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Operations management can be defined as a branch of management that deals with administering, designing, and monitoring the process of manufacturing and restructuring business activities in the creation of products and services. This process that enables a company or organization to ensure its business operations or activities are efficient in relation to using limited resources and is effective in meeting customer needs (Shim & Siegel, 2010).
Companies and organizations develop operation strategies to ensure that this is achieved (Barnes, 2008). An operation strategy can be defined as the process of ensuring that products and services are manufactured and delivered on time to customers. Operations strategies are very essential as they enable businesses to achieve their goals and objectives. They also allow them to achieve a competitive edge over their competitors (Deflorin, 2010).
The management in a company needs to strike a balance between their structural and infrastructural decisions in their areas of operation management to be able to implement a coherent and consistent operations strategy (Vallespir, 2010). This report intends to examine ways through Huawei, a multinational telecommunication company, and how they can balance such actions in order to enhance its operations strategies.
Balancing Structural and Infrastructural Decisions
Structural decisions shape the building blocks of a particular operation. Such decisions define the tangible architecture and shape of the operations. Infrastructural decisions, in contrast, affect culture, systems, and people among others. Huawei as a company needs to balance its actions in relation to the same as the decisions affect each other. This implies that placing more emphasis on one and neglecting the other might affect the effectiveness of the decision in the long-run (Shim & Siegel, 2010).
Essentially, Huaweiââ‚¬â„¢s management needs to ensure decisions relating to technology, facilities, integration, and capacity which are in balance with those relating to organization, human resources, quality systems, resource allocation, and work planning among others. For example, they need to ensure that they are well aware of their time of operation. This should be done in order to make well informed decisions in relation to capacity. For instance, the company operates almost around the clock. As such, it is imperative for it to determine its capacity to achieve this (Milosevic & Martinelli, 2009).
Huawei also needs to be extra vigilant when deciding on whether or not to source or employ the vertical integration strategy. Fundamentally, the company needs to look at its resource capabilities before deciding on which strategy to employ. For example, the outsourcing strategy works well when a company lacks enough resources to deal with its business activities. Huawei has the resources, however, it needs to outsource some of it business operations; for example HR, to be able to concentrate on its core competencies. This will also enable it to deal with the increased competition with regards to the same (Leong, 2008).
Additionally, it is also essential for the management of any given company or organization to ensure that they break down their capacities into single business units. Nonetheless, such decisions are normally less relevant to companies such as Huawei, considering the fact that its operations require direct interaction with customers. The company needs to maintain a high profile with regards to interacting with customers to be able to achieve a competitive edge. Such capacities can neither be transported nor stored (Arora, 2004).
The company also needs to be careful when dealing with its process and information technology. Such decisions require the management to make decisions amid a number of equipment. They should also be able to specify how the equipment can be located, coordinated, as well as connected together. However, this should be based on the companyââ‚¬â„¢s facilities, capacity, and human resources. Failure to consider such factors can lead to the company making a less informed decision that can be detrimental to its success in the future (Mahadevan, 2009).
Choosing a good operations strategy starts with implementing the best policies and systems that govern various activities including equipment selection and capital management. This is also largely dependent on organizational design. As such, a Huawei needs to ensure it is able to make well thought and informed decisions in relation to its integration. Balancing structural and infrastructural decisions also calls for the management in the company to plan on how its facilities should be interconnected, located and specialized, to be able to achieve high performances (Mahadevan, 2009).
Huaweiââ‚¬â„¢s infrastructure is very essential to its success in the long-run. However, the company has over and again underestimated its importance. This is one of the major reasons to why the company may not be able to maintain its competitive edge in the future. The company needs to look at the differences in systems, procedures, and policies to be able to make decisions that are balanced and to not dwell much on its structure or infrastructure (Barnesm, 2008).
The company needs to understand the fact that every decisions or action has varied effects on its new product capabilities, responsiveness/speed, flexibility, dependability, quality, and costs. Over the years, Huawei has had the tendency to focus more on demand rather than quality of its products. This has led to the company incurring high production costs. This in turn has affected its consistency in dealing with customer needs. The major cause of such an issue is the lack of balance between infrastructure and structural decisions. The management of the company needs to change the way it adjusts its production costs to be able to rectify this problem (Milosevic & Martinelli, 2009).
Huawei needs to ensure consistency in its infrastructural and structural decisions. This can be achieved through evaluating its capabilities and making decisions that fit them. Basically, coming up with inconsistent decisions might render a company incapable as it may not be able to implement them within the stipulated time. Nonetheless, the management of the company must demonstrate a high level of commitment. This is due to the fact that implementing strategies that fit a companyââ‚¬â„¢s capability can be more challenging than designing or creating products. This is also a complex task that requires the company to devote more time in its implementation (Shim & Siegel, 2010).
