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Introduction to Operations Management - I

Prof. B Mahadevan
Analyzing Capacity in Operations
Week 02 C02_A

We have developed some basic understanding of the notion of capacity. We have also
found ways by which organisations try to define capacity. Let's now begin to address the
first and the foremost question in this capacity analysis and that is how do I make an
assessment of the capacity in my organisation? Everyone ask this question and a related
question is, what kind of data I need to collect in order to estimate the capacity in my
workplace or it could be a department in the organisation. So what kind of data do I need?
So this is another question that we have. So before we address these questions, let's take an
example. In a typical hospital, there are doctors, paramedical staff who are involved in the
treatment of the patients. The hospital may also use certain equipments, diagnostic gadgets
such as an MRI scan or an X-ray machine. The hospital may also have a certain number of
waiting spaces, resources like operating theatres. All these collectively influence the
capacity in the hospital in terms of how many number of patients are treated let's say in a
out-patient section or in a surgical . . . block. However, given a certain number of each of
these resources, how will it affect the outcome in terms of patients waiting, the residents'
time in the hospital? All these are determined by fundamentally the design of the process
deployed to deliver the healthcare. So process analysis is a method by which we can
incorporate all these details and use some logic to analyze these aspects pertaining to
capacity in the system. We shall first take a look at the fundamental building blocks of any
process. It could be a hospital, it could be a manufacturing firm, it could be . . . a service
firm . . . doing a variety of . . . other services. So let's try to list down the kind of information
that we may need to analyze a process. That's where I think we need to start. So what are
these building blocks? The first in our journey in terms of . . . understanding a process is
what I may call it as Activities. These are the building blocks that make up a process. Every
process has a set of activities and these activities are to be organized in a particular way. So
that brings us to the second aspect which I call it as Technological and Logical Constraints.
Because, if you have let's say 10 Activities, something must dictate the order in which these
10 steps are carried out. This is important because only then we will know the flow of
Activities and, therefore, that will influence capacity and so on. So Activities and once you
have a set of Activities, the Technological and the Logical Constraints. So let's take one
manufacturing example and one service example to understand these two ideas and then
let's go adding additional details to design a process.

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