Operations Management and Business Process Improvement

This Course shows a new entrepreneur the inside workings of a business process, viewed with precision. Professor Rajaram begins with a scientific understanding of operations management, demonstrating the steps in process analysis, and then discusses variability and its impact on a process, using Little’s Law to illustrate the assessment, and shows how and when to use work-in-progress buffers. He completes the course by addressing various ways to reduce process variability and its effect on lead times.


Professor Kumar Rajaram

Professor Kumar Rajaram


Kumar Rajaram is a Professor of Operations and Technology Management at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Professor Rajaram’s current research interests include improving operations in the health care industry, non-profit sector and in the process manufacturing sectors including food processing, pharmaceuticals and the petrochemical industry. He has focused on developing analytical models of complicated systems with a strong emphasis on practical implementation. His work has been published in leading research journals such as Operations Research, Management Science, Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, Marketing Science and the European Journal of Operational Research. He has been awarded the Eric and ‘E’ Juline Faculty Excellence in Research Award at the UCLA Anderson School.

Professor Rajaram has developed a new control paradigm called “Robust Process Control” to increase the productivity of large-scale industrial processes. By focusing on the design and control of these processes in operational environments, this technique has resulted in four-fold increases in productivity in several types of industrial processes. These methods have been implemented at several process companies worldwide. This work was awarded the prestigious Franz Edelman finalist award for outstanding applications of operations research and management science techniques to practice by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). He has also developed techniques to better balance supply with demand for products with short life cycles and highly unpredictable demand. This work has been applied at several large fashion retailers in Europe and North America and has resulted in substantial improvements to profitability at these sites.

At the UCLA Anderson School, Professor Rajaram teaches the MBA core course on operations and technology management, various Executive Education courses and doctoral level courses on operations management and models for operations design, planning and control. He has been awarded the George Robbins Award, the Citibank Award and the Neidorf “Decade” Award for excellence in teaching at the UCLA Anderson School.

Ph.D. Operations Management, 1998, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
M.A. Managerial Science and Applied Economics, 1997, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
M.S. Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, 1993, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
M.Sc. Mathematics, with Honors 1991, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India
B.E. Electrical and Electronics Engineering, with Honors 1991, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India

Course Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain basic process analysis terms to a novice in operations management.
  • Create a logical operational process in its correct order, labeling each step as input, tasks, flow, storage, and output.
  • Using a logical process, correctly calculate/determine its bottleneck, idle time, direct labor content, direct labor utilization, and whether the process is “in balance.”


Module Components:

Video Lectures:

  • Introduction to Operations Management
  • What is Business Process?
  • Basic Definitions and An Illustrative Example


  • Introduction to Business Process Improvement
  • Unblocking Bottlenecks
  • How to Manage Bottlenecks in Operations Management

Case Study:

  • Case Study: Ultimate Teeth
  • Solution to the Assignment: Ultimate Teeth


  • Operations Management and Business Process Improvement – Quiz


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