Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Future of Operations Management

Opportunity: Techno-Business Managers

Excellence in the management of business operations and technology provides a competitive advantage in today's fast-paced business environment. The ideal mix of technology and management skills creates Techno-Business Managers who are equipped with technology, farsighted management practices, and leading-edge knowledge.

Operations Management as a Career

To strengthen the position in the globally competitive market, where rules are re-written every second, companies are striving to improve productivity, quality, cost and supply chain cycle times while still maintaining supreme quality standards of products and services.

In this aggressive situation opportunities are opening up to create an identity in a variety of sectors such as product manufacturing and transportation industries that deliver goods as well as the service sector companies including banking, insurance and government agencies. The following is an illustrative list of sectors open for careers in Operations Management
· Manufacturing
· Retail
· Consulting Firms
· Financial Institutions
· Transportation and Logistics
· Construction
· Information Technology
· Hospitality
· Insurance

The specific areas where the Operations Management Students would find opportunities to contribute include
· Operations Planning, Scheduling and Control
· Purchasing and Materials Management
· Distribution and Supply Chain Management
· Customer Service Support
· Project Management
· Quality management
· Operations Process Consulting
· Forecasting
· Traffic Management
· Inventory Planning and Control
· Process and Methods Planning
· Plant Engineering Management
· Warehouse Management and Distribution
· Six Sigma
· Lean Manufacturing

OM Skills in demand:
· The ability to lead and manage business processes & utilize the power of technology for all business applications
· A comprehensive knowledge of Basic, user level and consulting level competency in ERP (SAP R/3 & SCM)
· Interpersonal skills that enhances the ability to work as part of a team, strong analysis and applied learning skills
· The ability to adapt to rapid change and the ambiguity that is created by change
· Developing planning, organizing and time management skills

In addition to these you should be able to
· Be sensitive to the of shifts in economic, technological and management trends
· Develop a matured vision to foresee the range of possibilities and a highly evolved imagination to create solutions
· Strike and confront newer challenges and be alert to adjustments required in new directions
· Develop a flexible approach towards making adjustments and being steadfast in the face of misunderstandings and mistakes
· Remain committed to the ambition that they have set out to achieve

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

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PMP® exam overview
The 9 Knowledge Areas from the PMBOK® Guide:
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- Scope Management
- Time Management
- Cost Management
- Quality Management
- Human Resources Management
- Communications Management
- Risk Management
- Procurement Management

Study tips
Exam day tips
The Project Management Framework
- Introduction to Project Management
- The Project Life Cycle
- The Project Management Processes

PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
Your Questions – Our Answers
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After you clicked the "Return to Merchant" button you will see the subscription form. Enter your name and email address. Now click the upper button that reads "iTunes Podcast - One Click Subscribe". (If you don't use iTunes, then click the lower button to manually add the podcast URL to your software.)

Episode Details

The Premium PrepCast™ offers over 35 hours of audio presentations in 89 episodes. The episodes closely follow the structure outlined in the PMBOK® Guide but include models, theories and formulas not covered in the Guide. No other online PMP® Workshop gives you such a vast number of episodes at our unbeatable price. Each Episode has a number that allows for easy sorting in your MP3 player. The episodes in which we discuss the Knowledge Areas from the PMBOK® Guide are numbered following the Guide's chapter numbers. For instance all episodes on Project Scope Management begin with the number 05.

