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Introduction - Operations Management
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Operations management is the area of management that is used by various organizations to enhance their designing and controlling of the processes of the production. This is also used by organizations for enhancing their business operations for improving their products or services for the present and potential customers. The chosen organization for this report is "Ali Mousa and Sons Contracting" which is one of the leading contracting establishments in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The organization was established in the year 1978 and the last 40 years the organization has been very progressive and participated in the construction of various federal or government projects. Ali Mousa and sons contracting is a reputed organization in the construction sector in UAE and is famous for its high-quality execution of projects. the organization takes culture and value as its operation principle and follows the cultural ideology of its founding father the late Sheikh Zayed (ams.ae, 2021). This is the main reason behind the organization’s presence in government projects for providing them with quality execution of the social projects.
Developing competitive priorities and development of the products and services are the two operating strategies that are being used by Ali Mousa and sons contracting This organization looks for the development of the corporate strategies with the help of the market analysis, analyses the core efficiency and tries to achieve the needs of the customers at a reasonable price with great quality. This helps the organization to develop competitive advantages in the market. Innovation and added values are two of the biggest qualities for the organization in this fast-growing world this is the main reason Ali Mousa and sons contracting focuses on new and innovative design approaches and for developing unique construction establishments for the customers (ams.ae, 2021). The highly experienced research department of the organization always focuses on new innovative designing techniques which will enhance the quality of the establishment and help the organization to finish the project at a decent speed. The application of Building Information Modeling is one of the recent developments in the construction sector which helps the organization to develop and design the construction establishment in the most effective way. The biggest advantage of using this software is that the additional support to develop innovative designs with quality finishing and fast execution of the project.
More than 200 managers, over 1500 technicians and supervisors, over 2000 skilled laborers, over 655 machineries and 250 qualifies machine operators and over 30 crane towers provide the organization with the required amount of support through which they manage the transformation process effectively. All these assets help them to convert the raw material inputs into good quality output. Warehouse storage of 5250SQM and various software application provides Ali Mousa and sons contracting with the best amount of advanced support for managing the transformation processes providing a competitive advantage to the organization (ams.ae, 2021). One of the major challenges which the organization is presently facing with their operations management is with the use of the software. As senior managers and contractors use particular software for their working operations and asked their supervisors or technicians to use the same on the other hand different managers at higher level use different software for managing the operations and the multiple project environment makes the supervisors work under multiple managers and contractors. This is the main reason they lack knowledge is observed in the technicians as it is very difficult to have decent knowledge about every software. This complication in the management pattern is one of the major challenges the organization is facing in recent times.
Review of the operations strategy
Developing competitive priorities and developing the products and services are the two operational strategies that are used by Ali Mousa and Sons contracting. These two strategies provide the organization with the opportunity to stay at the top in this vastly developing and competitive market environment and also provide the organization to present their innovative and unique products to the customers. This organization has been one of the most important parts of the government's development initiative and this is the reason Ali Mousa and sons contracting has prepared numerous government, private, and commercial construction establishments. In recent times it is observed that organizations use various software to manage their projects starting from developing the design to managing the operations depending on the schedule which helps them to maintain the perfection in closing the project with good quality (Ng, et al. 2018). To analyze the competitive need of the market and develop a competitive advantage over other leading organizations Ali Mousa and sons contracting can use Porter’s diamond framework which can provide the organization with the idea about the needs and requirements of all the sectors which can help the organization to gain competitive success over other organizations.
Use of Porter’s Diamond Framework
Ali Mousa and sons contracting uses Porter's diamond framework to analyze and work according to different determinants which determine the competitive advantage of the organization in the current market. This framework is very effective for the organization in terms of addressing all the challenges that the organization is facing and provides both short-term and long solutions for the issues (Vlados, 2019).
The first determinant is the "Factor conditions" which cover all the factors like the human physical and knowledge resources which are very essential for an organization working in the construction sector. This framework helped the organization to understand the current issue the organization is facing related to the software which is decaying the efficiency of the organization. The organization decided to develop a structure where the supervisors are allowed to use the type of software they are comfortable with, to provide the desired results. This is a short-term solution to the issue the organization is facing in recent times.
Second, "Demand conditions" provide the size, structure, and demands of the local market about the products and services. As it is observed that in recent times the local public and supporting the modular interior and exterior designs for private and commercial uses and for developing such establishments the organization needs to use various techniques and digital technologies. This is an essential aspect that helps in achieving a competitive advantage in the market.
