What is Operations Management?

Operations management can be defined as a field of business and industry that deals with the administration of business practices to increase the efficiency of a business organization as much as possible. This field includes the planning and organizing of what goes in and out of an organization. For example, an operations manager oftentimes oversees the organization's inputs (what goes in) like materials, technologies, and labor, and converts them into outputs like services and goods (what goes out). The goal is to balance the revenues and costs as much as possible in order for the organization to increase its profit (gains).

There are five basic principles of operations management:

  • planning,
  • organizing,
  • leading,
  • staffing, and
  • controlling.

Planning is essential in management. It involves choosing appropriate goals, the strategies to use, the actions to take, and understanding the limitations and resources that are needed. Organization is essential as all the principles are connected and should work together towards the same goal. Managed passion refers to the motivation of operational management employees which ultimately helps the organization to succeed. Leading requires effective communication skills and involves setting clear goals and motivating employees. Leaders should be humble which includes understanding the limitations which will help the organization save money in the long term. Staffing involves selecting the employees for the organization and the right staff will help the organization meet its goals. Controlling involves improving performance and taking action.

The success of operations management includes the interest of the customer because when the customers are happy, they will keep going back to the organization. Fundamentals are also important and it refers to keeping 80% of what is working for the organization while changing the other 20% to try new techniques. Varying techniques and processes can increase the creativity and productivity of an organization while being open to change can lead to a successful company.

Create an account to begin studying Operations Management
Used by over 30 million students worldwide

Operations Management Topics

Business Leadership

Learn about business leadership. Understand the importance of leadership in business and explore the roles of business leaders and leadership styles in business.

Business Management

Learn a business management definition and understand why it's important. Discover the difference between business administration and business management.

Business Process Analysis

Discover the power of business process analysis. Learn how to apply it, explore business process analysis tools and methods, and see real-world examples in action.

Business Strategy

Explore the different types of business strategies. Learn the definition of business strategy and understand its components. See business strategy examples.

Capital Management

Learn about capital management, or working capital management, and understand how it is used by businesses. Explore strategies with capital management examples.

Inventory Management

Learn about inventory management. Understand what inventory management is, identify the main inventory management techniques, and examine its importance.


Learn the negotiation definition and the purpose of negotiation. Read about the negotiation process and explore the different steps and stages of negotiation.

Project Management

Learn what a project is and why businesses place importance on designing projects. Then, see what project management is and review project management examples.

Quality Management

Learn what quality management is and the importance of a quality management system. Find quality management principles, and see quality management system examples.

Standard Operating Procedures

Learn the standard operating procedure definition. See how standard operating procedure guidelines are beneficial for businesses, and explore SOP examples.

Supply Chain Management

Learn the supply chain definition and understand the process of supply chain management. Study the importance of supply chains and logistics and see examples.

Sustainable Operations Management

Learn about sustainable operations management and understand how it works. Explore the benefits of sustainable business operations and study some examples.

Operations Management Education Resources

Study.com provides useful resources about operations management for various learning goals. Access our lessons, videos, activities, quizzes, and other resources to supplement in-class learning! The courses allow educators and students to access lessons at any time.

Operations Management Courses and Lessons

The Study.com library of engaging online business courses touches on operations management topics including production operations management and operations and systems. These courses will help learners engage and strengthen their understanding of how to manage the operations of an organization through self-paced lessons and videos. Students can access these operations management courses and learn at their own pace.

Operations Management

This operations management course provides short videos and text lessons on scheduling, supply chain management, inventory management, and resource planning, among others. The course is taught by experts in the field and can be accessed at any time.

Business 121: Introduction to Entrepreneurship

This introductory course includes engaging lessons, videos, and multiple-choice quizzes on topics such as business opportunities, finance, planning, ethics, and risk-taking. Up to 3 semester hours may be transferred to over 2,000 colleges and universities.

Business 312: Advanced Operations Management

This course can be accessed at a self-paced rate to enhance understanding of advanced level operations management. The course includes topics such as quality and process improvement, forecasting, performance metrics, and risk management, among others.

Retail Operations

This is a comprehensive online course that covers the fundamentals of retail operations. Access the lessons at any time to learn more about strategic planning, competition, financial management, pricing, promotions, sales operations, and more.

Business Development Training

This comprehensive course has been developed for employees in business development. These lessons teach about the foundations of business development including sales strategies, search engine optimization, internet marketing, and competitive intelligence.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the five basic principles of operation management?

    The five basic principles of operation management are planning, organizing, leading, staffing, and controlling. Planning involves choosing appropriate goals, strategies, and actions while organization allows everyone to work together towards the same goal. Leading involves setting clear goals and motivating employees and staffing involves selecting the employees for the organization. Lastly, controlling involves improving performance and taking action.

  • How are operations defined?

    In an organization, operations refers to the way the organization functions or performs. An organization with effective operations is being effective towards its goals.

  • What is an example of operational management?

    Operational management refers to the processes an organization implements to achieve its goals in delivering its services and goods to customers. An example of operational management is manufacturing and accountability which means that the organization's goals are being met.