Operations and Logistics
The field of operations and logistics focuses on making sure that the right amount and quality of materials and goods are produced and delivered to the correct recipients according to schedule. The work involves production and service operations, with operations and logistics workers responsible for managing the supply chain, from purchasing raw materials to the production cycle to end delivery. In business operations, operations and logistics managers implement and manage systems for “efficient deployment of personnel, physical facilities, in-process inventories, finished goods, and related information or services,” as defined by the Business Department of the University of Missouri—Saint Louis.
Operations is also known as supply chain management. The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals defines supply chain management as the planning and management of all activities for sourcing and procurement, conversion, and logistics management activities. This type of work also entails coordinating and collaborating with suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, and customers. In addition to manufacturing operations, supply chain management coordinates the business processes and activities across marketing, sales, product design, finance, and information technology. Logistics management covers inbound and outbound transportation management, fleet management, warehousing, materials handling, order fulfillment, logistics network design, inventory management, supply/demand planning, and management of third-party logistics service providers.
The field of operations and logistics has roots that date back thousands of years. Sumerian priests created an early system of record-keeping for inventories of goods and business transactions. Egyptians devised plans for the organization and management of large projects entailing complex logistics, such as pyramid construction. The industrial revolution brought mass production and new divisions of...