The third determinant of this framework is the “related and the supporting industries” that are subjected to provide the raw and fine materials to the organization for conducting the construction project (Vlados, 2019). To gain a competitive advantage over the other organizations it is very essential to provide the customers with the product at a feasible price with good quality and this the reason supporting industries are considered as very essential as they provide Ali Mousa and sons contracting with the fine raw materials at a cheaper rate. Due to this the organization can spend less amount of money on construction and makes it very easier for the organization to provide the products to the customers at a feasible price.
“Firm strategy, structure and rivalry” is the fourth determinant that helps the organization to reduce the challenges the organization is facing and gain competitive advantages over the other organizations. This framework helped Ali Mousa and sons contracting to analyze the strategies and structures used by other firms in the market and develop effective strategies to counter such structures to attain a competitive advantage over other organizations. This framework provides the organization with new and innovative ideas for effective management practices and enhances the project management skills (Ng, et al. 2018). The R&D department of the organization plays a major role in the development of the competitive practices of the organization.
To reduce the impact of the challenges the organization is facing in recent times they are using the diamond framework for analyzing the internal and external factors responsible for such actions. The lack of knowledge about all the designing and managing software among the employees is the recent challenge the organization is facing and to have a long-term solution the organization decided to change the working structure as observed in the Turkish construction industry. Turkish organizations use the diamond framework for analyzing the internal and external factors which affect the organizations and developed changed work structures that helped them to reduce the impact of this issue for a longer period (Öz, 2019). The internal factors like the employees and the management structure of the organization and the external factors like the technology and the client demands are the factors that influenced the organization's actions. Ali Mousa and sons' contracting changed their management structure for a long-term solution to the issue. They developed teams comprising similar attributes related to the use of software and also developed training sessions for the supervisors and managers by the HRM department of the organization which will help them to enhance the knowledge about different software. This will increase the amount of fluidity among the employees and will be easier for the supervisors and managers to attain the change which will also increase the efficiency of the organization.
Supply chain management
The supply chain is considered as the network of the organizations which includes the suppliers of the suppliers and the clients of the clients. Supply chain management (SCM) includes managing all the processes starting from the project initiation till the project delivery. In this rapidly developing world, an organization needs to manage the supply chain effectively as this will help them to gain competitive advantages in the market (Ahmed et al. 2019). SCM is the philosophy that guides the organization to manage their supply chains which is very essential for gaining strategic advantages. Ali Mousa and sons' contracting believes that SCM helps them to synchronize the needs and requirements of the clients with the materials and the flow of information as this will help them to reach client satisfaction along with the cost-effectiveness (ams.ae, 2021).
The application of supply chain management has been very successful for the organization because of the achievement of the expected benefits in the market. Cost reduction, competitive advantages, improvement in the production rate, value creation, and improving the relationship with the clients and several other parties (Qi et al. 2017). These are some of the benefits Ali Mousa and sons contracting has observed in their working operations after the application of the SCM. It is considered as a supporting arm for the operations strategy for the organization in the present market scenario like any other business. Construction is a complex process that is strongly fragmented due to the lack of integration among the internal and external suppliers, designers, contractors, sub-contractors, and the customers of the organization and this is one of the main reasons SCM is considered very effective for organizations operating in the construction sector. Ali Mousa and sons contracting uses supply chain management to leverage the internal relationships, relationship with the suppliers of the organization, and relationship with the customers. Three of the main reasons behind using the SCM as an integral part of the operations strategy are as follows:
- To enhance the relationship with the suppliers for reducing the cost of the raw materials and delivery options.
- SCM helps to enhance the relationship to get the appropriate value from the partner. This helps the organization sometimes to get complimentary core competencies (Russo and Marsogo, 2019).
- This is used by the organization to establish a long-term relationship with the partners to create synergetic value.
