Operations Management refers to the overall administration of practices involved in business to maximize the efficiency of an organisation. This aspect takes the conversion of raw materials as well as labour into various goods and services in a way that it enhance the profitability of the firm. The report below is based on the application of operations management in Aston Martin, which is an independent British manufacturer of grand tourers and luxury Sports cars. It covers the discussion about the organisation, its customers, their expectations and operations objectives required to fulfil these expectation (Smith, Maull and CL Ng, 2014). It also undertakes the process for operations and its contribution in achievement of the objectives. The report is also mention recommendations to enhance the ability of these processes in meeting operations objectives.
Aston Martin is one of the most modern and acknowledged sports car brand which is recognised for its exceptional designs and unique heritage. It was founded by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford in 1913 and provide its customers with extreme performance, style, comfort and luxury (ASTON MARTIN - THE COMPANY,2018).
Large number of major departments are operating within the firm across its enterprises worldwide, one of the main units that contributes in its success is the operations department. Operations Department and Operations Manager, both contribute in different and effective ways in the company that helps the firm in smooth running of operations and better achievement of objectives. Their roles are described below:
Role of Operations Department:
- Optimum Utilisation of Resources: The Operations Department of Aston Martin is required to manage as well as utilise each resource It is responsible for managing both the raw materials and the company's employees. In addition, overseeing the inventory covers a major part of their role. Through such effective management it contributes in cost reductions and enhancement of efficiency and consistency (Hill and Hill, 2017).
- Quality Assurance: Another major function performed by the operations department is that they ensure the quality in the processes as well as the products before delivering it to the customers. It determines the grounds on which the quality is ensured and properly monitors the functions of production of cars in the company. These grounds for a firm like Aston Martin are speed, reliability, comfort and safety in their cars (Hitt, Xu and Carnes, 2016).
Apart from the operations department, the operations manager too has a prominent role to play in the company.
Role of Operations Manager:
- Setting Up Goals: They are required to set up goals and policies for their department in Aston Martin. They undertake the setting up of objectives like better performance from employees and enhancement in the quality of their production and achievement of those targets to ensure efficiency in the process of production and distribution (Fredendall and Hill, 2016).
- Financial Management: Their contribution in the firm is not limited to goal setting. They play a major role in cost control, budget forecasting and keeping a financial track of the company. Any deviation from the set objectives is tracked and measures are taken to improve the financial facet of the company (Mahadevan, 2015).
Four V's of Operations Management:
Each company performs in a somewhat similar manner, however, the operations in production for a company like Aston Martin are more centralise and the product is followed from its inception till its completed and delivered. The differences in these operations processes are mentioned by the 4V's overview which is described below:
- Volume Dimension: This undertakes the volume of the product which is needed to satisfy its demand in the marketplace. Low volume indicates less repetitive processes and multitasking of employees whereas high volume enhances these repeatable processes which could be automated or standardised. If the production of cars would be at high volume, it would satisfy more demand.
- Variety Dimension: As the name indicates, this dimension relates with diversity and tends to focus on the variety of offerings that the firm could present in the market. High variety gives high flexibility to the firm and is in the correlation with the volume. This means higher the variety, the lower would be the volume. As an example, Aston Martin produces variety of cars for speed, luxury as well as comfort. If the firm introduces more varieties, the volume of production of these cars would be low.
- Variation Dimension: This dimension deals with the changes in demand due to external forces. For instance, as per the future anticipations, more millennials are opting for public transport rather than private, which in turn could cause variation in Aston Martin's processes of producing less speedy cars and more sedans to attract older group of customers.
- Visibility Dimension: This dimension undertakes the visibility of operations of the company to its customers. Aston Martin keeps sharing its production processes with its customers which attracts the customers and ensures transparency.
Customers, their expectations, operations objectives and process types
Aston Martin sells its cars worldwide, and there are variety of customers that purchase their cars. These customers are quite loyal to the firm and all the operations in the firm are dedicated to satisfy their expectations.
The firm targets high-end customers which are loyal to buy sports cars. Moreover, another segment in which the company targets are business persons. This is because it provides comfort and luxury which are their prime demands alongside speed.
However, the company is targeting customers beyond its traditional target market. It has planned new models as per the new age customers which demands enhancements in speed and safety. This would help the firm reach wider market segments.
However, there are various customer expectations from the outputs in terms of the broad market criteria of the company which are described below:
- Design: The major expectation of the customers from the company is the design it provides them in its cars. The products of the company are designed in the way that they could compete in the environment as well as fulfil the requirement of speed in their cars. Some of their finest recent works which possess exceptional designs are Aston Martin Vulcan, Aston Martin V8, Aston Martin DB11 and so forth (Marketing mix of Aston Martin,2018).
- Quality: This refers to the overall quality of the cars which is expected by the customers. It involves speed, reliability, safety and ease in functions. Customers expect a top notch quality in their vehicles and providing this would help them cause satisfaction of these customers.
