Operations managers are integral to the success and growth of the companies they serve. Their roles are broad. Though their specific duties can vary depending on their industry, operations managers are generally involved in managing the day-to-day activities of a business.
A wide range of industries employ operations managers, including logistics, retail, healthcare, and construction. Oftentimes, the specifics of these industries will affect the specifics of the position. Operations managers working in manufacturing, for instance, would have a greater focus on overseeing and streamlining the production of goods within the company. Meanwhile, an operations manager working in healthcare would spend time managing the efficiency of various health services and implementing policies to protect the safety of patients and healthcare staff.
Regardless of the specific industry, however, operations managers require a wide range of business and people skills to succeed, as their role requires them to handle both operational and human elements within an organization.
An Operations Manager Responsibilities
What does an operations manager do, precisely? Operation managers occupy a senior role within their organization, and as such they have a number of unique duties to juggle. These duties can include human resource management tasks, according to Payscale, such as:
- Setting strategies and objectives for the organization’s human resources (HR) team
- Assessing skill gaps within an organization and filling said gaps with new hires
- Training staff and managers to carry out their duties efficiently
- Providing guidance and motivation to teams within an organization
- Acting as a consult to managers on specific policies and addressing staff questions regarding HR-related matters
- Monitoring HR databases and recommending new software to address the organization’s HR needs
- Facilitating communication between staff and various departments
- Resolving interdepartmental conflicts
- Creating a positive work culture that promotes high morale and performance
- Creating reports on an organization’s HR costs
In performing these duties, operations managers will look for ways to optimize costs to an organization and streamline the functions of personnel to prevent the organization from becoming bloated. Staffing needs aren’t the only purview of operations managers, though, they are also heavily involved in crafting the overall strategy necessary to achieve an organization’s goal and ensuring peak efficiency, taking on duties like:
- Setting the objectives for individual departments within an organization
- Creating policies to guide the production of goods or the delivery of services an organization offers
- Ensuring goods are produced or services are delivered in a cost-effective and quality manner
- Improving operational effectiveness by supporting policies like improved management reporting and increased information sharing between departments
- Managing quality assurance programs
- Creating sales forecasts
- Setting key performance indicators and ensure the organization is meeting its targets
- Researching new technologies and methodologies that can help improve performance
Operations managers may help manage an organization’s resources and budget, attending to tasks like:
- Determining inventory needs and providing oversight for purchasing supplies
- Ensuring warehouses are run effectively and can accommodate the organization’s inventory
- Managing the supply chain and minimizing production costs
- Develop individual budgets for the organization’s departments
- Interpreting financial data, using it to improve profitability
- Performing cost-benefit analyses on internal programs
- Addressing long-term sustainability concerns
Helping assess and avoid risk is also part of an operations manager’s role, and they might be tasked with:
- Overseeing and reviewing an organization’s insurance policies
- Consult with the organization’s legal counsel in reference to topics like regulations, copyrights, and business partnerships
- Identifying and addressing potential problems within an organization before they arise
Overall, operations managers are leaders within their organization who are essential to long-term success and business growth. They work with an organization’s board to help shape the organization’s mission, and with other managers and staff to set specific goals and ensure the long-term mission is met.
Typical Operations Manager Salary and Requirements
As of May 2017, the mean annual salary for operations managers within the United States was $100,410, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. In Florida, specifically, the annual mean is slightly higher, at $117,820 per year. The outlook for operations manager salaries is currently strong, with the wages expected to grow by 7 percent between 2014 and 2024.
The career of an operations manager is relatively secure, lucrative and versatile. It’s an attractive path for those interested in a career that commands a high level of respect and imparts plenty of transferable skills that will work across industries. It also involves a hefty amount of responsibility, and it requires prospective candidates to possess key skills and a certain level of education or experience to fill the role effectively.
While a bachelor’s degree in business is sufficient for operations managers in some fields, employers often prioritize or specifically search for candidates with advanced education to fill this role. One or two-year programs like a Master of Business Administration help impart additional skills, like strategy and accounting, that are useful in the role of operations manager. Plus, with an online MBA, you’ll be able to further your education while balancing your busy work and life schedules.
Ave Maria University offers online programs for both a bachelor’s degree in business and an MBA. Our programs are designed to maximize your competency in both theoretical and practical approaches that can be immediately applied in the workplace in a flexible and convenient format.