Operations management is one of the most important parts of the functioning of any business. Its essence lies in the formation of the process of activity for the production of goods or services and further control over it. Moreover, this process includes operations to predict possible outcomes of activities. Thus, operations management is responsible for managing the lifecycle of the organization. This work examines this aspect in the activities of a company such as Tesco, analyzing its functioning strategy and possible difficulties in obtaining more information about the phenomenon under study. An effective tool for a better understanding of the topic under study can be a state-of-the-art review. More specifically, this paper will analyze such a concept as sustainable operations. This phenomenon requires consideration of the latest research in this scientific field. A state-of-the-art review, in this case, can assist in the analysis of current and new trends in sustainable operation.
This aspect requires special attention as more organizations are concerned about the issue of sustainability in the world. Therefore, they are increasingly showing interest in corporate social responsibility management and sustainable development in operations management. Companies resort to strict and consistent adherence to sustainability rules to ensure a better future for the next generation of people. Sustainability of operations is concerned with assessing an organization’s ability to maintain existing practices of maintaining existing resources. This topic is widely disclosed in a variety of sources, some of which served as the theoretical basis for this work.
Sustainability management of operations includes both environmental, social, and economic aspects that affect the company’s productivity. Thus, this topic is of particular relevance for the research. Kumar et al., in their work “Managing supply chains for sustainable operations,” consider the topic of sustainability in the modern world and the barriers that may arise during its implementation. The main source of difficulties is the era of Industry 4.0, in which the economy is currently developing in the world. Overcoming them will help companies to establish supply chains, thereby increasing their efficiency.
In the scientific work, the authors use an integrated approach, which includes the process of analytical hierarchy and elimination and choice, expressing reality. The main criteria derived for the methodology of sustainable development were identified as “the circulation of resources, an increase in profits from environmentally friendly products and the development of processes to increase resource and energy efficiency” (Kumar, Singh and Kumar, 2021). Among the barriers that may hinder the application of this aspect may be an insufficient number of qualified specialists, ineffective legislation and control, and a system of indicators. In addition, it should be mentioned that companies should have properly set and specially designed short-term corporate goals. This study is of particular value as it provides information on how organizations can overcome the barriers that arise in the era of Industry 4.0. Among them, it is noted to develop a comprehensive strategy that will be aimed at increasing the level of sustainability.
The following source, written by Gunasekaran and Subramanian, also examines the stability of operations through the prism of a large volume of data in the modern world. They argue that this problem is of particular relevance due to the acute issues of climate change, modern slavery, and big data (Gunasekaran and Subramanian, 2018). The authors consider the degree of implementation of the sustainability policy, analyzing companies’ strategies and operational management. Thus, they note positive dynamics in all the mentioned aspects; however, shortcomings are seen in such areas as types of processes, forecasting, and queuing. Moreover, the scientific work describes the importance of future research on this topic.
In the article “Sustainable global operations management,” the main goal is also to consider the relevance of the problem of sustainability of operations in companies. A valuable aspect of this work is to provide the basis and directions for future research. The authors emphasize the importance of deepening knowledge in the field of cost-effective, innovative production methods to achieve a sustainable society (Subramanian et al., 2017). A special place in this work is given to the process of globalization, which is important for all modern organizations. Moreover, it is noted that state-of-the-art literature on this topic still has some problems and requires profound refinement. The main disadvantage is the fact that research needs to provide more data on sustainable development and integration of global management of sustainable production operations.
The article by Atasu et al. is important for this scientific work as it analyzes research on sustainable operations management over a period of twenty years (2020). Therefore, the article provides a general picture of the current situation of the development of sustainable management of companies’ operations. Furthermore, the significant scientific influence of the conducted research on this problem in the modern world is proved.
Tesco was chosen for this scientific research in the context of operational management. It represents one of the largest British retailers that sell food and non-food products. The success of the organization is reflected in its group profit, which currently amounts to 53 billion pounds (“Our Business”, no date). Moreover, a large number of small and large stores and a high level of customer loyalty prove that Tesco offers an excellent combination of price and quality. The history of the company began more than a hundred years ago, and it was founded by Jack Cohen.
