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Operations Management in Thai-Lay Fashion Company Ltd.

Operations management is an important function in any organization even though it might not be termed as such in small and medium-sized businesses. “Operations management focuses on carefully managing the processes to produce and distribute products and services.” (McNamara, 1997-2008). This indicates that any process in an organization that needs managerial supervision will come under operations management.

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Thai-Lay is a textile manufacturing company in Hong Kong with its markets situated mainly in Europe. The company produces a wide range of ready-made garments for adults and children of both sexes. So the processes involved in the whole process range from procurement to sales include procurement of items like yarn and dyes, design of colour schemes and garments, manufacturing which includes knitting and weaving, marketing and sales especially to stores in Europe.

For each of these processes, the company has a departmental head even though they are not necessarily called operations managers. Procurement of yarn and dyes are made through its regular suppliers who have been associated with the company since its inception in 1991. The manufacturing process in the textile industry is based on four characteristics that ultimately determine the competitiveness of the firm. “Four factors have been highlighted as major competitive priorities:

  1. quality;
  2. cost;
  3. delivery, including dependability and speed of delivery; and
  4. flexibility, in terms of volume, product mix, changeover, modification, rerouting, material, and sequencing.” (Dhen, 1999).

Thai-Lay has adopted these factors in its manufacturing process and has successfully implemented them. They have their own quality control department which strictly examines products and rejects them even if a slight fault is present. With an emphasis on technology and modern machinery, costs have been kept very competitive. The product delivery period is around 90 days from the date of order.

Flexibility is also built into the system and the company can produce a wide range of products, has a varied product mix and is capable of modification on existing orders to a certain extent. Marketing is through advertisements in European trade journals and repeats orders from existing stores. A certain component also comes from word of mouth publicity from among the purchasing stores. Process design is also highly evolving in the company. Designs for clothes are provided by the company’s customers according to tastes and fashions existing in European markets. In addition, the company has its own design department.

The integration between the design department and manufacturing department is very high. For example, a design whether developed in house or provided by a customer is received initially at the design department. They immediately call the concerned manager from the manufacturing and smooth out any problems that may arise from the design to production stage. The advice of the manufacturing department is also sought as to the cost of the product. If this is not done, the company may not be able to produce the materials at the agreed price. Overall there have been very few problems in manufacturing products as per the requirements of the design department.

The operations management processes in Thai-Lay Fashion Company are very satisfactory and efficient. There has not been any need for a review of the same. It also fits in very well with the accounts and finance functions in the company. The company is planning to invest in new machinery to meet additional export orders from its new markets in Asia. It is proposed that the same processes that exist with regard to operations management will be adopted in the future also.

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McNAMARA, Carter. (1997-2008). Operations Management. Free Management Library. Web.

CHEN, Wen-Hsien. (1999). Manufacturing Strategies of Network-Based Small Firms: Observations on the Textile Industry in Taiwan. Journal Article Excerpt. Questia. Vol. 37. Web.

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