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Business and Operations Design


It is increasingly important that organisations are effective, efficient and customer focussed in order to compete successfully in the global marketplace. To achieve this, many companies have undertaken major reviews of their businesses using an approach often referred to as Business Process Re-engineering. Research has shown however, that around 80% of such initiatives fail to deliver the benefits expected.

This module shows how the principles of the “Systems Approach”, which has been very successful in helping companies to redesign their operations, can be employed in the design of effective business processes. The module explores how systems theory can be applied to the holistic redesign of a business to create an integrated and competitive organisation. Some of the major issues, which will reduce the risk of such a redesign failing to achieve the maximum benefits, are addressed.

The module focuses on the Operations process, and provides students with the opportunity to explore the use of the Systems Approach within a real business environment.


On completion of this module, participants will:

  • Argue the benefits of being process-focussed in order to facilitate the delivery of customer facing strategies and competitive advantage.
  • Explain the fundamental principles of systems theory as a business design and analysis tool.
  • Critically evaluate the interrelation and relative significance of the main business sub-systems within the context of a redesign project, namely: business processes; organisation design; IT; knowledge and people.
  • Develop bespoke design methodologies, derived from systems theory, for use either at the
    • Business level to create a customer focussed organisation
    • Business process level to create effective and efficient operations.
  • Assist in the execution of this methodology when applied to the design of a business process.
  • Critically evaluate the key issues that influence or impact the robustness and cohesiveness of these designs.
  • Select relevant tools and techniques to support the design activity.
  • Apply specific tools and techniques to new situations


  •  The need for customer focus
  • Systems Theory, Thinking and Approach
  • The Process Focused Organisation
  • Strategy, Value and Processes
  • Processes
  • Organisation Structure
  • People
  • Knowledge Management
  • Technology
  • The Re-design process.
  • Business Redesign Case Studies.
  • The Systems Approach - Redesigning the Operations process.
  • ‘Factory re-design’ exercise.
  • Implementing the design.

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