Sustainability in general is accomplished through consuming resources for the sake to fulfill present demands without jeopardizing future needs. In line with that, there are several connections amongst the domains of Operations Management (OM) and Sustainability Development (SD), with the intersection amid the two fields establishes a triggering point for undertaking a comprehensive integration between both. However, the main variance of significance is that SD commonly depends on a wider range of consideration compared to the OM. Yet, attaining such integration would be deemed as a great achievement, since it will positively impact the sequence of business operations and design, in addition to its influence on improving all dedicated resources in the process of transforming inputs into services and products (Peter & Magnus 2011).
Following the earlier discussion, sustainability is taking a major part in integrating several operational aspects, with the product life cycle and supply chain management being one of the most imperative elements that gets associated via multiple techniques. Starting from the assessment of product life cycle through which the company can estimate resources’ consumption along with any negative environmental impact, moving all the way to adopting lean and quality production techniques that can assist in eliminating unnecessary consumptions, decreasing the waste and recycling the products. Additionally, companies can consider the extension of product lifetime, which can help in avoiding resources’ depletion when manufacturing new products. While concerning the supply chain, then it should be clearly stretched to reflect the whole lifespan of the product, in addition to enhancing the product from two standpoints, present as well as total cost (Linton et al. 2007).
Another relevant subject in maintaining a sustainable trend of operations is through business’s contribution to its social obligation, which is commonly known as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It can be defined as business’s moral contribution and behaviour towards economic growth, while taking into the consideration its commitment towards local, national or global communities, in addition to the working conditions of its employee along with the quality of life being offered to their families (Slack et al. 2014). Nevertheless, undertaking socially responsible resolutions will predominantly lead to economic significances; especially that investment returns have neither financial nor timeframe guarantees, but will have higher chances of influencing the public opinion and consequently on business’s reputation (Albino et al. 2013).
Finally, the necessity for protecting our environment that goes adjacently with the growing requests for consuming natural resources are obliging organizations to reexamine their operational models and reform their supply chain processes. Nevertheless, and despite the fact that pollution and waste decrease are associated with the classical targets of operations management, yet not every green procedure will guarantee savings, with some might even increase the operational cost. Therefore, the primary challenge for businesses out there would be to finding operational answers for the ways to maintain a sustainable business today without affecting the environment for future demands (Wu & Pagell 2011).
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Linton, J., Klassen, R. & Jayaraman, V. (2007) ‘Sustainable Supply Chains: An Introduction’, Journal Of Operations Management, 25, Supply Chain Management in a Sustainable Environment, pp. 1075-1082, ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost, [Accessed on May 13 2017].
Peter, F. & Magnus, P. (2011) ‘Integrating Sustainable Development Into Operations Management Courses’, International Journal Of Sustainability In Higher Education, 3, p. 236, Emerald Insight, EBSCOhost, [Accessed on May 13 2017].
Slack, N., Brandon-Jones, A. & Johnston, R. (2014) ‘Operations management’. 7th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education.
Wu, Z. & Pagell, M. (2011) ‘Balancing Priorities: Decision-Making in Sustainable Supply Chain Management’, Journal of Operations Management, 29, pp. 577-590, ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost, [Accessed on May 13 2017].