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Operations Management

Course CodeVBS201
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to better manage operations of organisations

Operations management involves planning, executing and controlling the activities of a business or any other type of enterprise.
This course provides fundamental training for anyone involved in any or all of these things; and at any level of management.

Course Structure and Content

There are 9 lessons in this course:

1. The Economic Environment

  • The world of economics
  • Scarcity
  • Opportunity costs
  • Goods
  • Definitions
  • Economic systems
  • Economic ownership
  • Performance criteria for an economy
  • Other economic performance indicators
  • Basic economic principles
  • Law of demand
  • Law of Substitution
  • Law of diminishing return
  • Law of diminished marginal utility
  • Competition
  • Sustainability
  • Total Quality Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Creating a strategic plan

2. External Influences

  • Monopoly
  • Monopolistic Competition
  • Oligopoly
  • Perfect competition
  • External Influences
  • International markets and trade-able commodities
  • Globalisation
  • Supply and demand
  • Market forces
  • Demand
  • Supply
  • Elasticity
  • Economics of scale
  • Cost structures
  • Liquidity

3. Information Management

  • Scope and nature of office work
  • Functions of an office
  • Common jobs in an office: reception, clerical, secretarial, information processing
  • Departments within an organisation
  • Office processes
  • Data knowledge, storage and management
  • Filing systems
  • Classifying information
  • Hard copy
  • Filing procedure
  • Data protection
  • Financial records
  • Books needed in business
  • Different ways to approach bookkeeping
  • Steps in the bookkeeping process
  • Developing a record keeping and accounting system
  • Flow of information
  • Financial reports
  • Ledger
  • Journal
  • Source documents
  • Cash transactions
  • Credit transactions
  • Returns and allowances
  • Other business documents
  • Use of business documents
  • The cash book
  • Credit sales and credit purchases journal
  • The general journal
  • The ledger
  • A trial balance
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Petty cash

4. Strategic Planning

  • Strategic planning
  • Documenting the strategy
  • Operational planning
  • Documenting an operational plan
  • Key components of a business plan
  • SWOT analysis
  • A planning procedure
  • Decisions
  • What to plan for
  • Finance
  • Structure for a Financial plan
  • Developing a budget
  • Structure for a marketing plan
  • Plan drawing

5. Implementing Strategies

  • Implementing strategy
  • Benchmarking
  • Reviewing strategy and strategy management
  • Environmental audits
  • Key elements of EIA
  • Steps in an environmental assessment process
  • Study design
  • Baseline studies
  • Predicting impacts
  • Mitigation measures
  • Flora and fauna assessment
  • Open space management plan
  • Rehabilitation plan

6. Developing a Business Plan

  • Business planning
  • Case study: nursery development plan
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • PBL project to formulate criteria required for the successful implementation of a business proposal to develop a business plan.

7. Business Control Systems

  • Financial statements
  • The balance sheet
  • Classification in the balance sheet
  • Working capital
  • Profit and loss statement
  • Link between profit and balance sheet
  • Depreciation of assets
  • Analysis and interpretation of accounting reports
  • Analytical ratios
  • Ratio yardsticks
  • Profitability ratios
  • Operating efficiency ratios
  • Efficiency ratios and profitability
  • Liquidity ratios
  • Liquidity analysis and cash budgeting
  • Financial stability ratios
  • Gearing rate of return on investment
  • Limitations to ratio analysis
  • Risk
  • Risk analysis
  • Contingency planning
  • Business systems
  • Quality systems
  • Innovation management
  • PERT (Program evaluation and review)
  • CPA (Critical path analysis)
  • GNATT Charts Fastest and slowest completion times
  • Business expansion and sources of finance
  • Record keeping

8. Evaluating Marketing

  • Introduction
  • Market research
  • The marketing mix
  • Marketing planning
  • Services marketing
  • Customer service
  • Buying, selling and decision making
  • Different heuristics
  • Decision making process
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Goodwill 

9. Marketing Strategies

  • Target markets and market segmentation
  • Targeting strategies
  • Defining your target market
  • Determining market segmentation
  • Projecting the future
  • Positioning
  • Case study
  • The business portfolio