The selected company was analyzed for sustainable operations and how it supports the issue of sustainability in the modern world. Thus, it is important to note that the future of the population and the environment directly depends on the decisions taken by organizations. Moreover, companies must effectively adapt to current trends and thereby change their strategies and sustainability policies in time. Tesco emphasizes awareness of its role in society and for the environment and sets an example of practical actions. The retailer’s value also becomes the provision of assistance and assistance in preserving the planet’s resources and the ecosystem as a whole.
For these purposes, the company has developed the Little Helps program Plan to form and strengthen the organization’s initiatives for sustainable development and operations related to it. With this plan, the company monitors and improves the performance of operations and supply chains. Tesco identifies people, planet, products, and places as the main components of the Little Helps plan (Little Helps Plan, no date). In addition, in this process, the organization does not leave the issues of inclusivity, diversity, climate change, and poverty in countries.
Further, the company is making a lot of efforts to improve the sustainability problem. So, to contribute to the issue of climate change, Tesco is developing special commitments for a net zero level of emissions from its activities. This aspect includes the supply chains of the organization and the production of products. In addition, the company aims to develop a plan to achieve sustainable environmental goals in the near future. They include reducing emissions and providing general access to reporting on this type of operational activity of the business.
The main key performance factors in the company are sales, profit, cash flow, feedback from customers and employees, and partnership. These factors are used to carry out the management of the company’s performance and to evaluate the results obtained in the course of the activity. Thus, for this action, Tesco uses the Steering Wheel tool, which serves to increase productivity. This wheel presents all the activity’s key aspects, which are applied to each store of the company separately. Then, all data from them is sent to the main office, and performance evaluation and summing up of the necessary results are carried out. As a result, the company is given a complete overview of its functioning and the opportunity to make the necessary changes.
Two topics of operational management that would be analyzed in Tesco are planning, control, and capacity management and inventory management. As for the first one, the company pursues an efficient policy to regulate the activities of its divisions. Hence, with the help of this type of management, Tesco can plan and control the availability of products and services. Moreover, the organization pursues a policy of accounting and supervision of its activities’ technical and machine components (Jiang and Zhu, 2020). In addition, Tesco strictly monitors the number of staff in stores and their constant training.
Inventory management is also of particular importance for such a large retailer as Tesco. Thus, the company cooperates with a large number of different suppliers from different countries. Their supply chain starts with product manufacturers and ends with distributors who sell it (Singh and Verma, 2018). Moreover, the organization uses various analytical mechanisms to continuously assess and monitor the level of its supplies and stocks. The basis of inventory management is keeping records of stocks coming and going from stores.
One of the problems inherent in Tesco is the insufficiently high quality of its products. That is why, in order to advance this challenge, the organization should focus on increasing it. Since it is the largest retailer in the United Kingdom, customer feedback and satisfaction can greatly affect the company’s retention of its leading competitive position. To do this, it is necessary to conduct research not only on feedback from customers but also to attract specialists in testing manufactured goods. Moreover, it is also necessary to encourage employees to pay special attention to the things being sold and increase the profit of the organization.
Another challenge is the company’s slight lag in terms of human resources. This aspect is critical for any business since productivity and efficiency significantly depend on the work of employees. Thus, Tesco should focus on the training of existing personnel, and attract a greater number of qualified specialists to improve the management of human resources. Measures to address this issue may also include training to improve the workplace atmosphere and reduce problems such as discrimination, bullying, and misunderstanding in the workplace. Also, it should be added that the function of personnel management is to plan, develop and implement systems to improve the efficiency of the workforce and the organization.
The next factor that can become a barrier for the company may be economic. This is also due to the constantly changing market for the sale of goods and services. That is why a business should be able to quickly and effectively adapt to changing conditions and be able to correctly transform its strategy to maintain competitiveness. Moreover, it is necessary to monitor and control various economic internal and external factors. Tesco’s food activities must have control of these indicators in order to survive in difficult economic conditions. Tesco’s economic problem can also be attributed to the high level of financial debt. Due to the global expansion of the company, a significant amount was required, which it now has to repay. That is why it is of particular importance for it to increase its profit level in order to get rid of debt and continue its successful operation. Tesco’s biggest weakness is the increase in its debt.
