Business Operations: Coursework Summary

The business operations function within a company focuses on improving the bottom line to deliver quality goods and services for customers. Research where this field can be studied, and see course descriptions to get a better idea of what you'll learn.

Essential Information

Business operations courses are typically located in undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration or business management, usually with an emphasis in supply chain management. Some schools also have certificate programs specifically in business operations, where earned credits can be applied to associate's degree programs. Certificate programs may be ideal for professionals looking to enhance their business skills.

Here is a list of common concepts explored in business operations courses:

  • Employee compensation
  • Business environment
  • Imports and exports
  • Foreign contracts
  • Cost of capital
  • Distribution systems
  • Quality controls

List of Common Courses

Business Operations Overview Course

This is an introduction to the overall product delivery system, including inventory management, purchasing, manufacturing and distribution. Common practices, industry policies and trade-off considerations in inventory management are reviewed, including variables such as labor, manufacturing capacity, shelf-life, lead time, accuracy in forecasting and quality assurance. Students learn the role of business operations in achieving both efficiency improvements and cost reduction in the management of the supply chain.

Accounting Course

Typically this is an overview accounting course for non-accounting majors and is primarily focused on how financial data can be used to assist business operations management in more effective decision making. Key concepts related to the design and function of information systems in the supply chain process are discussed, along with a focus on how these systems can be used for planning and cost management.

Purchasing Course

The role of purchasing is discussed, as well as key practices and procedures performed within the purchasing organization. Students learn about the role of the buyer, including identifying suppliers, negotiating contractual terms, conducting pricing analysis, selecting sources and managing the ongoing supplier relationship. The importance of monitoring vendor support and continuously measuring quality control through audits and product inspections is presented. The use of information systems to support the purchasing function is generally reviewed, along with international considerations in the purchasing management function.

Manufacturing Course

Students are introduced to the manufacturing function. The course may also discuss the methodology involved in taking materials and labor through the manufacturing process while working to improve overall delivery times, maintain high quality, remove waste and reduce overall costs. Concepts such as lean manufacturing, push versus pull systems, Kanban (a form of just-in-time production scheduling), continuous flow production and total quality management (TQM) may be discussed.

International Logistics Course

The strategic and functional aspects of international exporting and importing are presented. The impact of cultural differences, foreign terms of trade, commercial paper and overseas freight challenges are discussed. Students can also learn about international contractual practices, specialized packaging requirements and the use of multi-modal transportation, along with the topic of clearing customs.


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