An operations manager oversees the day-to-day activities of a business. He or she makes sure that the business runs smoothly and efficiently, often by coordinating the efforts of managers and supervisors.
An operations manager may be responsible for overseeing the activities of workers who do the hands-on work of a business, such as a manufacturing floor or a call center. He or she may also be responsible for overseeing the activities of managers and supervisors who oversee those workers.
An operations manager may have a background in a specific area of a business, or he or she may bring a broad range of management skills to the position.
Operations Manager Job Duties
Responsibilities of an operations manager can vary depending on the company, but some common duties include:
- Planning and directing the work of staff in order to maximize efficiency and minimize costs.
- Training and developing staff.
- Developing systems for reporting, monitoring, and evaluating business performance.
- Assessing risks to the company’s assets and developing plans to reduce or eliminate them.
- Managing all aspects of the company’s finances, including budgets, payrolls, investments, accounts receivable/payable, taxes, and financial reports.
- Evaluating the performance of subordinates to make sure they are meeting expectations.
Operations managers are often required to manage a wide range of responsibilities from different departments within a company.
Operations Manager Salary & Outlook
As of May 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that the median annual wage for operations managers is $103,650. The top 10% of earners make more than $208,000, while the bottom 10% make less than $45,850.
Operations managers’ job prospects are expected to grow 6% between 2019-2029. This is slightly higher than the average for all occupations, but it is expected to be tempered by slow growth or decline in some industries, such as manufacturing and utilities.
Job growth for operations managers is projected to occur largely in professional, scientific, and technical services firms, as more companies are expected to tap the expertise of managers for projects involving operational activities. These managers also will be needed to help organizations cope with the complexities of the increasingly competitive business world.
Operations Manager Job Requirements
The following is a list of the most common requirements for operations managers.
Education: Most employers prefer to hire candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related discipline.
Certification: Some employers may require certification in project management, which can be achieved through the Project Management Institute (PMI).
Experience: Most employers require at least five years of experience in a related field.
Training: Some positions may require that operations managers complete a training program, especially if the position has a high-risk or safety component.
Operations Manager Skills
Operations managers need to be able to perform the following tasks:
Communication skills: Operations managers need to be able to effectively communicate with staff, clients, and other managers.
Training skills: A good operations manager is a great teacher. He or she must be able to train new employees and give them the tools they need to succeed in their jobs.
Leadership skills: An operations manager must be a leader who can motivate employees and get them excited about the company’s goals.
Organizational skills: Operations managers must have strong organizational skills so that they can handle all of their responsibilities without getting overwhelmed.
Problem-solving skills: When problems arise, an operations manager needs to know how to solve them quickly and efficiently so that business can continue as usual.
Operations Manager Work Environment
Operations managers spend most of their time in an office environment but are also required to spend time in the field. They work in a variety of settings, such as a manufacturing plant, a retail store, or a warehouse.
This job requires a great deal of interaction with others, so the work environment can be stressful. There is also a great deal of responsibility, as they are in charge of the entire operation.
Operations Manager Career Advancement
As an operations manager gains experience in the field, they may be promoted to become a senior role like the director of operations or vice president of operations. These individuals are responsible for managing all of the operations for a company branch or multiple locations. They must manage large teams of people, so they must have strong leadership skills and be able to foster an environment where staff members work together rather than compete for advancement opportunities.
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.
Increased Demand for Data Analysis
Managers in a variety of fields are increasingly responsible for analyzing data, including operations managers.
In this role, it is essential to have strong analytical skills so that you can effectively evaluate your organization’s strengths and weaknesses while also making accurate predictions about how they will change over time.
More Demand for Multilingual Managers
As businesses continue to expand globally, more and more companies are looking for managers who can speak multiple languages.
This is an important trend that can lead to greater profitability for firms by increasing their ability to attract customers across international borders. However, it also requires managers who are able to function well in multicultural environments.
As cyber security becomes more important for businesses, organizations are finding that they need to dedicate greater resources to ensuring their data is secure.
The US National Institute of Standards and Technology has set standards for information security that range from designing systems with the necessary controls in place, implementing policies and procedures designed to protect networks, identifying internal risks before an attack occurs, and having an incident response plan in place so businesses can recover quickly after a breach.
How to Become a Operations Manager
1. Planning Your Career Path
Before applying for a job as an operations manager, you will want to determine what type of work you’re most interested in. The term “operations” can be applied to a variety of industries and positions, so you will need to clarify which type of work you want to pursue before you can identify the type of company you should apply to.
For example, operations managers in the airline industry will likely oversee the scheduling of pilots and flight attendants while those in the food industry will focus on warehousing and inventory. Though each of these positions requires unique knowledge and skills, both types of operations managers will be involved in making sure that everything runs smoothly.
2. Writing a Resume
Since many job descriptions for operations managers include the word “hands-on,” it’s important that you highlight your ability to get things done on your own. If you’ve been a manager before, be sure to emphasize your ability to do so effectively.
It’s also important that you showcase your ability to think strategically and make the right decisions under pressure. To do this, describe specific situations where you were able to think quickly and demonstrate good judgment. You can also discuss the training or courses you’ve taken that relate to the job description.
3. Applying for Jobs
A fantastic way to find out about potential job openings is to make sure you are always up-to-date with the latest news in your industry. This could mean subscribing to the right publications, keeping up with key social media accounts, or using tools such as Google Alerts, which allow you to search for keywords and receive updates when new content matching your search is found.
4. Ace the Interview
To interview successfully as an operations manager candidate, you will want to prepare ahead of time by reviewing the company’s mission statement and goals. You should also do your research on the industry in which the company operates, as well as any regulatory requirements or other compliance issues that might affect its operations. It is also important to make sure you understand what kind of management style would be most effective for this position, and how it fits into the overall company structure.
During your interview, it is important to project a professional image through both your appearance and demeanor. Be prepared with examples of how you have demonstrated leadership skills in previous positions, and discuss strategies for ensuring quality control in production or services offered by this particular organization. It is also important to demonstrate that you can work well with others by emphasizing team-building skills; make sure you are not overbearing or overly critical.