If you are interested in a career change and have always liked the idea of managing the operations of a large company, becoming an operations manager may be the right option for you. Analyzing and improving organizational processes, and working to enhance the efficiency, quality, and productivity of the workplace are just some of the key duties you will be expected to carry out as an operations manager.
While there are many responsibilities that you will have to shoulder, it’s crucial that you have the right skills in order to improve business operations. With that in mind, here is a brief guide on operations management, and the key attributes needed to flourish in this position.
What Is an Operations Manager?
If you work as an operations manager, you will occupy a senior position within an organization. Your main goal will be to ensure the business is running as efficiently as it can, providing an excellent service to its customers and clients. You will need to ensure that expectations and needs of the consumers are met. In a nutshell, an operations manager will ensure that everything runs smoothly, giving people the best experience possible of the business. While there will be obstacles and challenges along the way, having the right skills behind you will give you the tools needed to succeed.
If a career as an operations manager sounds right for you, it’s vital that you understand the responsibilities and duties required of you. While specific tasks will differ from business to business, some of the typical obligations include:
- Managing activities that are linked with the production of goods and services
- Managing the operations process
- Embracing performance, control, planning, and design
- Liaising with other members of the team
- Reading and writing reports
- Planning for change and knowing how to control it
- Managing quality assurance programs
- Understanding budget forecasting and management
- Researching new technologies
Experience & Qualifications
In order to qualify for an operations management role, it’s important that you have the right experience and qualifications first. When seeking out an operations management role, the job description will vary, however, the following tend to be mandatory for this kind of role:
- A university degree in management, commerce, business administration, or industrial technology
- Production experience in the industry you choose to go into
- Sound knowledge of business management practices and principles
- Understanding of accounting practices and principles
- Experience in operations management and organizational effectiveness
- Excellent IT skills
If you decide to complete your operations management degree with a school like Kettering University Online, you can find more information via their website on the best operations management books that can help you with your course. The last thing you want is for your time to be wasted, so having the right reading materials throughout your degree can help you strive for the best grade possible.
Understandably, one of the most sought-after attributes employers look for in an operations manager is management skills. As part of your role, you will be expected to manage teams across several departments in order to achieve company objectives and goals. Management skills are crucial for helping the company run efficiently, as well as boosting your own career aspirations. Operations managers also need to be strong leaders and know how to inspire and motivate their team towards success.
As an operations manager, you will need to engage with different stakeholders in the company and share your findings, making presentation skills another key attribute to possess. Presentation skills are important for many reasons, including:
- Keeping members of the business engaged
- Keeping the presentation interesting
- Helping you present your findings with confidence
- Motivating the audience to communicate
You may need to deliver results to senior management and other sectors of the business, so knowing how to present your findings in a clear and cohesive manner is key.
To ensure communication is working correctly between departments, people skills are another important trait to work as an operations manager. If communication lines aren’t open, this can have a major impact on business efficiency and productivity. If you learn strong people skills, this will help you to:
- Communicate your ideas correctly
- Influence others positively
- Ensure that everyone in the team feels comfortable in their role
- Quickly build rapport
No matter how much experience you have as an operations manager, challenges will present themselves when you least expect it. To flourish in this role, you will be required to think outside the box and come up with immediate solutions to problems. If you aren’t able to think on your feet, this can waste time and money. Ultimately, structuring and planning are key components that will help you overcome problems easier, however, good judgment and good luck will play a part in solving the matter.
There are always new trends, developments, and software that you will be expected to know about as an operations manager. It’s important that you stay up to date with relevant IT systems that are related to your business, as well as monitoring new technologies to determine whether they can benefit the company in the future. A lot of your time will be spent behind a monitor as an operations manager, so having excellent IT skills is a must in order for employers to notice your resume. Some of the benefits of IT skills include:
- Having confidence in using emerging technology
- Becoming faster at finishing tasks
- Saving time and money
- Allowing you to solve technical problems independently
Effective at Supply Chain Management
A thorough knowledge of supply chain management is crucial for operations managers. Working within a business to design and execute supply chain strategies will help increase productivity, as well as lower risks. As a leader, you will need to deliver effective approaches to supply chain management, meaning a sound knowledge of warehousing, manufacturing, transportation, and customer service is important. No matter what kind of business you are in, products need to be delivered to customers in a timely and cost-effective way, so getting to grips with supply chain management before applying for a role is essential.
Understand Financial Performance
An operations manager is responsible for contributing to their business’s financial performance. To be successful in this field, you will need to learn how to prepare expense budgets and sales projections, as well as analyze balance sheets. Learning financial performance of a company allows you to:
- Make strategic decisions
- Help support long-term profitability
- Understand how money comes in and out of a business
To be efficient as an operations manager, you will need to use business planning software which will help you create a comprehensive list of financial projections, charts, and reports in a shorter timescale.
For a business to thrive and stay on track, an operations manager needs to learn the importance of motivation. Building a strong team and creating positive relationships can only be beneficial in the long run, helping to create a productive and efficient team. Understanding the individual requirements and needs of your staff will help you flourish as an operations manager. A well-motivated workforce can help:
- Improve productivity
- Reduce levels of absenteeism
- Improve relationships
- Lower levels of staff turnover
Tracking and Measuring Staff Performance
It’s crucial to lay out work objectives for each member of your team to measure their progress. Operations managers need to implement precise measurements that let their staff know how well they are performing in their position. This will not only provide you with a clearer base for staff recognition but for employee development too. Also, measuring and monitoring performance will provide feedback that enables you to concentrate on success factors to enhance the overall company’s performance.
The difference between a successful operations manager and an unhappy one can be found in the ability to make sure tasks and projects are completed through others. If you are interested in this role, learning how to delegate tasks responsibly is a key requirement. Some of the main benefits of delegating include:
- Giving you the time to focus on higher-level projects
- Giving others the chance to learn and enhance their skillset
- Developing trust between employees
- Improving communication
- Increasing efficiency and time management
Developing Your Operations Management Career
One of the main benefits of the operations management sector is that there are numerous positions available in practically every industry. Whether this is government institutions, education, retail, or service organizations, operations management is a key skill for every kind of organization. As businesses begin to expand globally, there are numerous roles that require excellent operations management skills, such as:
- Process engineer
- Logistics analyst
- Purchasing manager
- Facilities coordinator
- Customer service manager
- Operations analyst
- Transportation manager
While a career as an operations manager can be highly rewarding and fulfilling, many individuals want to take the next step and seek higher roles. Once you have gained the necessary qualifications and experience, all the roles listed above can be great positions to acquire, helping you to use your operations management skills to your advantage.
Playing the essential role of monitoring every aspect of a company, an operations manager must always be on the lookout for ways to improve business operations. If you like a challenge and want to make a difference, all the key skills and information listed above can help set you up for a promising career as an operations manager.