# Number Episode Title
-- 00.00 Welcome
-- 00.01 Interview with Cornelius Fichtner, PMP
1 01.01 PMP Exam Overview
2 01.02 PMP Study Tips
3 01.03 The day of the exam
4 01.04 Introduction to Project Management
5 01.05 The PM Processes
6 01.06 The Project Life Cycle
7 01.07 The Role of the Project Manager
8 01.08 Overview of the Knowledge Areas
9 01.09 Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct
10 02.01 Interview with Arlene Trimble
11 02.02 Interview with Duncan McIntyre
12 02.03 Interview with Ron Holohan
13 03.01 Q&A 1
14 03.02 Q&A 2
15 04.00 Project Management Integration Overview
16 04.01 Develop Project Charter
17 04.02 Develop Preliminary Project Scope Statement
18 04.03 Develop Project Management Plan
19 04.04 Direct and Manage Project Execution
20 04.05 Monitor and Control Project Work
21 04.06 Integrated Change Control
22 04.07 Close Project
23 05.00 Project Scope Management Overview
24 05.01 Scope Planning
25 05.02 Scope Definition
26 05.03 Create WBS
27 05.04 Scope Verification
28 05.05 Scope Control
29 06.00 Project Time Management Overview
30 06.01 Activity Definition
31 06.02 Activity Sequencing
32 06.03 Activity Resources Estimating
33 06.04 Activity Duration Estimating
34 06.05 Schedule Development 1
35 06.06 Schedule Development 2
36 06.07 Schedule Control
37 07.00 Project Cost Management Overview
38 07.01 Cost Estimating Inputs
39 07.02 Cost Estimating Tools and Techniques
40 07.03 Cost Estimating Outputs
41 07.04 Cost Budgeting
42 07.05 Cost Control
43 07.06 Earned Value
44 07.07 A Bagful of Cost Terms
45 08.00 Project Quality Management Overview
46 08.01 Quality Planning
47 08.02 Perform Quality Assurance
48 08.03 Perform Quality Control Inputs and Outputs
49 08.04 Perform Quality Control Tools and Techniques
50 09.00 Project Human Resources Management Overview
51 09.01 Human Resource Planning Inputs
52 09.02 Human Resource Planning Tools and Techniques
53 09.03 Human Resource Planning Outputs
54 09.04 Acquire Project Team
55 09.05 Develop Project Team
56 09.06 Manage Project Team
57 09.07 HR Theory 1
58 09.08 HR Theory 2
59 10.00 Project Communications Management Overview
60 10.01 Communications Planning
61 10.02 Information Distribution
62 10.03 Performance Reporting
63 10.04 Manage Stakeholders
64 11.00 Project Risk Management Overview
65 11.01 Risk Management Planning
66 11.02 Risk Identification
67 11.03 Qualitative Risk Analysis
68 11.04 Quantitative Risk Analysis
69 11.05 Risk Response Planning
70 11.06 Risk Monitoring and Control
71 12.00 Project Procurement Management Overview
72 12.01 Plan Purchases and Acquisitions Inputs
73 12.02 Plan Purchases and Acquisitions Tools, Techniques and Outputs
74 12.03 Plan Contracting
75 12.04 Request Seller Responses
76 12.05 Select Sellers
77 12.06 Contract Administration
78 12.07 Contract Closure
79 80.01 Applied Concepts - Authority
80 80.02 Applied Concepts - Project Monitoring
81 80.03 Applied Concepts - Risk Attitudes
82 80.04 Applied Concepts - Team Development
83 80.05 Applied Concepts - The Communications Plan
84 80.06 Applied Concepts - The Value of Quality
85 80.07 Applied Concepts - Earned Value
86 80.08 Applied Concepts - Critical Chain
87 80.09 Applied Concepts - Virtual Team Management
88 80.10 Applied Concepts - Requirements Gathering
89 80.11 Applied Concepts - Culture Shock
-- 98.00 PMP Sample Exam Questions PDF Document

-- 99.00 How to take our Final Exam PDF Document

-- 99.99 Goodbye
The total size of all files is 2.1 gigabytes.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

How to Prepare for a Performance Appraisal

Performance appraisal should be treated as an ongoing developmental process rather than a formal once-a-year review. It should be closely monitored by both employee and reviewer to ensure that targets are being achieved. By preparing yourself diligently and demonstrating a willingness to co-operate with your reviewer to develop your role, you will create a positive impression.

To enable you to assess your own performance as objectively as possible, try to view it from your manager's perspective. Make sure you are conversant with the company's assessment policies and procedures. Study the performance appraisal documentation carefully. Go through it step by step, anticipating comments and preparing your responses.

Analyse your agreed performance targets. To what extent did you achieve them?

Consider your job description, your role within the organization, your duties and responsibilities.

Assess your performance in the light of the problems and frustrations you faced. Have you taken on any additional responsibilities or been involved in extra projects? How have you dealt with changes, innovations or unexpected problems? How does your work compare with that of your colleagues? Are there any ways in which can you increase your value to the organization?

Keep a detailed record of your work-related activities throughout the year. Specify your contributions and achievements, your difficulties and frustrations. Ensure that all relevant facts and figures are accurate and readily accessible. Collate the necessary documentary evidence to support your assertions, e.g. e-mails, memos, letters, press releases, newspaper articles, testimonials, etc.. Make a list of all conferences, seminars and training courses attended.

Be open and co-operative with your reviewer. Acknowledge problems, and deal positively and maturely with criticism. Avoid giving the impression that you are on the defensive.

Participate actively and enthusiastically in the appraisal. Listen attentively to everything your reviewer says. Aim for a positive and creative exchange of views.

Having considered your duties, responsibilities, goals and priorities beforehand, you will be in a better position to discuss them in an informed and objective manner. Ask for clarification if necessary.

If you are unhappy about targets or feel that they are unrealistic, say so sensitively.

By documenting your difficulties as and when you encounter them throughout the year you will be in a position during your appraisal to discuss them authoritatively and put them in the context of your overall contribution to the company. Stress how you have benefited from these experiences and have used the knowledge gained to improve your performance. Make constructive suggestions and, if necessary, ask for advice on how best to accomplish your targets.

