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Operations Manager Job Description

Operations Manager

OPERATIONS MANAGER FAST STATS

  

Salary

$100,410

(May 2017)

Education

Bachelor’s degree

 

Experience

7+ years in management and operations

Upward Mobility

average; competitive, executive level

Certification

(not required)

Job Outlook

8% growth (2016-2026)

 Operations Manager: Understanding the Job

What is an operations manager?

An operations manager is the senior level employee responsible for controlling the quality of the final product or service a business or organization produces. An important part of that responsibility is ensuring the smooth and effective operation of all departments responsible for producing that product or service.

Another important part is relaying feedback they get from those departments to each other to make production more efficient and effective.

Besides controlling for quality and efficiency, operations managers control production for cost-effectiveness, lead hiring for talent and training for competitiveness, and manage organizational processes for uninterrupted functionality.

Ultimately, operations managers are there to maximize profit and reputation within an industry as well as to assure final products meet industrial standards and comply with governmental regulations.

Top Operations Manager Skills

What operations managers do

Operation manager jobs are found not only on the warehouse and factory floors of industries like manufacturing or engineering that have large production arms, they can also be found in the offices of services industries like finance and tech.

It’s fair to say that any operations manager job description will include overseeing a company’s or organization’s production process or all it’s departments involved in operations. That means all operations manager jobs are filled with senior-level responsibilities that center around ensuring uninterrupted, high-quality production.

Sometimes that looks like overseeing and facilitating interdepartmental communications to make sure organizational resources are being directed efficiently toward product or service improvement.

At other times it looks like conducting analyses of existing systems and departments that support production or operations, evaluating employee performance, identifying weak spots in performance or skills, and either hiring new employees or finding training for existing staff and management to fill in those gaps.

''Great operations managers understand the organization and can handle external and internal demands... they tend to work their way in to executive positions and become shapers of the organization itself.''

The expectation to design employee incentive programs for high productivity and coordinate a complete operational budget with other senior managers is also part of a typical operations manager job description in any sector.

No matter the industry or sector in which operations manager jobs are located, they will always be mostly working on designing operations systems, procedures and processes and supervising their implementation as well as monitoring them for improvements.

What great operations managers do

1. Great operations managers are long-term multitaskers

They build relationships with essential, large external vendors to lock-in cost-effective purchasing of high quality goods while also fostering creative cooperation in their relationships with other senior managers to maximize innovation in production and operations improvements.

2. Great operations managers know their customers

They balance implementing feedback from customers and end users to create cutting edge product development and service delivery with the tight monitoring of production to make sure products satisfy regulators and conform to industry standards.

3. Great operations managers retain customers and advise executives

On one hand they communicate with operations teams to direct customer service requests and solve customer issues with products while on the other hand they produce and present reports to executives and other managers for analysis and evaluation of operations efficiency and quality.

4. Great operations managers are there for employees

At the same time that they are ensuring a work environment that complies with safety and health regulations for all employees, they are training employees and managers alike to follow procedures that they develop and set.

Typical operations manager salary reflects this high level of responsibilities and expectations. Great operations managers, however, because of their understanding of the organization and ability to handle external and internal demands tend to work their way in to executive positions and become shapers of the organization itself.

Typical day as an operations manager

Because of all the different moving parts of operations and production, operations managers can be in and out of many departments on a given day or completely immersed in an urgent project.

If operations in an organization is suffering because of a lack of IT infrastructure, an operations manager may spend the day researching and testing different software and technical solutions and then recruiting the right developers and managers to administer it.

Once that task is accomplished, an operations manager may move on to writing up the new policies and procedures for using this new IT system and then organizing training for staff and managers in operations and production to learn to use it.

In a manufacturing setting, the operations manager may need to be on the production floor, to find out from employees if heavy machinery may need repair or updating or even replacement.

Then she will need to contact the outside vendors responsible for the equipment to either arrange for repairs, consult on new equipment, or negotiate a new arrangement and contract based on quality assurance and cost-effectiveness.

In an office setting, an operations manager may need to consult with in-house technicians about server capacity and functioning and then communicate with local internet and electronics hardware vendors to find a long-term and cost-effective solution to uninterrupted performance.

''...innovative leadership, creative problem solving, streamlined policy making that improves financial performance... these are all resume gold in the operations manager world.''

Then all of these setbacks and solutions need to be documented and their effectiveness analyzed and presented in a report to present to managers and top executives to ensure smooth interdepartmental communication and resource access, all in an effort to concentrate on key performance indicators and meet sales or marketing targets set at the highest levels.

In short it’s a busy day, and it's full of high pressure responsibilities.

