Recent Trends and Developments in Operations Management


Operations management comprises of managing all business activities that facilitate input to output cycle. The term operations management was initially confined to production or manufacturing departments. However, the system has evolved through the years and is now used comprehensively to denote the management of day to day business activities of all units that finally channel towards the final product or services.

Operations management aims at ensuring that the production process and overall operations across the business functions as efficient as possible. One of the main roles of operations management is to ensure the expenditure and costs of a company are reciprocated in revenue. Effective operations management maximises profits and ensures business growth.

Trends in Operations Management

All activities strive towards increasing efficiency and maximising profits. Emerging trends and advancements in technology are always embraced into business to ensure market competitiveness. It could range from cost reduction measures to automation of repeated process or by scraping off redundant tasks and additional expenses. Latest trends and management synergies keep changing globally targeting business optimization. This tutorial discusses on the recent trends and developments that are happening in operations management.


Maintaining market share, unpredictable global economy, and changing customer preferences demands organizations to stay ahead on the latest agile solutions. Agility helps organisation to adapt quickly to market changes internally and externally. It also helps to quickly respond rapidly and flexibly and cater to customer demands. Being able to adapt and lead change in a productive and cost-effective way without compromising on quality is the highlight of agile approaches. This helps the company to continuously stay at a competitive edge. The trend of agile approaches to organisation, strategy, leadership and governance ensure everything from accountability, transparency and collaboration.

Technology Integration and Automation

Technology is advancing rapidly and digitization has become universal. The automation of manual processes helps to cut down unnecessary labour, realising un preceded potential for efficiency and capacity, and allowing companies to reduce expenses and wastage. As years pass by organizations are keenly automating business processes to avoid repeated tasks and save cost and labour.

Lean Practices

Another recent trend is adopting lean practices by the business units. Lean Operations is adopted to replace the age old business methods. Production units where mass production were carried out have switched to just in time production where goods are services are produced and customised as per customer demand.

Instead of targeting mass sales of goods generating economies of scale, the new trend focuses on manufacture of goods upon order confirmation that results in drastic reduction of production cost and zero wastage. It helps organization to foster its operations to be faster, dependable and of better quality.

Green Manufacturing for sustainability

Unlike the past where every business was driven only towards making profit, the business of the today has started focusing on environment sustainability. This new development in operations management discourages the procurement and use of resources in the lowest cost possible ignoring the damage caused to the environment.

Operation managers have begun to initiate designing products and processes that are sustainable. It takes into account minimum resource utilization, recycling, ensures biodegradable components and environmental friendly. Thus, green manufacturing can be viewed as a recent development in operations management.

Improved Communication System

Proper and timely communication within the organization is crucial to efficient functioning of each business units. There should be a continuous flow of information without any disruption or breakage to endure smooth functioning of the entire system.

Adopting communication technologies to ensure the free flow of communication channel has become inevitable in business operations today. It helps to practically deal with remote work locations to collaborate and communicate in real time to facilitate abrupt decisions. This recent trend of operations management helps work flexibility and provides seamless and integrated communication system.

Employee Involvement

Employees are the real resources turning inputs into business outputs. They face the practicality of each given situation. They may be better aware of the pros and cons of the activities of their concerned department or business unit. Operations management has started to focus on this area by involving the employees and getting their inputs for decision making. Proper decisions are no longer the monopoly of the top management.

Employees also feel a sense of trust and acknowledgment when their voices are heard there by increasing their productivity. These recent trends that delegate decision-making and problem-solving responsibilities to lower levels of the organisation help increase employee morale. It also facilitates lean processes where decisions can be taken then and there with n waste of time or money.

More Emphasis on Internal Audits

Business operations of today try to isolate and rectify an issue before it gets shared to other departments. This is done through regular internal audits. A faulty process or system could be easily identified and rectified at the source and help the organization from incurring loss. It triggers self-accountability and helps continuous improvement through persistent management and adjustment. Internal audits conducted periodically ensure that action can be taken the minute an issue is spotted. This helps the operations management team to have control on the business process and mitigate risks and losses in the future.

Data Accessibility and Availability

Another area of development is the easy access and availability of enterprise data. Availability of data is vital for an organization to make timely decisions, make predictions and plan the future. Its availability in a shared manner is also equally important.

Data collected through technological medium is collated, organised and collaborated among different business units to maintain clarity and foster proper communication and informed decision making. Unavailability of data results in reduced efficiency. Hence operations management view it crucial to centrally collect and organize data to access and utilise as needed by the departments concerned. All these benefits that enterprise data has to offer are becoming increasingly popular.

Customer Centricity

Being customer centric is the motto of every business alike, but focusing on the changing trends and patters of customer behaviours and preferences stays as an evergreen trend in operations management. It is not what the company have to offer that is focused in today’s world, but what the customer needs is to be provided. This is extremely crucial to maintain competitive advantage.

Apart from maintain relationships with the potential customers, it is equally important to find and predict the preferences of customers. Organizations failing to focus on this customer centric approach often fall at a risk of losing their market share. Continuous monitoring of customer preferences and changes though feedbacks can help operations team come up with products and services that match their customer expectations.


To conclude, operations management is a connecting link between multiple departments. The recent trends and developments could help cater to many aspects of overall business and organizational success. Operations management professionals could play a significant role in improving productivity and profit by inculpating these trends and developments in business activities. Business houses can maximise the capacity of their existing workforce by automating repetitive and time-consuming processes, streamlining communication tools and technology, and connecting frontline workforce. These trends will also improve processes by maintaining right balance between humans and technology.

Updated on: 18-Apr-2023

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