Three SCM strategies that can contribute to Ali Mousa and son contracting's (AMS) success and profit
The supply chain strategies are very essential for AMS in this rapidly changing market environment and as an integral part of the world trade, UAE is a profitable market for various international organizations. Due to this, the organizations will face market threats from the new entrants and this is one of the main reasons the supply chain strategies are used. Three of the SCM strategies which are used by AMS as a part of their operations management are as follows:
1. To adopt the demand-driven planning and business operating model strategy as this will help the organization to analyze the real-time demands and the demand shaping (Chi, et al. 2020). The addition of various powerful digital tools like Artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of things (IoT) has provided the organization to SCM actions quickly and as well as it manages the supply chain based on the real-time information which is very effective for matching the demand effectively. This is one of the most effective strategies for developing a new level of the predictive capacity and accuracy of the planning very much earlier for an accurate approach. In recent times it is observed that this strategy provides the organization with an improved delivery performance which is very effective for increasing the revenue of the organization (Miclo et al. 2019). With the help of this strategy, the organization would be able to cut the cost of several data handling and logistics, as well as the utilization of the assets, which has been increased at a rapid speed.
2. Rapid planning and integrated production strategy is another SCM strategy that can be used by Ali Mousa and son contracting for enhancing the success and profit of the organization. In recent times it is observed that agility is one of the major players in supply chain management as it provides the organizations with greater operational speeds and flexibility (Sankaran et al. 2017). The main issue which the organization is the availability of the various data and analytical tools which can integrate the planning with the execution in real-time and this is one of the main reasons the use of building information modeling (BIM) has been very effectively used by the organizations for integrating the planning and production. This platform links the financial and material planning with the execution of the business operations like the manufacturing and management of the inventory. For example, Pinnacle construction has effectively used this strategy for the development of the football stadiums in Russia for conducting the FIFA world-cup 2018. This strategy helped them to align the planning and execution which matched the real-time needs at the same time.
3. Optimizing the product design and management of the supply chain strategy is the third strategy that can be sued by the organization for achieving better and profitable results for the organization. Product designing and management of the supply chain are earlier operated differently whereas this strategy indicates the integration of both the processes together (Ivanov et al. 2017). Merging both designing teams with the supply-chain planners provide the organization with an effective amount of results in less amount of time. This strategy is very effective for the organization as it reduces the scraps and chances of rework and increases the chances of accuracy at a faster speed. Therefore, provides the customers with their desired product at a cheaper rate and on-time delivery. For example, presently in India, this strategy is used by Tata constructions which are handling several government development projects. These customers of the organization are asked to provide the desired product to the customers within a time-limit which makes it very difficult for the organization to finish the project if both the processes are carried out differently (Sathish and Jayaprakash, 2017). Therefore, using this strategy provided Tata construction with the exposure to finish the project on time and achieve the needs of the customers.
These are the main three SCM strategies that can be used by Ali Mousa and son contracting for achieving better results and gain profit in the market as well as gain a competitive advantage over other organizations.
Quality management and its approaches
Ali Mousa and son contracting (AMC) believes that quality is something that happens automatically, it is needed to be planned and enforced effectively. The quality management system of AMC is developed and accumulated based on the ISO guidelines which help the organization to achieve the objectives of the quality assurance and maintain all the standards. AMC provides their clients with the best quality products which are developed using the ISO 9001 quality management system. The quality management approach of AMC shows that the establishments which are difficult to built are mostly because of the issues in the quality (Aquilani et al. 2017). AMC uses the approaches of total quality management which helps them to develop the desired products for the customers. Various other business organizations use the total quality management approaches on the other hand these approaches are not very popular among construction organizations. For example, Balfour Beatty is one of the leading construction organizations in the UK using these total quality management approaches to serve the newly developed construction moto of the organization which states that "right at the first time". this approach has integrated the workers and the managers at a single working platform and helps them to reduce the wastage of time due to the lack of flow of information.
- Just in time approach: With the help of this approach AMC reduces the inventory buffers of the organization. This is used for managing the raw materials and work-in-progress and provides the organization with the opportunity to provide the finished goods with accurate quality in the desired timeline decided during the finalization of the project (Nikohosyan and Litvinenko, 2019).
- Quality circles: This approach helps the organization to cut the authority buffers of the organization by providing the employees of the organization with the authority to resolve the issue and develop the most effective solution by themselves without waiting for the senior officials to come and resolve the issue as it becomes very time taking and delays the delivery of the construction to the clients.
- Total Quality control: This approach is very effective for the organization as it helps them to cut the departmental costs by integrating all the employees starting from the workers and to the managers of the organization with a cross-functional process. As observed in the organizational processes of Balfour Beatty, these integrated efforts of the workers, managers, and the top-level management of the organization help them to enhance the performance at every level of the organization (www.balfourbeatty.com, 2021).