- Innovation: Apart from design and quality, a major expectation of customers are the changes induced with the ongoing demands of time as well as technological advancements. They expect the firm to produce its products which are highly innovative and could provide them long term satisfaction in terms of advancements in features present in their products.
- Comfort: As one of the most prominent demands, comfort is required in Aston Martin's cars as customers tend to use the vehicles for long run and long distance purposes. Having wide comfort would enhance the customer experience as well as increase their trust and reliability on the firm's upcoming models (Kato and et. al., 2015).
Customers demand may vary according to their immediate needs and natures, but their expectation of the outcome of the company are least likely to vary. To fulfil these demands, it is imperative that certain operations objectives be clearly stated that will define the standard of the company's operations. These objectives are described below:
- Quality of Operations: As per the company standards, quality in design could be effectively achieved by enhancing quality of operations. This could be a prominent operations objective for Aston Martin. The quality standards of the company are judged on the basis of design, cost, sustainability and overall performance of their operations as well as their cars. These aspects are required to be effectively achieved in a systematic and productive manner.
- Speed: Another objective for the firm is speed in their operations and processes. This requires the firm to effectively attain a minimum span of time to manufacture and distribute their cars to the customers. Approximately, Aston Martin produces more than 5000 cars in a year since 2008 (ASTON MARTIN DELIVERS RECORD SALES GROWTH IN 2017,2018). This could be a major objective in the firm to enhance its production processes. There are various ways in which the company could achieve speed in its processes. One way could be to identify and eliminate resources that are causing delay in the process of the company. For instance, ineffectiveness of equipments or legislations like Environmental Protection Act, 1990 which exerts pressure on the company to employ methods as well as produce cars in accordance to environmental preservation. Another manner that would speed up the operations of Aston Martin could be that the firm employs Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality Gears that could ensure effective monitoring and aid in operation process and effectively help the firm in achieving the objective.
- Dependability: This considers the aspect of dependability of customers on the company's operations. It undertakes timely delivery, price, quality as well as cost to complete the operations. From a customer's point of view, it is crucial for the company that it keeps satisfying customers through consistent delivery, with pre-planned prices and effective customer services that would help in building up their trust in the firm and its future products. Achieving this operations objective would allow the firm to achieve its agenda of reaching new markets which enhanced reputation.
- Flexibility: Operations in a company are required to be flexible enough to deal with different requirements effectively and flexibly. For Aston Martin, it could be prominent that flexibility be ensured in the processes as well as their product lines in a way that adjustments could be made quickly to satisfy new demands. However, this objective has a close link with the speed. Although this aspect is would require the firm to produce variety of cars with top quality and adapt the operations as per the delivery schedules and dynamic conditions of the marketplace (Walker and et. al., 2015).
There are various process types that Aston Martin could operate with in order to achieve their operations objectives. These types serve a range of operations objectives and helps companies to enhance their level of production and distribution. Some of the most appropriate process types for Aston Martin are described below:
Batch Process: This approach is used by manufacturing company in which more than one item is manufactured by an organisation at the same time. It assists company to reduce setting up cost of machines and also reduce production cost to a certain level. This approach can only use in the repetitive work as machines are set in the starting and ends when the work gets completed.
Importance of Batch Process: With the help of this process, Aston Martin can increase their quantity of work they are doing. Though this process is not flexible as there are repetitive task that are required to be performed by the workforce simultaneously. Company can rely on this for a longer period of time as chances of getting defective goods are less. Quality of goods would be perfect as all the work is done by the machines (Choi, Cheng, and Zhao, 2016).
Jobbing Process: This process requires customized work for each customer according to their needs and preferences. Different companies apply jobbing process to make something unique for their clients by charging more monetary value. It differs from batch process as each product is individually designed and built successfully before the workforce moves on to the next product.
Importance of Jobbing Process: Aston Martin could depend on this process as it ensures that no defective car would be produced and proper standards be followed by company to satisfy all the unmet needs of customers. Speed of the process is slow as it takes time because workforce will complete one product before moving on to another. It would help Aston Martin to increase their quality of products as every step is monitored and analysed by the Quality Managers.
Continuous Process: It is a perpetual flow of production of goods in which it only stops when there is a requirement for maintenance or some other technical problems in the machines. It would help company to reduce their production time as goods are made continuously and can be use by company at any time. However, the process is rigid as repetitive tasks are required to be done by the employees simultaneously.
Importance of Continuous Process: There are a less chances of getting a defective piece as most of the work is done by the machines and humans work is to check the machines timely. Aston Martin can not depend on this process for a longer period of time because if machines are not working properly then company would not be able to attain maximum utilisation of resources (Prashar, 2015).
Out of these three most important and relevant process types, the firm must choose the one which effectively helps the company to accomplish its operations objectives. Batch Process is the one amongst the three that satisfies most requirements and has the ability to achieve all the operations objectives mentioned above.
Process to achieve operations objectives
As compared to the above mentioned process types, Batch Process is the most effective process which would help Aston Martin achieve its operations objectives. There are number of ways in which batch processing could achieve operations o