Career Development

What Does an Operations Lead Do?

Find out what an operations lead does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an operations lead.

The role of an operations lead is one that requires a great deal of attention to detail. They are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities of their team, ensuring that they’re completing all of their assigned tasks in a timely and efficient manner.

Operations leads commonly oversee teams that handle logistical or production-related tasks. This might include anything from shipping products out to customers to maintaining the equipment used by employees on the manufacturing floor. In many cases, they will also be expected to provide leadership and guidance to individual members of their team as needed.

Operations Lead Job Duties

Operations leads typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Managing project teams that are responsible for designing and implementing new processes or improving existing ones
  • Ensuring that all operations processes meet company standards and are compliant with regulations such as OSHA, EPA, or FAA
  • Managing teams of employees across multiple departments to ensure that operations run smoothly
  • Managing the budget for an operation to ensure that it is being used efficiently and effectively
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with vendors and suppliers
  • Monitoring employee productivity and attendance to identify any areas for improvement
  • Ensuring that all departmental policies and procedures are followed
  • Planning and coordinating operational activities within an organization such as meetings, events, or conferences
  • Managing projects that involve new product development or changes in technology

Operations Lead Salary & Outlook

Operations leads are typically paid a salary, which can vary depending on their level of experience, the size of the company they work for, and the city or region where they live.

  • Median Annual Salary: $55,000 ($26.44/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of operations leads is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for operations leads will stem from the need to improve productivity and efficiency in manufacturing firms. Operations leads will be needed to oversee the implementation of new technologies, such as computer numerical control (CNC) machines and 3-D printers, that can increase productivity.

Operations Lead Job Requirements

There are a number of qualifications required to obtain a position as an operations lead. They include:

Education: A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a related field is often a requirement to become an operations lead. Some employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). An MBA is a four-year program that includes coursework in finance, accounting, marketing and management.

Training & Experience: Operations leads typically have several years of experience in a related role. They may have worked as an operations associate or a production or manufacturing associate. Operations leads may also have experience in a related role, such as a production supervisor or a manufacturing supervisor.

Operations leads may also receive on-the-job training in their roles. This training may include learning the company’s specific processes and procedures, as well as any computer programs or software the company uses.

Certifications & Licenses: While certifications are not usually a requirement for an operations lead, they can help you become a more competitive candidate when applying for jobs.

Operations Lead Skills

Operations leads need the following skills in order to be successful:

Leadership: Operations leads often have strong leadership skills, as they are often the first-level supervisors of their teams. Leadership skills can help you motivate your team, encourage them to work together and help them develop their own leadership skills. Strong leadership skills can also help you provide direction and guidance to your team members.

Communication: Operations leads often communicate with a variety of people, including their team, managers, clients and suppliers. Strong communication skills can help you convey information clearly and answer questions. You can also use your communication skills to help your team collaborate and resolve issues.

Decision-making: Operations leads often make decisions about production schedules, inventory management and other aspects of their job. Operations leads often make decisions based on data and information they receive from their team. Operations leads can make decisions quickly and confidently, and they can explain their reasoning to their team.

Problem-solving: Operations leads often use their problem-solving skills to identify and address issues that affect production. For example, if a machine breaks down, an operations lead might use their problem-solving skills to find a replacement machine or find a technician to repair the broken machine. Operations leads also use their problem-solving skills to identify and address issues that affect employee morale.

Teamwork: Operations leads often work with a team of individuals to complete their duties. Having strong teamwork skills can help you to motivate your team and encourage them to work together to achieve company goals. Strong teamwork skills can also help you to delegate tasks and assign individuals to specific roles.

Operations Lead Work Environment

The work environment for an operations lead is usually in an office setting, although some travel may be required. The hours are typically regular, Monday through Friday, although some overtime may be necessary. The job can be stressful, as the operations lead is responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the operation run smoothly and efficiently. There is a great deal of responsibility and accountability associated with this position, and the operations lead must be able to handle stress and pressure.

Operations Lead Trends

Here are three trends influencing how operations leads work. Operations leads will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for a More Agile Workforce

The need for a more agile workforce is becoming increasingly important as businesses become more competitive. In order to stay ahead of the competition, companies need to be able to quickly adapt to changing market conditions and make quick decisions.

Operations leads are in a unique position to capitalize on this trend, as they are often responsible for managing and overseeing the day-to-day operations of their team. By developing skills in agility and flexibility, they can help their company to stay ahead of the curve.

Automation Will Become Even More Important

As automation becomes even more important in the workplace, operations leads will need to develop new skills to keep up with the changes.

One of the most important skills that operations leads will need to learn is how to manage and oversee automated systems. This includes understanding how to install, configure, and maintain these systems. Additionally, operations leads will need to be able to manage and train employees who work with automated systems.

More Collaboration Between Functions

In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for collaboration between different functions within a company. This is due to the fact that many businesses now understand the importance of cross-functional teamwork in order to achieve success.

As a result, operations leads will need to be able to effectively collaborate with other departments in order to get things done. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with other teams in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

How to Become an Operations Lead

Operations leads are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a company. This includes ensuring that all processes run smoothly and efficiently, as well as managing staff members who work in these areas.

To become an operations lead, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of business processes and how they relate to one another. You should also be able to manage people effectively and have excellent communication skills.

If you want to become an operations lead, start by gaining experience in different areas of business operations. This can include working in customer service, logistics, or accounting. You can also take online courses in business administration to learn more about business processes.

Advancement Prospects

Operations leads typically advance by taking on more responsibility within their organization. As they gain experience, they may be promoted to positions such as operations manager or director. In some cases, they may also move into other areas of management, such as project management or human resources.

Those who have a strong interest in business may also choose to pursue an MBA or other advanced degree. This can open up opportunities for advancement into upper management positions.

Operations Lead Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for an experienced operations lead to oversee the day-to-day running of our business. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record in leading and motivating a team, as well as experience in streamlining processes to increase efficiency. They will be highly skilled in human resources, finance, and IT management. Additionally, they will display a proven ability to develop and maintain an environment of trust, diversity, and inclusion within their team. Their ultimate responsibility is to increase our operational efficiency in [DepartmentY].

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as the primary point of contact for all operational inquiries, issues, and concerns
  • Oversee day-to-day operations and manage a team of operations staff
  • Develop and implement processes and procedures to streamline operations and improve efficiency
  • Monitor KPIs and performance metrics to identify areas of improvement
  • Collaborate with other departments to ensure smooth and efficient operations
  • Manage inventory levels and order supplies as needed
  • Handle customer complaints and escalations in a professional and timely manner
  • Train and onboard new employees on company policies and procedures
  • Conduct regular performance reviews for operations staff
  • Identify and resolve any operational bottlenecks
  • Stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices
  • Propose and implement process improvements

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, operations management, or related field
  • 5+ years experience in an operations management role
  • Proven track record of process improvement and operational excellence
  • Strong leadership and team-building skills
  • Excellent communication, problem-solving, and decision-making skills
  • Highly analytical with a keen eye for detail

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • MBA or other advanced degree
  • 7+ years experience in an operations management role
  • Working knowledge of Six Sigma or other process improvement methodology
  • Experience leading remote teams
  • Familiarity with project management software


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