The last but the most important challenge is to optimize processes using technological innovations. The company appeals to technologies such as contactless payment for purchases, self-service stores, and the introduction of specialized offers to improve the customer experience. However, in order to continue their effective use, the organization must constantly monitor this area. To do this, it is also necessary to attract qualified workers who will ensure the work of this area without possible interruptions and complications. Moreover, business needs to constantly plan and adapt strategies for new possible advanced technologies.
Reflection on Simulation Game SodaPop
The SodaPop game is an effective simulator of the product sales process. Berenji and Najmi state that “participating in this simulation game improves students’ conceptual and procedural knowledge” (2021, p. 179). It is useful for getting acquainted with how the functioning of companies that work in this field takes place. In this game, first of all, it is necessary to determine the price per unit of the product offered. Then, game contracts were contaminated, demand creation for employees and consideration of possible conditions, and the sale of goods was made. The strong side, worth noting, is that rather difficult information for perception is presented in an exciting form, making the learning process easier. This game contains such aspects of the functioning of firms as operational management and inventory management.
In the game, participants are given the opportunity to manage a water production factory. To manage this process, the team used elements of operational management in the strategy, for example, inventory control. First of all, a decision was also made to determine the size of the order received, to establish the amount of equipment necessary for the successful sale of the goods and to obtain maximum profit, and to decide whether to accept or reject the orders. It is important to note that in the course of work, the team came to the conclusion that all the decisions made have an impact on the further stages of work and are in close communication.
In addition, evaluating the actions of the team, it should be mentioned that SodaPop was an easy game to play, but still, it strongly interested all participants. The only aspect that I would change in performing this task can be called time management. Hence, too much time was spent on quite unimportant parts of the work, for example, installing the amount of product needed on a monthly basis. Another recommendation may be to use more content of the course within the team. This is due to the fact that at the very beginning, the participants experienced a little confusion, as some felt that the allocated time might not be enough.
Moreover, various variables were used in inventory management, which depended on the characteristics of the items produced. Furthermore, as part of the applied strategy, it was decided to produce goods only if an order for it was placed directly. Thus, we have the opportunity to postpone some orders and focus on fulfilling others. In addition, the basic strategy was to use the data needed in the Soda Pop game to optimize the operations performed and calculate the expected future profit. All the necessary information was collected and systematized for a better understanding of it, and the parameters set as a result of modeling were taken into account.
Therefore, this research paper dealt with the consideration of operational management. Moreover, special attention was paid to sustainable management and how much it affects business performance. Then, taking into account the information received, the operational activities of such a large retailer as Tesco were analyzed. The main aspects of its functioning and possible challenges that the organization may face were identified. In the end, a reflection on the Soda Pop game was held, aimed at showing the application of operational management in practice.
Atasu, A., Corbett, C.J., Huang, X. and Toktay, L.B. (2020) ‘Sustainable operations management through the perspective of manufacturing & service operations management’, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 22(1), pp. 146-157.
Berenji, H.R. and Najmi, H. (2021) ‘Game-based pedagogy in operations management: impact of playing a simulation game and providing feedback on students’ knowledge’, International Journal of Information and Operations Management Education, 7(2), pp. 179-209.
Choi, T.M., Wallace, S.W. and Wang, Y. (2018) ‘Big data analytics in operations management’, Production and Operations Management, 27(10), pp. 1868-1883.
Gunasekaran, A. and Subramanian, N. (2018) ‘Sustainable operations modeling and data analytics’, Computers & Operations Research, 89, pp. 163-167.
Jiang, C. and Zhu, X. (2020) ‘Reinforcement learning based capacity management in multi-layer satellite networks’, IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, 19(7), pp. 4685-4699.
Kumar, P., Singh, R.K. and Kumar, V. (2021) ‘Managing supply chains for sustainable operations in the era of industry 4.0 and circular economy: Analysis of barriers’, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 164, p. 105215.
Little Helps Plan (no date) Web.
Our Business (no date) Web.
Singh, Deepesh, and Ajay Verma. (2018) ‘Inventory management in supply chain’, Materials Today: Proceedings, 5(2), pp. 3867-3872.
Subramanian, N., Gunasekaran, A., Jabbour, C.J.C., Yusuf, Y. and Azapagic, A. (2017) ‘Sustainable global operations management and frugal innovative sustainable production methods: Advancing theory and practice for a truly sustainable society’, Sustainable Production and Consumption, 11, pp. 1-4.