- Process deployment automation: Process deployment automation is a quality management approach that helps the organization automate the process engineering across the organization (Wang, et al. 2021). Different automation software is used for managing the deployment of the planned processes so that the progress of the work can start and finish according to the schedule in the given timeline. This also helps the organization to manage the workers and their workload based on the working operations.
Quality management tools
Several offline and online quality management tools are used by several organizations across the globe in the construction sector. Some of the quality management tools which can be used by Ali Mousa and son contracting (AMC) which can contribute towards organizational success and profit and make it a leaner organization. Some of the tools are listed below:
- Kaizen, six sigma, and EFQM excellence model are three of the offline quality management tools which can contribute towards the success of the organization.
- BIM, Epromis system, Primavera, CUG system, and Microsoft office products and services are the online quality management tools that can participate in the growth of the organization (Sartor and Orzes, 2019).
Kaizen: Kaizen is a Japanese term that is used for continuous improvement in all the different domains of the organization which helps to enhance their performance at every level of the organization. With the help of these quality management tools, the organization includes all the levels of the employees and seeks their suggestions related to the development of the organization (Basu, 2017). These suggestions can have positive impacts on the organization and reduce the amount of wastage. For example, in India, the Gujrat government provided 80 of their chosen construction engineers with the kaizen training through which they were trained to analyze the importance of continuous development specifically in the field of construction (Omotayo et al. 2020).
Six Sigma: This is a quality management tool that helps the organization attain a low defect rate for the organization and achieve low error rates. Ali Mousa and son contracting can use statistical process control to monitor and scheduling of the processes as this will help them to reduce the number of faults. This is very essential for increasing the effectiveness of the organization (Linde and Philippov, 2020).
EFQM Excellence model: This framework for the management system was developed by the European foundations to manage the quality of the products or services for the clients effectively. this is an effective framework as it provides the organization with the opportunity to analyze their performance and integrate all the existing tools and processes to achieve better and profitable results (H?d?ro?lu, 2019). This makes continuous improvement one of the most important factors of this model and the organizations are needed to maintain the actions which are driving positive and profitable results of the organization.
BIM: Building information modeling (BIM) is an effective online quality management tool that provides effective results to the organization. AMC is using these quality management tools for managing and maintaining their operations and quality of the product (Oraee et al. 2017). This tool manages the scheduling of the project and manages the workload of the managers to provide the finished establishment to the customers with a real-time approach. this is the reason is considered as one of the most effective quality management tools which can bring the premier success to the organization. In recent times most of the leading construction organizations are using the BIM application for managing and maintaining their construction projects. For example, in the UK for developing good quality commercial buildings which are equipped with highly developed technology are designed using BIM and the execution, as well as the delivery of the project, has been initiated by Balfour Beatty with the help of this BIM application. This shows that BIM is highly reliable with fewer chances of flaws which reduces the chances of rework and especially in the construction sector it is needed to be avoided. This is the reason BIM is considered as one of the most effective quality management for Ali Mousa and son contracting for future results.
Primavera: Primavera is a recently developed online quality management tool that provides an organization with project, program, and portfolio management support. This is one of the most effective tools which is also very easy to use for planning, managing, and executing the project operations (Nalawade et al. 2019). This tool is used for managing large capital projects mostly because of its ability to manage everything simply due to which it becomes easier for the workers and the managers to work according to it.
Influence of Artificial intelligence (AI) for the enhancement of the business
In recent times it has been observed that AI has been the most impactful addition to the nosiness operations, especially in the construction sector. The AI has been able to increase the efficiency of the organizations throughout the entire value chain of the organization starting from the building materials to the construction and the facility management of the building (Bag et al. 2021). The big data-driven platform of AI provides the organizations with the opportunity to use the online clouds for data storage which reduced the inventory cost of the organization. With the help of this data-driven approach, AMC can develop sensors that can inform the staff members regarding the safety hazards or requirement of the repairment which will provide the organization with the opportunity to provide one person for the checking and resolving the issue. The high exposure to automation is the biggest business exposure that the organization can get with the help of AI. This can provide the organization with the opportunity to reduce the chances of flaws and on-time execution of all the programs for effectively completing the projects. AI can be used for managing almost 70% of the organizational tasks starting from retail and sales to market analysis. For example, Ali Mousa and son contracting are using AI for designing the 3D building models which are very effective for the organization to reduce the time of designing and planning for the engineers.
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