Operations management has been an important and crucial part of the efficient production of services and goods since around the American industrial revolution. Prior to industrialization, products and services were usually a matter of master craftsmen and managed through craft guilds and apprenticeships. The mass demand of rising population numbers, coupled with the high-volume production, required a new a way to further streamline the processes. In the simplest form, operations management war referred as the “American system of manufacturing” and revolved around the concept of using machines to build machines, all with parts that could be quickly changed an upgraded.
Over the following century, processes continued to become more mechanized eventually culminating into Henry Ford’s genius concept of an assembly line in the early twentieth century; which paved way for the second industrial revolution. Then, instead of mechanizing a single craft skill at a time, machines with specific, complex purposes could be strung together by conveyors. Production, however, was more complex than simply upgrading the machinery. It was about combining the new technology with a workforce of efficient and competent people to operate it and fill in the gaps where necessary. The concept of making this combination of personnel and automation mesh in the smoothest way possible needed an entirely revolutionary method of thinking.
The concepts that evolved into operations management software actually developed alongside mass production and began with Frederick Taylor who, in 1911 published a work outlining the principles of scientific management, which came to be known Taylorism. The next three decades lead to the further development of machine and workforce efficiency through mathematical formulas for maximized efficiency in production planning. These included not only formulae to adjust to supply and demand but also to determine the speed of production, primarily based on industry based on overall industry standard rather than local averages. The onset of digital computing and World War II would further evolve the methods.
Advancements in computing have moved optimization systems from a philosophical and mathematical enhancement of workforce and machinery to deep algorithmic processes that are, often, nearly flawless and based on statistics worldwide. These business management software systems influence nearly every part of an average person’s life. From the order in which the ingredients are stacked on a fast food sandwich to what route a delivery driver should take are calculated by computers using data from industrialized countries all over the world. The diversity of aspects that the software can manage has made it a necessary aspect to every major industry, and even smaller companies working on a global scale.
The diversity of the data available through worldwide connections and the extravagant calculating power of modern computers have made this software available for almost any business and the increased efficiency makes it a necessity for survival in modern capitalism. As technology continues to progress, humanity is looking at the human element being removed from a number of processes altogether, for the sake of efficiency. Operations management is the software brain behind the oncoming AI revolution.