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Introduction to Operations Management

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and University of Pennsylvania via Coursera


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This comprehensive course delves into operations management and process improvement principles and techniques, providing you with the knowledge and skills necessary to identify and eliminate inefficiencies in your organization. You will gain a solid foundation in operations management by analyzing key concepts such as cost-quality trade-offs, the efficiency frontier, and system inhibitors. Get ready to delve into process analysis, where you'll identify and analyze steps in a process, implementing changes for enhanced outcomes. With practical exercises, including creating process flow diagrams and capacity calculations, you'll strengthen your analytical skills firsthand. Experience the power of optimizing flow within operations as you uncover waste sources and design efficient processes for maximum output, reduced costs, and heightened customer satisfaction. An in-depth exploration of Little's Law will equip you to make informed decisions on capacity planning and process improvements, optimizing inventory levels, reducing lead times, and enhancing supply chain coordination. Additionally, you'll learn to effectively manage variability, laying the groundwork for consistent and exceptional quality standards. Statistical analysis, problem-solving methodologies, and real-time information utilization will empower you to tackle issues, find root causes, and foster continuous improvement. Throughout the course, the focus remains on driving improvements and achieving excellence. Analyze, improve, and reimagine how work gets done, armed with the necessary tools and frameworks to enhance work processes across diverse industries. Join this course to analyze, improve, and reimagine how work gets done and to acquire the necessary tools and knowledge to make meaningful improvements in your organization's operations.


  • Introduction to Operations Management and Process Analysis
    • At its core, operations management is about finding and then reducing inefficiencies. We will start by examining key concepts such as cost-quality trade-off, the efficiency frontier, and three system inhibitors. We will also explore process analysis, enabling you to identify and analyze the steps involved in a process and make changes to improve its outcomes. By the end of this module, you will have opportunities to practice these concepts by creating process flow diagrams and calculating the resource with the lowest capacity. Additionally, you'll be able to practice calculating capacity, flow rate, and utilization. You will be able to transfer these skills to initiate process analysis within your organization.
  • Module 2: Flow Management and Lean Operations
    • In operations management, flow focuses on the movement of materials, products, and information through the various stages of a production or service process. Lean operations focus on identifying sources of waste both in terms of resources and processes. Optimizing flow can improve productivity, reduce costs, and enhance customer satisfaction. By learning to carefully observe how work is done, we can become better at identifying waste. The goal is to create efficient and effective processes that maximize output while minimizing waste.
  • Module 3: Little’s Law
    • Little's Law, a foundational concept in operations management, helps quantify and evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of a system by providing key performance indicators. By understanding the relationship between inventory, arrival rate, and cycle time, managers can make informed decisions regarding capacity planning. Little’s Law also serves as a diagnostic tool for process improvement initiatives and is particularly valuable in supply chain management, where it enables companies to optimize inventory levels, reduce lead times, and enhance coordination among various stages of the supply chain. It helps strike a balance between supply and demand, improving overall responsiveness and customer service.
  • Module 4: Quality
    • Variability can introduce defects and hinder the pursuit of excellence. By recognizing and managing variability, organizations can lay the foundation for consistent and exceptional quality standards. This module introduces frameworks that provide systematic ways to analyze variability. We’ll look at how statistical analysis and problem-solving methodologies can enhance quality. We’ll also explore the power of real-time information and how it fosters continuous improvement. We’ll examine strategies for finding the root cause of an issue and explore how we might develop targeted solutions as we unravel complex problems.

Taught by

Christian Terwiesch


4.0 rating, based on 32 Class Central reviews

4.4 rating at Coursera based on 2663 ratings

Start your review of Introduction to Operations Management

  • Introduction to Operations Management is a great course that gives you a lot of knowledge on how to improve operations in an organization. It introduces the learners to the 4 dimensions of operations performance - Efficiency, Quality, Responsivenes…
  • Dissipate
    Unlike the other people who have commented on this course, I do not think it was very good overall. First of all, the audio in the videos was of poor quality. That coupled with an accent and mistakes in the subtitles... it just made the course hard…
  • Anonymous
    The course videos are a bit difficult to understand between the quality of the sound and the accent. The course itself seems more about business operation information and analysis and requires previous / background knowledge of statistics and excel even though the introduction makes no mention of this. This requirements makes the course and its quizzes more of a mathematical exercise/challenge than managerial. I expected more information about the management of the operations and solutions for problems in operations and only some background information about the necessary calculations. Being an introduction and all...
  • Yuri Kozak
    The first offering was FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Unreal to explain my impressions. You need to taste to feel.

    It gave me good understanding how all works. I have University Diploma in metal processing and this course improved my skills much.

    I recommend the course for all managers and technology engineers especially from countries with poor management.
  • This course is wonderfully structured and has a lot of useful material which can be applied in many different industries. The assignments in particular give very realistic examples to work through, and I felt that they were adequately difficult to challenge a student's understanding of the topic.

    Being the second Wharton School course which I have taken (the other being Introduction to Marketing), I am doubly impressed by the quality of MOOCs produced as both of these modules are by far the best ones I have taken so far.
  • Anonymous
    Just finished this course and managed to pass with distinction. Course was excellent. Well paced, interesting examples. Good lectures by the professor . Exercises were difficult enough to be interesting. Very worthwhile.
  • By far the best MOOC I have ever taken (out of 10). The instructor is an expert in process design and makes the concepts easy to follow. I would love to see other classes by him.
  • Anonymous
    Dear sir/madam,
    My name is Tsolmon from tiny nations. I am really appreciate to study about Operations Management. Because I have been worked several operations project in Mongolia and I need to improve my skills more professionals. During my study in MBA in Mongolia, I have been more general about it. So now I wanted to learn it more advanced. Thank you for the free online course.
  • Anonymous
    Highly recommended! Professor who definitely knows what he is talking about, great course structure, challenging homework assignments, the knowledge received can be easily applied in a real-life company.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent Course, Wharton is doing a great job with all of their courses. Prof. Tereswich makes it very interesting aswell as challenging.
  • Adtya
    Enrol in this class without hesitation. You won't regret it. I am looking forward to more courses by this instructor!
  • Anonymous
    Excellent example of teaching and one of the best MOOCs I have taken. Plenty of real life examples, challenging and rewarding assignments. Couldn't ask for more.

  • Anonymous
    Prof T is very knowledgeable, organized and right on point with this course. Best Coursera experience so far.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course. Lot's of exercises. All main concepts are well explained and demonstrated with examples.
  • Anonymous
    I've loved my other Coursera courses but this one ... Exactly what this guy said: Unlike the other people who have commented on this course, I do not think it was very good overall. First of all, the audio in the videos was of poor quality. That c…
  • Derrick Kulani Makhubela
    I am taking the course in order to learn more.I also need a job.I need industry experience in order to get a permanent job.I also intends enrolling for a Higher degree in management.Should I pass this Free online course,I intends studying further.
  • Mehdi Ahmed Al Zadjali
    Operations management is an area of management concerned with designing and controlling the process of production and redesigning business operations in the production of goods or services
  • This course is very beneficial. I acquired a lot of good information after I finished it. Actually it will help me in my career.
  • This was introduction to business operations. However, I found it somewhat repetitive and I already knew that it was basically how to run business operations. Also, I found some of the assignments to be redundant and had a lot more math in it than I expected. I have dyscalculia so I didn't expect this. I would not recommend this course to anybody.
  • Konul Novruzova

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