The past 50 years marked an era of significant changes in operations management, its development, and environmental conditions. New technologies and strategic approaches to operations management allow many opportunities that were unobtainable a couple of decades ago. In the globalization era, which implies cooperation between countries with bigger production facilities, companies can choose where and how to manufacture their products while maintaining supervision through high-speed internet connections. Previously, launching a product on the market required significant financial investments needed to introduce a new production line and hire additional workers and utility staff. Now, most of the transportation and manufacturing services are outsourced, which accelerates the process of production and distribution of goods to customers.
Moreover, with new business strategies and growing demand for online goods, the operations management scale could be reduced even more, as many new growing companies in online business operate all their activities from one warehouse. According to Chang and Chen (2020), future trends in Operations Management focus on the utilization of blockchain technology to speed up the communication in resource management and establish direct connections with suppliers, eliminating intermediary involvement. Thus, in the last 50 years, Operations Management and its scale and functions significantly changed due to technological progress and globalization of the economy.
Applying this information to determine how fast it will take African countries, China and India, to catch up with the US in terms of operational capabilities shows that they need to reconsider their views on labor. While the cheap labor policy attracts more financial resources in some regions, it limits the purchasing opportunities for the population. Therefore, if there is no demand from the population for expensive high-quality products, there will be no opportunities for the development of operational capabilities in the country’s domestic market. However, canceling the policy of cheap labor will negatively affect the overall financial stability of countries, so I suggest that there are few chances that Africa or India will soon catch up with the US in terms of operational capabilities. On the other hand, China already holds enough resources and production capabilities to catch up and even surpass the US, but determining when it will happen requires a deeper analysis.
Furthermore, the technology industry and the overall state of technological progress present a significant component of future trends and innovations and define how society will develop in the future. One of the ways in which technologies significantly improved society and established an entirely new area of economic activity is smartphones. By making technology accessible, useful, and essential for everyday communications, the technology industry established several new markets, such as the mobile app market and social media marketing, and dramatically increased the demand for online shopping.
Through a similar process of making things accessible and easy, the technology industry will assist in developing other areas such as higher education. The recent COVID-19 pandemic emphasized how technology could be used to work and study in any circumstances (Sun et al., 2020). Therefore, it is possible that through an innovative approach and the use of technologies, higher education will become more accessible to a bigger audience. A similar practice already takes place with online masterclasses, which allows people to gain valuable insights from professionals for a discounted price. As video masterclasses are filmed once and could be distributed to any number of customers, their price becomes significantly cheaper. If the same principles were applied in lectures in higher education, more people with low income would be available to get higher education.
Chang, S. E., & Chen, Y. (2020). When blockchain meets supply chain: A systematic literature review on current development and potential applications. IEEE Access, 8, 62478-62494.
Sun, L., Tang, Y. & Zuo, W. (2020). Coronavirus pushes education online. Nature Materials, 19, 687.