Why Is Sustainable Operations Management Important?

By Tony Steigelman

Every individual, every economic enterprise, every government, every educational institution and every organization performs ‘operations’.  These operations may have different names: processes, transactions, workflows, production lines, curricula, cooking, serving, writing, presenting, accounting, or working.  But they all have certain common characteristics: they all have input, they all transform the inputs through different means and they all have output.  The processes and operations use resources.

These operations are created, implemented, managed, improved, and in some cases re-engineered and eventually replaced.  Businesses create new operations to launch a new product or service; they look into ways to reduce waste and lower resource use as a means to gain efficiencies and improve the economic health of the organization. They use quality indicators and other measures embedded within the process or operation to evaluate whether the product or service meets the expected value for the customer and is safe for the environment.

Sustainable Operations Management investigates how processes and operations cross organizational lines and hierarchies to “execute” the strategy of an enterprise and delves into the methods of operations creation, implementation, control, improvement and re-engineering. Managers at every level must understand how their area of responsibility operates in order to support the enterprise goals, and be able to recommend or affect change. They also need the skills and tool-set to affect that change (!)

Numerous reports, interviews and publications show that operation and supply-chain management has moved to a “core competency” at companies across industries, and experts in this area are hard to find…Understanding the role of supply chain management and the need to eliminate waste to reduce costs and support the environment, researching ways for improvement through technology and innovation, as well as establishing the necessary metrics and data to provide adequate controls … all these and other important issues are discussed within the Sustainable Business Operations Management course.

Tony Steigelman has over thirty-eight years of professional, managerial and leadership experience in the areas of logistics operations, financial and controller operations. As a U.S. Naval Officer, Tony was responsible for the complete logistics in support of 6000 Sailors and over 100 aircraft. His last assignment was Director of Logistics for the U.S. Naval Construction Forces. Additionally, he had served as Vice-President of Engineering and Logistics and Director of Programs for defense contract companies in the local area. Presently, Mr. Steigelman is Chairman of the Board of CBC Federal Credit Union, a $400 million financial enterprise. Tony Steigelman teaches a course on sustainable business operations management for the MBA Sustainable Business professional track at the School of Management.

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