Career Development

What Does an Operations Manager Do?

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

The role of an operations manager is one that requires a great deal of leadership and management skills. They are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities of their team, as well as planning for future growth or changes in the company’s operations.

Operations managers may oversee any number of different departments within a company—from sales to marketing to customer service to production. Their job is to ensure that all aspects of the business are running smoothly and efficiently. This often includes making sure that supplies are available when needed, coordinating with vendors to ensure they meet deadlines, and ensuring that employees have what they need to do their jobs effectively.

Operations Manager Job Duties

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

  • Managing projects from start to finish including planning, organizing, communicating with team members, and monitoring progress toward goals
  • Monitoring production processes for efficiency and effectiveness, making adjustments as necessary
  • Ensuring that all company operations comply with federal, state, and local laws
  • Overseeing the maintenance of facilities, equipment, vehicles, and machinery used in operations
  • Analyzing data to identify trends and recommend improvements to processes which may increase efficiency or reduce costs
  • Working with vendors to negotiate prices and order supplies
  • Scheduling shifts for employees and ensuring that they have adequate training for their jobs
  • Coordinating with other departments to ensure smooth operations
  • Managing employee performance, creating job descriptions, hiring new staff members, and terminating those who are not meeting expectations

Operations Manager Salary & Outlook

Operations managers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses or commissions.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

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

Demand for operations managers depends largely on the overall health of the economy. As demand for products and services grows, companies will need to increase production and distribution. Operations managers will be needed to oversee these activities.

Operations Manager Job Requirements

Operations managers typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a related field is often a requirement to become an operations manager. Some employers may prefer a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). Relevant coursework includes business management, accounting, economics, finance, marketing and statistics.

Training & Experience: Operations managers typically receive on-the-job training once they are hired. This training may include learning about the company’s policies and procedures, as well as the software and technology they use. It may also include shadowing an existing operations manager to learn about the daily responsibilities and workflow.

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

Operations Manager Skills

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

Leadership: Operations managers lead teams of employees, so they need to have strong leadership skills. Leadership skills can include motivating employees, creating a positive work environment and ensuring employees are meeting their goals. Operations managers can also use their leadership skills to train new managers and help them develop their own leadership skills.

Communication: Operations managers communicate with a variety of individuals and groups, including employees, managers, clients, suppliers and other stakeholders. They use verbal and written communication skills to convey messages, provide feedback, solve problems and make decisions. They also use nonverbal communication skills, such as body language, to convey messages and influence others.

Problem-solving: Operations managers are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a company. This means that they are responsible for identifying and solving any issues that may arise. Because of this, it’s important for an operations manager to have strong problem-solving skills.

Critical thinking: Operations managers use critical thinking skills to make decisions and solve problems. They may use these skills to develop strategies for increasing productivity, improving customer service or reducing costs. Operations managers may also use critical thinking skills to identify potential risks and develop solutions to prevent them.

Decision-making: Operations managers make decisions every day, and their ability to make effective decisions can have a significant impact on their success. Effective decision-makers can analyze a situation, consider the potential outcomes and choose the best course of action. Operations managers can use their knowledge of their company’s goals and objectives to make decisions that help their company achieve its goals.

Operations Manager Work Environment

Operations managers typically work in office settings, although they may spend time on manufacturing floors or in other areas of the production process. They usually work regular business hours, but may occasionally be required to work evenings or weekends to meet deadlines or resolve production issues. Operations managers may experience high levels of stress due to the demanding nature of the job and the need to meet production goals. They must be able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously and make quick decisions in a fast-paced environment.

Operations Manager Trends

Here are three trends influencing how operations managers work. Operations managers 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 trend of agile work is becoming increasingly popular as businesses look for ways to be more efficient and productive. This means that operations managers will need to be able to adapt to a more flexible work environment, where they can work from home or on the go.

In order to be successful in this new environment, operations managers will need to be able to manage their time effectively and be comfortable with using technology to communicate with coworkers. They will also need to be able to manage a team that is spread out across different locations.

Automation Will Continue to Grow

As automation continues to grow, operations managers will need to learn how to manage teams of robots.

This trend will require operations managers to be familiar with the latest technologies and how to use them to automate tasks. In addition, they will need to be able to manage and train employees who are working with these technologies.

More Focus on Supply Chain Management

As businesses become more globalized, the focus on supply chain management has increased. This trend is likely to continue as businesses strive to find the best suppliers and produce products as efficiently as possible.

Operations managers are in a unique position to take advantage of this trend, as they are responsible for overseeing all aspects of the supply chain. By understanding the latest trends in supply chain management, they can help their company to stay ahead of the competition.

How to Become an Operations Manager

An operations manager career can be a great way to start your career in business. It’s a role that offers a lot of variety and opportunity for growth, so it’s important to choose an employer who will support your development.

When starting out as an operations manager, it’s important to build a strong foundation of skills. This includes understanding the basics of supply chain management, project management, and Lean Six Sigma. You should also develop your people management skills, so you can effectively lead and motivate your team.

As you progress in your career, you may want to specialize in a particular area of operations management. This could include logistics, manufacturing, or distribution.

Advancement Prospects

Operations managers typically advance by taking on larger projects or more responsibility within their organization. As they prove their abilities, they may be promoted to higher-level management positions. In some cases, operations managers may also start their own businesses.

Operations Manager Job Description Example

At [Company X], we owe our success to the efficiency of organizational processes. To help maintain and grow this standard, we’re seeking an experienced operations manager to oversee daily activities. The ideal candidate will have a sharp business mind and proven success managing multiple departments for maximum productivity. They’ll be highly skilled in human resources, finance, and IT management. Additionally, they’ll 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 [Department Y].

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Maintain constant communication with management, staff, and vendors to ensure proper operations of the organization
  • Develop, implement, and maintain quality assurance protocols
  • Grow the efficiency of existing processes and procedures to enhance and sustain the organization’s internal capacity
  • Actively pursue strategic and operational objectives
  • Ensure operational activities remain on time and within a defined budget
  • Track staffing requirements, hiring new employees as needed
  • Oversee accounts payable and accounts receivable departments
  • Lead, motivate, and support a large team within a time-sensitive and demanding environment, including career development plans for all direct reports and problem resolution
  • Manage data collection for updating operations metrics to achieve productivity targets, reduce cost per unit, eliminate errors, and deliver excellent customer service
  • Partner with cross-functional teams to improve proprietary tools and systems
  • Work closely with legal and safety departments to ensure that activities remain compliant
  • Conduct budget reviews and report cost plans to upper management

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in operations management, business administration, or related field
  • Two or more years of proven experience in an operations management role
  • Strong budget development and oversight skills
  • Excellent ability to delegate responsibilities while maintaining organizational control of branch operations and customer service
  • Highly trained in conflict management and business negotiation processes
  • Knowledge of general business software and an aptitude for learning new applications

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Working knowledge of management software programs, including NetSuite, QuickBooks, and CenterPoint Payroll
  • Strong IT skills, including database development
  • Multiple years of financial and account reporting experience
  • Ability to communicate in more than one language

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