HISTORICAL EVOLUTION OF PRODUCTION AND OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT - Production and Operations Management

For over two centuries, operations and production management has been recognized as an important factor in a country’s economic growth. The traditional view of manufacturing management began in eighteenth century when Adam Smithrecognized the economic benefits of specialization of labor. He recommended breaking of jobs down into subtasks and recognizes workers to specialized tasks in which they would become highly skilled and efficient. In the early twentieth century, F.W. Taylor implemented Smith’s theories and developed scientific management. From then till 1930, many techniques were developed prevailing the traditional view. Brief information about the contributions to manufacturing management is shown in the following table.

Historical summary of operations management

Historical summary of operations management

Production managementbecomes the acceptable term from 1930s to 1950s. As F.W. Taylor’s works become more widely known, managers developed techniques that focused on economic efficiency in manufacturing. Workers were studied in great detail to eliminate wasteful efforts and achieve greater efficiency. At the same time, psychologists, socialists and other social scientists began to study people and human behavior in the working environment. In addition, economists, mathematicians, and computer socialists contributed newer, more sophisticated analytical approaches.

With the 1970s emerge two distinct changes in our views. The most obvious of these, reflected in the new name operations managementwas a shift in the service and manufacturing sectors of the economy. As service sector became more prominent, the change from ‘production’ to ‘operations’ emphasized the broadening of our field to service organizations. The second, more suitable change was the beginning of an emphasis on synthesis, rather than just analysis, in management practices.


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