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Explain the economic environment in which business operates.
  • Appraise the impact of external influences.
  • Establish the type of information required for operations in both commercial businesses and service organisations.
  • Examine the process and analyse approaches to strategic planning.
  • Examine the process and analyse approaches to strategy formation and implementation.
  • Prepare a business plan.
  • Assess the importance of business control systems utilising IT integration into financial management; prepare, read and interpret annual statements, appreciate the importance of budgetary control.
  • Identify the benefits involved when preparing marketing plans; analyse organisational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • Formulate customer-orientated and realisable strategies for selected markets

Understanding Economics and Business is the Starting Point
The business world is a world of economics. 
The study of economics teaches us about the relationships between buying and selling goods and services. Through an understanding of this relationship a businessperson is able to make decisions about what they should offer for sale, how much of it they should aim to sell and how much they should sell it for. Economics therefore is concerned with demand and supply - efforts to meet unlimited demand for goods and services with limited resources. 
People have an endless list of wants, but because we have a limited source of goods and services (i.e. due to scarcity) we can't have everything we want. Wants differ to needs. Needs are the basic requirements for survival such as food, water and shelter. In today’s world there are often distorted lines between wants and needs, for example many people would now consider a computer a need. 
Scarcity is a fundamental economic problem facing all societies and the governments that administer them. A nation has two factors available to it in dealing with the issue of scarcity: production and resources. The role of the economic system is to combine resources to satisfy or partly satisfy human wants and it is the efficiency with which these factors are used that determines a nation’s success. 
Economic Resources
Resources are traditionally divided into three groups:
  1. Land: all natural resources, soil and the productive capacity which can be extracted from it.
  2. Labour: human effort of all types; mental as well as physical labour. (Note: not all labour is equally productive; different people have different amounts of human resource.)
  3. Capital: the total of man made resources = capital (includes buildings, equipment etc.)
A new approach is to also add intellectualism and entrepreneurship to the above three groups. 
Economics attempts to answer the following:
  • What should be produced in an economy?
  • How it should be produced (what methods should be used?)
  • Who should receive the output of goods and services produced?
  • Where should production take place?
  • When should production take place?
Distribution can be controlled by government and services may be evenly or unevenly distributed i.e. different people purchase more than others because they earn more. Goods and services used can be restricted by manipulation of price levels.

Meet some of our academics

Sarah RedmanB.Bus (Marketing), Cert Bus.Admin Over 15 years industry experience covering marketing, PR, administration, event management and training, both in private enterprise and government; in Australia and the UK. Sarah has traveled extensively and enjoys cooking and outdoor pursuits.
David CrothersChartered Accountant with 20 years experience in corporate and financial roles. David has a FCA, GAICD, B.Sc.Econ (Hons), Cert IV TAA. Extensive international experience in business and finance.
Denise Hodges Promotions Manager for ABC retail, Fitness Programmer/Instructor, Small Business Owner, Marketing Coordinator (Laserpoint). Over 20 years varied experienced in business and marketing. More recently Denise studied naturopathy to share her passion for health and wellness. Denise has an Adv.Dip.Bus., Dip. Clothing Design, Adv.Dip.Naturopathy (completing).
Kate GibsonKate has 12 years experience as a marketing advisor and experience as a project manager. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including London, New Zealand and Australia. Kate has a B.Soc.Sc, Post-Grad. Dip. Org Behaviour (HR).

Check out our eBooks

Business OperationsExplore how to improve the management and profitability of an existing business. Businesses do not run themselves - goals need to be set and decisions need to be made in order to achieve business goals. This book talks you through all of the different aspects involved in running a business from finance and forecasting to staffing changes and legal issues. Six chapters cover the daily challenges of running a business, people, the law, finance, product management, and risk management. 73 pages
Event ManagementThe Event Management ebook is a complementary text for event management students or professionals working in the field. The ebook goes through the considerations and elements of an event and what needs to be organised when an event is in the planning stage.
Saving a BusinessIf your business is in trouble or under performing: you must read this!
Project ManagementLearn to manage any type of project, in any industry. Six chapters cover the nature and scope of project management, risk and uncertainty, maintaining control, interpersonal relationships, the end game, and golden rules. This is a very concise text - easy to follow, with much of the information presented in bulleted lists. 72 pages