The company needs to understand the fact that infrastructural and structural decisions are normally made during different times. They are also made by different groups of individuals who may be separate in terms of physical locations and as such, may rarely meet while executing their different roles and duties. With this being the case, the management of the company needs to ensure that its priorities are communicated to all groups involved. It is also essential for the management to ensure it monitors the decisions made by the different groups to be able to ascertain on whether or not they are consistent. Failure to do this can lead to the company facing the issue of unintended consistent. This is for the reason that each group may engage in what it believes is right without considering the effect such decisions might have on the company. This might also create an imbalance between structural and infrastructural decisions (Leong, 2008).
Huawei also needs to consider the fact that different infrastructures and structures are suitable for different missions. This implies that some actions might work for a particular missions but fail to work for another. Having such knowledge will enable the company to ascertain which operation strategies are more suitable than others. The company also needs to have a specific market or markets to be able to make more informed and balanced decisions. The current competition in the telecommunication industry has led to most companies diversifying to other markets. This has been done to enhance their competitiveness (Deflorin, 2010). However, such attempts can reduce their effectiveness. This is due to their decisions which may be unbalanced in nature. Such a strategy also requires the company to come up with different competitive strategies, considering the fact that each market might have unique needs. Meeting such demands can be very tricky to most companies despite their size or capability. Generally, most companies might overemphasize on certain issues while overlooking others. For example, a company can focus more on systems while neglecting capacity. This creates an imbalance and in the long-run can lead to the collapse of the company in question. Huawei needs to ensure that it is able to manage markets without straining (Milosevic & Martinelli, 2009).
Nevertheless, targeting different market segments enables a company to mitigate the risk of going out of business whenever one market fails. As such, Huawei still needs to come up with strategies on how to cater to its markets without creating an imbalance in its decision making process. For example, the company needs to focus on the needs of its customers, products or services, and the form of differentiation required for different markets. The company must ensure that its infrastructural and structural decisions are based on such factors. This will enable the company to strike a balance between the same (Mishra, 2009).
Focus will not only enable the company to ensure balance in relation to making structural and infrastructural decisions but also enable it eliminate unwanted products and services. The company can be able to achieve this by examining its goods and services to ascertain those that are rarely demanded by customers. The company is also able to enhance its systems and human resource capability in the process. This is because they will be focused on business activities that are of great importance to the company. Nonetheless, it is significant for the company to decide on which dimensions to place more emphasis and which ones to eliminate. This is because it will be hard for it to focus on all of them. The company also needs to be very careful on which dimension is more desirable. Failure to do this can also lead to an imbalance on the same. This means that it the Huawei management must carry out a research to be able to make an effective decision (Mishra, 2009).
Companies face the issue of the ever changing market environment. This has forced businesses to change or alter their decisions from time to time to be able to keep up with the changes. As such, Huawei must also be ready and willing to change its operations strategies to be able to keep up with the changes as well as compete in the desired manner. The changes over time render a company incapable of dealing with business operations. This is for the reason that people and policies normally become incompatible with systems, sourcing, technology, and facilities. This means that a company needs to ensure consistent in structure and infrastructure as this is the only way it can be able to avoid the issue of incompatibility. Nevertheless, the management of the company needs to understand the fact that infrastructural and structural decisions may not have a clear as well as delineated impact on dissimilar competitive dimensions (Deflorin, 2010).
Some actions may have clear implications on specific performances. However, they may have little or no effect on others. As such, it is upon the management to ascertain those decisions or actions that have great effect on others and those that do not. This helps in determining which structural or infrastructural decision to employ. It is imperative for the company to place more emphasis on decisions that have a great effect on another as this affects the entire process of creating operation strategies. Companies also need to ensure that they focus more on the combination of decisions that yield more benefits to the company (Limsarun & Anurit, 2011).
A successful company will always employ an operation strategy that gives it a competitive edge over other companies in the industry. This is achieved through focusing on locations or dimensions that have not been emphasized by competitors. Such companies can also accomplish the same by reinforcing alternative ways through which they are able to appeal to customers by integrating systems that are of great value to its human resources, capabilities, technologies, facilities, values, and customers among others. This is also a clear indication that Huawei needs to balance its structural and infrastructure decisions to be able to succeed both currently and in the future. It is also essential for the company to nurture its superior capabilities to enhance its ability to develop strong operational strategies (Bettley, 2005).
The management of the company also needs to understand that successful companies will develop their capabilities while at the same time seeking opportunities on how to fully exploit them. Essentially, a company needs to fully exploit its strengths. This should be done in order to utilize its resources to the fullest. It must also ensure it is able to deal with weaknesses with the opportunities that present themselves on the market. Opportunities should be exploited before a competitor does the same. This enables the company to rip the benefits before their competitor does (Wild 2003).
Operational strategies enable companies to ensure high performances. However, strong operational strategies are only achieved or implemented when a company strikes a balance between its infrastructure and structural decisions. Failure to do this leads to a company overemphasizing on particular action while neglecting others. This can be disastrous as it may not be able to fully utilize its potential. The company may also not be able to succeed in the future as this creates an imbalance, for example, in allocation of resources. It can also lead to wastage. Therefore, Huawei needs to ensure a balance when dealing with its structural and infrastructure decisions.