In anticipation of your next appraisal, be sure to record and implement your reviewer's recommendations.

Think of ways in which you or your department could improve. If you are suggesting the provision of extra resources or specific training opportunities, stress the benefits that will accrue to the company.

From 'Four Minutes to Job Interview Success' published by Assignments Plus Business Publications

Friday, December 28, 2007

PRINCE2 TM Certification

Foundation & Practitioner Course

Bangalore: Jan 7 - 11, 2008 | Mumbai: Jan 14 - 18, 2008 | Delhi: Jan 21 - 25, 2008

Earn 35 PDUs


By undergoing the certification process and achieving a PRINCE2TM qualification you will have demonstrated your knowledge of the PRINCE2TM method to a recognised examined standard. This is important as many employers now wish to recruit candidates with specific skills in PRINCE2TM and are aware of the PRINCE2TM qualifications and what they mean in terms of PRINCE2TM competency.

Opportunities post PRINCE2TM

For individual project managers certification is becoming increasingly recognised as not just a nice to have but essential to demonstrate skills to prospective employers. In November 2005 a search on three major job websites revealed over 1,600 opportunities that specifically mentioned requirement for PRINCE2TM.

For existing project managers PRINCE2TM certification provides a means to formalise knowledge and to adopt an approach based on industry best practice. PRINCE2TM does not intend to replace activities you currently undertake but instead provides a structure for thinking about what aspects of current practice could be improved.

For those looking to make a move into project management, PRINCE2TM provides an excellent place to start. Through its process led approach, PRINCE2TM specifies the steps necessary to successfully run a project. Alongside PRINCE2TM defines the role and responsibility of each member of the project team and describes techniques to support the planning and running of a project. This all contributes to give those, new to managing projects, a comprehensive understanding of the role.

Why are organisations choosing PRINCE2TM to manage their projects?

More and more organisations are adopting PRINCE2TM to manage their projects. There are a number of reasons why this is happening:

Increasingly organisations recognise the importance of consistency in management of projects. PRINCE2TM as an open standard provides a common set of terminology to allow discussion of projects in a uniform way.

Rather than developing an expensive and time consuming in-house method. Organisations can adopt PRINCE2TM quickly and easily. PRINCE2TM can be easily customised and further developed as necessary.
PRINCE2TM provides the benefit of historical experience on numerous projects in all manners of industries.

By adopting PRINCE2TM, organisations ensure that their project teams are all communicating in a common language, thereby reduce confusion and misunderstandings. Individuals new to a project or organisations can get involved straight away and make an immediate contribution as they know the processes and steps that the project will follow.

Target Audience

The course is suitable for any organisation from any industry or individual seeing the need for a controlled approach to managing its projects, including: Project/ Programme Managers, Project Support, Team Members from any discipline.The PRINCE2TM method is flexible and adaptable for any type and size of project. It offers an excellent management foundation for any member of staff; no prior Project Management knowledge is necessary. "PRINCE2TM ensures the delivery of our accountabilities; its structured approach meets or exceeds customer requirements and business demands", Pam Trott, Project Development Manager, Cable & Wireless.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

APICS certifications

APICS offers three certification programs, Certified in Production and Inventory Management, Certified Supply Chain Professional, and Certified in Integrated Resource Management.

APICS certifications are recognized worldwide as standards of professional excellence and quality within the manufacturing and service industries.

Certified Supply Chain Professional
APICS has created a new industry certification—the Certified Supply Chain Professional designation—to meet the rapidly changing educational needs in the field of supply chain management.

Is APICS CSCP Right for You?

Earning an APICS certification can take you from a qualified candidate to a sought-after expert. Around the world, APICS certification designees are recognized, promoted, hired, and paid more.

Especially in today’s growing and changing supply chain management field, to maintain your competitive edge, you must continuously increase your knowledge, skills, and expertise. Stay competitive with the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional certification.

What is the APICS CSCP?

The APICS CSCP brings your company’s entire value chain into perspective. By giving you a truly end-to-end view of the supply chain, you become the expert, not just within your organization’s walls—you become the global expert.

From manufacturing to service, in business and consumer markets, the increasingly important role of effective supply chain management affects all organizations. Customer expectations are high—with the APICS CSCP, you can ensure that your company not only meets, but exceeds them.

What Do These People Have In Common?

Nick Testa, CFPIM, CIRM
Nick changed his career path from engineering to a management focus, establishing himself in the manufacturing community. As a vice president of operations, he increased company output by 50 percent. He has now started his own company, Acuity Consulting Inc. managing a staff of 10.

Mike Moody, CPIM, CSCP
Mike joined a Fortune 500 company and was promoted to purchasing manager. He later became director of materials and successfully reduced inventory, maintaining inventory accuracy. He initiated a formal cycle counting program at five plants, reducing the total days on hand from near 40 to the low 30s and still decreasing.

