As Wild (2002) outlines the major task of operations management is to effectively use physical resources – materials, machines, and labor. In the case of Airbus, the operations systems involved are those of manufacturing, transport, supply, and service. Furthermore, the major problem of the company can be defined as lack of proper management of the manufacturing system. Therefore, this particular area of organization’ s functioning should be examined deeper. The process of designing and producing A3809 passenger jet of Airbus was, according to Slack, Chambers, and Johnstone (2010), was very complex for two reasons.
First of all, A3809 was the largest and most complex passenger jet ever made in the world. Secondly, the work on the jet was being conducted at two places - French and German plants of the company. Since the work was divided between two, in some sense, competing groups of employees, lack of integration between them caused major problems with the manufacturing process. Another important aspect of the company’ s work was its information systems used for completing engineering tasks. The two groups of designers used incompatible software to design the wiring for the airplanes.
This caused great time delays and, consequently, financial losses of the company. In addition, the overall structure of the company is segmented and, therefore, believed by some not to be effective enough as for such a large company. Therefore, the way in which Airbus managed its resources can be said to lower, instead of increasing, productivity. Since productivity is “ endeavor to produce more and more with less and fewer inputs of resources” (Roy, 2007,2), it can conclude that inefficient operations management practices and decisions of Airbus caused the inefficiency, as a ratio of outputs to inputs, of the new jet’ s development project.
As for the systems management, though among the purposes of information systems are automation and, thus, optimization certain aspects of operations management, in case of Airbus they have only been preventing the company from creating the airplane faster.
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