Demonstrate a Strategic and Operational Understanding of Global Operations and Logistic Functions.
The structural decisions items of an operations strategy reflect the hardware of the firm, while the infrastructure decision areas represent the firm’s software
The main objective of the operation function is to ensure that employees perform their task in a timely and right manner. Operations management is critical in facilitating the management of capital and human resources. Structural decision is instrumental in ensuring that the organisation attains its immediate and long-term goals. An operational strategy is also helpful in facilitating effective and sustainable daily business operations (Hayes, Pisano, Upton, & Wheelwright, 2005). The argument presented in this paper will demonstrate that, structural decisions criteria in operation plan represent the organisation’s hardware while the infrastructure decision criteria reflect the business software.
Business structural decision relate to organisation hardware because they help in the identification of the most useful business facilities. For instance, structural decisions help to identify business facilities including of the size, location, and operation resources. Structural decisions also assist in classifying and allocating resources such as stores, building and transport that are essential to the success of a business. Further, structural decisions are crucial in identifying target customers and the most reliable means of accessing those customers (Slack, & Lewis, 2002).
Business structural decisions represent the organisation’s hardware by helping determine the business capacity through the framing of appropriate strategies for dealing with emerging market challenges and changes. Business structural decisions are also useful in determining financial position. Recent studies affirm that businesses implementing reliable structural decisions have the capacity to respond to emerging market changes. For instance, during the 2009 financial crisis in the United States and some European countries, only businesses that had reliable structural decisions maintained their profitability. In addition, structural decisions are responsible for enhancing the effective utilisation of existing business facilities and resources (Porter, 1990). For example, reliable structural decisions assist in determining shift patterns, staffing levels, and individual work hours. The organisation’s structural decision is critical in determining its success in the local and international market.
Further, the organisation’s structural decisions as affect the business hardware by facilitating the reliable adoption of appropriate technology. Based on the available empirical evidence, many modern businesses rely on structural decisions in adopting modern technology in their operations and marketing. Some structural decisions criteria assist in allocating resources for the adoption of modern technology and in determining reliable automation levels in business technology. Moreover, many of contemporary business entities rely on structural decision to identify most effective promotion and marketing mechanism for modern society which involve online promotion services such as social media
Business structural decisions present business hardware by facilitating funds to enhance the adoption of a reliable supply network especially in the international market. The proportion of outsourcing and in-house activities in a supply network operations are largely determined by the nature and effectiveness of a business structural decision. Vertical integration in a business also requires structural decisions. For instance, a food business such as Macdonald’s relies on effective structural decisions in determining its suppliers and their location. The extent to which modern businesses rely on a supplier is also largely determined by structural decision as confirmed onlarge modern business entities in the United States (Ferdows, & de Meyer, 2010). )
In contrast, modern scholars assert that infrastructure decisions relate to business software. Infrastructure decisions play a critical role in facilitating business control and planning. Modern business managers and leaders rely on infrastructure decisions in making effective operation, promotional strategies, and decisions thereby enhancing the control of all business operations. Infrastructure decisions in a business are also useful in facilitating the expansion of business operations in other markets (Cohen & Levinthal, 2009). Further, they help business leaders meet the ever-changing market demand.
Additionally, infrastructure decisions involve business software by determining the impact and quality of business management policies and practices. The quality of business practices results from the competence of managers and availability of adequate business resources. Most businesses rely on infrastructure decisions in recruiting competent professionals and managers. The business infrastructure decision is also useful in making of decisions that can meet the needs and interests of all actors in a business. The software role of the organisation infrastructure decision is prominent in the practical management of the business workforce. For example, managers of successful modern business entities rely on infrastructure decisions in determining the business shift and policies applicable in helping the business attain its immediate and long-term goals and objectives. An organisation infrastructure decision also shapes a business organisation and its management structures.
Contemporary business managers rely on decision regarding existing infrastructure in determining the roles and responsibilities of all actors and professionals in an organisation. Further, the performance of business leaders is evaluated based on the impacts of their business infrastructure decisions. In the human resources department, the business infrastructure decision concerns useful and reliable software. For example, nowadays, human resource managers use the business infrastructure decision to identify the required qualifications of their employees. Further, the selection and recruitment process for all employees (including business managers) is influenced by the prevailing business infrastructure decision. Decisions on development and training mechanisms and methodologies emanate from the operating infrastructure decision. The manufacture of new products in modern business entities is also influenced by the manner in which business leaders’ implements infrastructure decisions critical in determining the procedures and systems used in designing new services and products in a business.
