run today.

These consumer strategic alliances know no geographical limitations; oftentimes, they are global in nature, particularly among the industrialized nations. As companies can get in enormous profits from the better coordination, greater product elasticity, improved quality, leaner production, and more time-based competitiveness that computer and information technologies offers, they also facades the threat that can come from these consumers’ strategic alliances. For instance, corporations can no longer ignore consumer demands for constant product quality, reliability and respect for the environment, or timely delivery of services.

As we move toward more and more advanced technologies, the labor force must be retrained. This training must not only expose workers to the technical matters adjoining the new process but also to the new focus of the organization. They have to be made responsive of the importance of advanced technology in improving work methods and in remaining competitive. Employee compulsion to the new process is imperative. In numerous ways in which computer and information technologies applications could guide to better learning and teaching outcomes.

Most booming computer-aided instruction and computer-based training applications boast of cost reductions, but a few also claims gains in the excellence of employee learning. Several of these applications rely on markedly cutting-edge technology, making lavish use of multimedia, and engaging trainees in very interactive discussions. Though, other ideas are astoundingly simple. For instance, The Teaching Company (TTC) thinks that the videotapes and audiotapes it offers can aid trainees improve grades in everything.

Of course, these tapes lack the interactivity of a good tutoring session, but TTC is betting that the quality of its tapes will more than compensate: The lectures are carried by elite, “superstar” faculty in each field, not by merely experienced professors. The use of computer and information technologies has the prospective to be an enterprise-wide decision-support system that facilitates achieving both strategic and operational objectives. Fully integrated systems can aid the more seamless operation of a company across functions and departments.

For example, Berry (1994) cites the case of a large manufacturing company where the departure of an employee needed the services of several specialists (EEO, COBRA, payroll, pensions, outplacement, etc. ). Through the adoption of a graphical user interface (GUI) a single user was then competent to access all related systems and support tools resultant in all activities being accomplished in one session and updated automatically. GUI in addition can be used to do “what if” benefits plan modeling and can work as an executive information database.

Expert systems are programmed to reply questions and aid decision making as would be a human expert (Greenlaw & Valonis, 1994). These systems develop into the repositories of the best experience and thinking of subject matter experts and have incredibly prospectively in human resource strategy formulation. Both by consideration of expert system technology and a perceptive of the task to be performed effect how sharply a person uses an expert system (Greenlaw & Valonis, 1994). These systems are signified in applications such as Policies Now and Resumix and in intelligent tutoring systems (ITS).

Another computer-based technology known as Group Decision Support System (GDSS) assists group discussions, group brainstorming, and team sessions by permitting participants to put in their ideas all together. Additionally, open, honest involvement is optimistic through inscrutability (Townsend et al. , 1995). In the area of training and development, the use of computer-assisted training to pass on information, such as Intel’s use of an interactive set of connections to present new product seminars (Coyle, 1995), is becoming more universal.

In another application, the paper-intensity of collecting 360-degree feedback for operation management development is lightened by the use of automated systems. Administrative support can be condensed from three full-time employees per thousand multiple-source assessment (MSA) participants to one full-time employee per two thousand MSA participants (Edward & Ewen, 1996). Numerous HR professionals are known with the utility of Career Architect, skill recognition and analysis system (Lancaster, 1995) made more user-friendly by its accessibility in a PC-based version.

Coyle (1995) cites the improvement of the executive education network (EXEN), which works together with universities to deliver some of their most well-liked courses via satellite to subscriber electronic classrooms. Though, Coyle (1995) also reminds us that companies that are amongst the leaders in management development still value personnel, face-to-face communication among participants. GE still troops its managers and executives off to its Crotonville management education center and IBM places a best on socialization and personal interaction in its programs.

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