When it comes to managing the day to day operations of a company, it’s up to the operations manager to step up to the plate and deliver. Operations managers are not only counted on to manage a company’s daily operations, but they must also be well versed in all aspects of those operations and their functions.
Whether it’s overseeing the company’s supply chain and inventory management practices, ensuring that interdepartmental procedures and processes are efficient and clear, analyzing the pros and cons on a capital expenditure or reviewing departmental and company budgets, there is simply no end to an operation manager’s responsibilities.
Because of their full range of influence, they often work closely will all department heads to ensure each has all the necessary tools and support they need. They are there as a reference to uphold the company’s policies and procedures, as well as make sure all employees are cognizant of the company’s overall goal and strategic initiatives.
Operations Managers often work with accounting and finance to ensure company wide budgets for all departments are within scope of the company’s overall budget. They must also work closely with human resources and are often involved in interviewing new employees. In fact, most companies insist their operations managers have a say in each and every new employee hired. Given this influence, they are also tasked with ensuring that each employee has a plan for his or her own personal and professional development objectives as they pertain to career advancement. Providing an all encompassing career plan and being the mediator between department disputes, are other responsibilities.
Operations managers earn considerable compensation for their efforts. According to Payscale.com, the average salary for operations managers in 2009 was between $44,413.00 and $78,875.00 annually. This includes base salary, bonuses, profit sharing and commissions. Sr. Project Managers of Operations earned between $79,383.00 and $124,600.00, Business Operations Managers earned $45,000.00 to $85,437.00 and the highest earners were Country Managers of Operations earning anywhere from $62,478.00 to $137,561.00 annually in 2009. Salaries depend largely upon the type of position held, the size of the company and the overall scope of responsibilities. Operations managers for small companies routinely earn less that those of larger corporations with offices around the globe. In that case, the country managers are often the most compensated based on experience and expertise.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Because the operations manager is a member of a company’s management team and in some instances oversees and manages department heads, they often report directly to the president or business owner of a given company. Operations managers must be well versed in accounting & finance, supply chain & inventory management, budget forecasting, timeline and goal setting, aligning interdepartmental goals and objectives, improving work processes & procedures and ultimately ensuring that the company’s operational costs are minimized. This often includes eliminating redundant and time consuming work procedures, streamlining reporting structures and eliminating waste between departments. In addition, operation managers are often called upon to spearhead the company’s strategic planning initiatives by matching sales forecasts with inventory, procurement and manufacturing capacity. The operation manager must be able to bridge the gap between the expectations of the company’s sales & marketing team and the realities and capacity of the company’s manufacturing and inventory management.
When it comes to managing production and inventory management, the operations manager must be able to contribute to the company’s gross profit objectives by constantly reducing costs and eliminating waste in all its forms. This can include increasing production capacity, reducing manufacturing cycle times, vendor consolidation and proper freight cost management.
Training and Education Requirements
The most common education requirement for operations managers includes securing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. This degree provides operation managers with the essential foundation needed for supply chain & inventory management approaches, accounting & finance, sales & marketing, production capacity matching and business management. A number of operation managers may secure an MBA (Master in Business Administration). Career advancement opportunities include lateral movements to other departmental positions or even to higher level operations positions including project planning, country management and product planning positions.
There are several certifications for operation managers. The most common certification includes the CPIM (Certified Production & Inventory Management) certification. The CPIM offers operations managers the opportunity to improve their skill set in supply chain management, inventory & production management, strategic planning, goal setting, aligning company wide objectives, business cost reduction and streamlining operations. Upon completion of the CPIM, several operation managers move onto the CFPIM (Certified Fellow Production & Inventory Management) certification. This certification expands on the above mentioned areas and encompasses taking these training modules one step further by partaking in exercises, role playing and presentations to peers and other professionals.
There are several professional associations available to join that provide operation managers with additional training, courses, books, tutorials and journals on the most up to date operations management techniques. Here is a summary of these associations below.
- APICS: American Productivity & Inventory Control Society
- POMS: Production and Operations Management Society
- INFORMS: Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
- EurOMA: European Operations Management Association
- Institute of Operations Management (based in the UK)
Most popular business careers:
- Business Administration
- Business Manager
- Claims Adjuster
- Human Resources
- Project Manager
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