Operations

Taking responsibility for Operations in your student enterprise means being in charge of all production.

What is “Production”?

Production is the conversion of raw materials into goods, which meet a customer need. For example, this could be a block of wood made into a pencil holder.

The Production Department has considerable influence on the profitability and success of the company. The more efficient and effective the production process, the more competitive and profitable the company will be. Production is efficient and effective when it is providing goods of the right quality, at the right price, at the right time.

If you decide to take charge of operations, your duties will include:

  • Advising on product design and development, making a prototype, costing the product, and planning a safe method of production.
  • Purchasing materials of an appropriate quality at the best price. You will ensure that any training requirements are met.
  • Marketing will find out who the potential customers are, will watch the production process very closely, to ensure that the product is exactly what the customer wants.
  • You will also need to liaise with Sales to ensure that adequate, but not excessive, stock is available when needed.
  • You must keep Finance informed of production costs.

Some skills and qualities you will need to develop

  • Logical thinking: the ability to think through processes and translate these into practice.
  • Organisational skills: the ability to organise your team, materials and tools in order to make the best use of resources.
  • Understanding of technological processes: the processes will not necessarily be very sophisticated.

Your Role and Responsibilities

Product design and prototype:

  • Once a product has been selected, liaise with Marketing and Finance on product feasibility and design.
  • You will then be involved in the production of prototype, paying particular attention to the raw materials needed and the processes, which turn these into the finished product.

Purchasing stock and pricing:

  • You should be able to give a fairly accurate report and analysis of production costs, and should liaise with Marketing, Sales and Finance to determine a selling price for your product.
  • You must purchase the raw materials needed for production. Select carefully in terms of quality, cost and reliability of supply. Use a “Purchase Order Book” for purchases.

Product record and stock sheet:

  • Record details of finished products that have passed final quality inspection.
  • Record number of items produced.
  • Record number of items passed on to Sales.
  • The difference between produced and sold items is your stock figure.

Review:

  • You will be required to present a progress report at the weekly meetings.

Production methods and planning:

  • Once you have produced a successful prototype, you will need to fill in the “Equipment and Tools List”.
  • You will need to work out your production processes in detail, step by step. You should fill out the “Operations Sheet”, listing all the equipment and materials needed for each step in the process including appropriate quality controls.
  • Plan the order and timing of your production processes so that the right amounts of the appropriate quality of raw materials and facilities are available at the right time, and machines and people are available as required.

Training:

  • If training in the production processes including the use of tools is needed, work out exactly how, when and where such training will take place.
  • Liase with Human Resources and your teacher to ensure that you comply with Health and Safety legislation.
  • Be aware of the comfort and safety of your Production Team at all times.
  • Check with Trading Standards related to your industry. Some industries have specific guidelines for quality.

Stock and Equipment:

Stock Clearance:

  • Plan in agreement with Sales.
  • Run down production as your company approaches liquidation. Attempt to clear stock.

Equipment:

Return all borrowed tools and equipment.

Other duties:

  • Targets: liaise with Marketing and Sales to produce target figures for your team. It is essential and motivating to know what production rates you are achieving against targets.
  • Quality Management: all items must pass through a quality management system before being handed over to Sales. At each stage of production check against the prototype that quality levels are being maintained and ensure that there is a final inspection point. Remember; after this point the next inspector is the customer. Remember, “Quality Sells”, and dissatisfied customer is a bad advertisement for your product.
  • Health and Safety: check that your team is complying with all applicable regulations. If protective clothing is necessary it must be worn and ensured that any necessary supervision is available. Your team must be aware of any hazards that the raw materials you are working with present. They must know where the following are situated:
    • First aid kit
    • Fire extinguishers
    • The emergency exits
    • The telephone
    • You must also be aware of evacuation procedures
  • Purchasing: You will need to buy in raw materials to meet agreed production estimates.
  • Maintenance: Check that all equipment and tools are well looked after
  • Production area: must be left clean and tidy.
  • Review: Regularly review all operations to ensure that production is efficient and is conforming to quality requirements.

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