 Operations manager basic duties

  • Communicate with executives and senior management as a liaison between daily production or operations work
  • Oversee management of other departments to make sure they are on track to reach production targets and operational goals
  • Manage or implement new IT systems to compliment production and operations
  • Plan production methods and operations procedures and make available the resources for their function
  • Identify training needs for staff and management regarding operations or productions skills and ensure training is received
  • Set and manage budget for production and operations planning and meet production targets or operations goals within that budget
  • Manage and lead production and operations staff to meet targets and manage changing customer or client needs
  • Ensure production meets quality standards and complies with legal regulations
  • Supervise product inventory, storage, and distribution or quality of service provision

Becoming an Operations Manager

Operations manager job requirements

Education

A bachelor’s degree in business administration or management or a related field is a minimum requirement to be considered for an operations manager position.

Otherwise, a graduate degree in management or finance or an MBA are typical routes to becoming an operations manager. 

Experience

With a bachelor's degree, operations manager is typically a position that is worked up towards over a period of 7+ years at a company. Operations managers who work their way up through an organization acquire years of experience in administration and management of different departments, particularly through production or operations channels.

With a master's degree, fewer years of management and administration experience can be acceptable, particularly if that experience is gained across a couple of different related industries.

Skills

Companies and organizations screen for certain skills when reading an operations manager cover letter as well as when conducting operations manager interview questions. Among the most important ones are planning and organization, leadership and management, negotiation, problem solving, time management, communication and interpersonal skills, and IT proficiency is always a plus.

Ideal operations manager resume

At least 5-7 years experience in management within a manufacturing industry or the financial or technical services industries looks great on an operations manager resume. A master’s degree in business, management or engineering in an industry-related field are also top draws on any operations manager resume.

Highlighting innovative leadership or management experience, creative problem solving, streamlined policy making that leads to an organization’s improved financial performance are all resume gold in the operations manager world. They are also great qualities to add to an operations manager cover letter supplementing a resume or to sneak in to answers to operations manager interview questions.

''Operations manager is a high pressure job... they have their hands in managing all aspects of an organization...''

Another thing to note when writing an operations manager cover letter or when answering operations manager interview questions is that hiring companies often value internal experience and prefer to hire a known quantity.

Any information that shows knowledge of a hiring company’s specific business plan, it’s services or products, and trends in its industry can make a candidate with an attractive resume competitive with just about anyone. In short, it pays to do your research ahead of time!

 Operations manager salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) lists the median operations manager salary at $100,410 as of May 2017. BLS also lists job growth outlook for top executives (the professional category in which operations managers fall) between 2016-2026 at 8%, an average pace of growth.

Is operations manager the right job for me?

Operations manager is a high pressure job. They wear a lot of hats in any given day and manage several aspects of a business at once. In a way they have their hands in managing all aspects of a business or organization; all departments and teams help provide a product or a service to customers or users and the entire production or operation of that process is an operations manager’s purview.

It is an executive position, the type of job you either work your way up to in a company or apply for in another organization after demonstrating that you can improve profitability, quality, and efficiency of an entire product or service.

Operations managers also serve as the public face of a company to external regulators, quality controllers, and large-scale equipment and technical vendors, so you need to be ready to represent an organization with a diplomatic public relations approach and a sharp negotiator’s edge.

''...operations manager is near the top of the ladder at any company and only leads to higher positions...''

It is near the top of the ladder at any company and only leads to higher executive positions within them. Though that often means long hours, possible travel, high expectations, and responsibility for many people, that is also why U.S. News and World Report lists (business) operations manager at #5 in best business jobs, #20 in best paying jobs and #28 in top 100 jobs overall.

Top operations manager skills

Planning and organization - setting policies and systems and arranging access to resources that prepare all departments to be flexible to customer and user needs and meet financial growth targets

Leadership - guiding teams and departments through changes in production procedures or operations policies responding to customer and user needs, IT updates, and evolving business strategies

Management - overseeing the smooth functioning of production processes and the employees and managers involved in them

Negotiation - contracting and forming relationships with outside vendors for the highest quality and most cost-effective delivery of services, equipment and resources

Problem solving - troubleshooting customer concerns and logistics challenges as well as innovating solutions to new and evolving product or service initiatives

Time management - overseeing the meeting of production deadlines and prioritizing the demands of multiple ongoing aspects of operations functioning

Communication - producing reports and making presentations for executive appraisal as well as creating policies and procedures to unify departments behind key performance indicators and sales targets

Financial/market strategy - understanding the product or service within its market, strategizing production and budgeting operations to meet the demands of the market and business strategies

IT proficiency - matching operations and strategic needs with latest software developments, streamlining production, inventory and response to customer and user needs

Similar or related job titles

  • Chief operations officer (COO)
  • General manager
  • Corporate vice president
  • Floor manager
  • Area manager
  • Production manager
  • Factory superintendent
  • Manufacturing manager
Last updated: 04 Feb 2019

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