Maryanne Ross, CFPIM, CIRM, CSCP

Maryanne tripled her income due to APICS knowledge and networking opportunities. She changed her career path from material handling to a series of more advanced positions. She currently owns her own business.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Model Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance

Performance of employees and whole organizations is affected by the goals they set themselves. although the goal setting process is a tedious and complex one, the effort is not only worthwhile, but becoming essential in todays organizations.
Organizations introducing a goal-based management – also known as “Management by Objectives” – report performance increases of 25% or more. But there are bad examples as well.

The most important reasons for having goals are:

* Goals guide and direct behavior of individuals and groups
* Goals provide challenges and indicators for assessing the individual and whole groups
* Goals define the basis for the organizational design
* Goals serve an organizing functions.
* Goals reflect what management and employees find important

Goal setting is the process of developing, negotiating and establishing targets that challenge the individual.

Individuals and Organizations strive to achieve their goals, thereby if goals are set up correct, their performance should increase.

Ed Locke and Gary Graham developed a sophisticated model in their “theory of goal setting and task performance”, also known as “Goal Setting Theory” – developed / published in 1968 and 1990.

The basic idea ts that a goal serves as a motivator because it allows people to compare their current performance with that required to achieve the goal. To the extend they believe they will miss the goal, they feel dissatisfied and strive to improve their performance to meet it.

They describe different components and aspects in their motivation model

The Challenge

is defined through goal difficulty, goal clarity and self-efficacy
More difficult goals – as long as they are reachable – motivate more and avoid that one gets too lazy because the goal seems too easy to achieve. Unrealistically high goals are not accepted and have no effect on the performance of the individual.

Goals enhance performance by clarifying what type and level of performance is expected or required.

Self-Efficacy (Confidence) refers to the level of confidence that one feels about their ability to achieve their goal.


The moderators Ability, Goal Commitment, Feedback and Task Complexity represent the factors that moderate the strength of the relationship between the goals and the performance.

Ability describes the orientation of the individual towards the goals – either it’s a learning goal where he wants to acquire new competencies and learn from it or it’s performance oriented where he avoids placing himself in situations that could lead to a negative evaluation.

Goal commitment is enhanced when goals are public and when goals are self-set.

Feedback makes the goal setting and evaluation process dynamic as it must provide timely response to the individual. It enables him to evaluate himself in respect to his goals.

Task Complexity finally effects the direct relation most. Goals for more trivial tasks lead to a more effective performance, whereas for more complex tasks goals do not lead to direct performance increases – at least we cannot measure it that way.


The factors called “mediators” support the achievment of the individuals goals.

“Direction of attention” focusses on keeping the individual away (for the goal) irrelevant activities.

“Persistence” describes the duration the person is willing for work for the goal – the sustainability in reaching it’s goals.

The moderator “Effort” is the greater the more complex and the more difficult the goal ( in realistic boundaries) is.

Task Strategy is the way in which the individual approaches it’s tasks to approach the goal.


Performance is likely to be high when the challenging goals have been set, the moderators are present and the mediators are operating.

Rewards are important to keep an employee at the high performance level he reached. Theory says that the rewards can be external (money etc.) or internal (like feelings of success) – which more accurately referes to the resulting extrinsic or intrinsic motivation. The latter cannot be influenced by an employer directly.


The Locke-Latham model primary focusses on the employees satisfaction with his own performance.
Employees with too high goals may experience less satisfaction than others, that lower their goal. That does not mean a better performance at all.

Other factors like satisfaction with good working conditions, interesting colleagues etc are not discusses in detail, altough they seem to be the major component for many satisfactory situations for employees nowadays.

Sub-Summary for goal-setting

Goals affect people’s motivation because they have to develop plans to reach these goals and focus on goal-relevant actions mainly. It also spurts people to persist in their way, even when facing obstacles.


Goal setting has shown to improve performance, but can fail if

a) the employee lacks the skills to perform the actions necessary to achieve the goals

b) these actions need a considerable amount of learning, which increases the time and resources considerably needed to achieve the goals

c) the goal setting system is just misused (as every system can be misused) or leads to appraising the wrong behavior (like mis-use)

Team vs. Individual Goals

Setting goals and measuring performance against individuals is an expensive method which costs often outweighed the potential gain in productivity. Some cases even report of individuals of a company fighting private wars to reach their goals – with a totally negative effect on the overall company performance. A typical system misuse.

In such cases the development of team goals should be selected with rewards for achievement allocated among the team members on a predetermined-share basis. In general this utilizes what I call “team-dynamics” for the goals’ effect. Something that’s missed for individual goals.

JIMBOK: Jim Owens' PMP Exam Tips & Columns

Download Tips on each PMBOK chapter here