The business structural and infrastructure decisions are pivotal in facilitating the effective management of an organisation. These two types of decisions help in ensuring that a business attains its immediate and long-term goals they decisions follow a similar formulation process. In most cases, the formulation of the business operation strategy relies on either the bottom-up process or the top-bottom process. All actors should also take an active role in the entire process of framing a productive operations strategy (Rayborn, Butler, & Massoud, 2009). The structural decision and infrastructure decisions are the main elements for a successful business operations strategy and should complement each other in helping a business respond to market demands and requirements thereby attain its objectives.
Although structural decisions are mostly inflexible, the infrastructure decision supports the structural decisions in addressing emerging market demands. The funding of the structural and infrastructure decisions depend on the business’ financial ability (Barney, 2001). However, in an ideal situation, the business structural decision requires a huge amount of resources compared to infrastructure decision.
Predominantly, structural decision criteria involve business hardware by forming a framework for implementing proposed infrastructure decisions. In modern business entities, structural decisions concern major capital investments (Ohmae, 2006; Sheffi, 2005). Structural decisions also define the goal towards which the organisation’s operations are be directed and facilitate the development of framework that enhances the effective operation of a business. Contrary to infrastructure decisions, structural decisions involve plans that will take a long period to be productive. In most instances, infrastructure decisions aim at meeting the immediate goals of an organisation.
The structural decisions involve business hardware since it has a notable role regarding organisation’s capabilities and resources. Contrary to infrastructure decision criteria, structural decisions offer a long-term perspective (Skinner, 2005). A structural decision is mostly permanent and inflexible. Managers and stakeholders should desist from making unnecessary modifications to the organisation’s structural decisions. Instead, operational managers need to adopt mechanisms that will ensure the effective implementation of structural decisions (Wernerfelt, 2004). Therefore, all actors should implement structural decisions since they are the organisation’s principal management tools (Mills, Neely, Platts, & Gregory, 2008). In contrast, infrastructure decisions are flexible and easy to change. Compared to structural decisions, the procedure of making changes in infrastructure decisions is relatively easy and inexpensive. However, prior to making any modification in infrastructure decisions, all actors should be adequately involved.
Further, structural decisions are the main pillar that directs the operation of an organisation and shape the organisation behavioural culture, structures, and regulations. As a result, all professionals in an organisation need to abide fully to the structural decisions (Mintzberg, & Quinn, 2001).
With reference to the time horizon, a structural decision does not have an expiry date. Structural decisions are also long-term decisions that are responsible for determining the business mission statement, vision, goals, and objective and are relevant throughout the lifespan of a business. The business budget should allocate adequate resources to cater to the needs of the proposed structural decisions. However, infrastructure decisions also help the organisation in achieving future objectives (Slack, Chambers, & Johnston 2004). This implies that it is accurate to refer to the structural decision as business hardware and infrastructure decision as business software. Managers should allocate adequate time to implement infrastructure decisions. All actors in an organisation should also take participate in ensuring the effective of the business infrastructure decision within the set period. At the termination of the infrastructure decision, business managers should engage in detailed and systematic evaluation to assess whether the decision has attained its intended objective. Further, a structural decision requires a huge amount of capital investments (Platts; Gregory, 2000). Contrary to infrastructure decisions, several businesses allocate huge budgetary resources to the implementation of business structural decisions. Modern businesses also undertake an annual evaluation to examine whether their resources are adequate to fulfil the objectives determined by business structural decisions.
Consequently, the business structural and infrastructure decision are crucial in facilitating business success. The two critical business decisions work simultaneously in ensuring that the business attains its intended objectives. However, each has its own role in supporting the businesses. Structural decisions provide a platform for implementing infrastructure decisions whereas infrastructure decisions facilitate the implementation of structural decisions. Therefore, it is appropriate to conclude that the structural decision in a business operation strategy clearly represent business hardware while the infrastructure decision represents business software.
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