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careers in operations management

Businesses are complicated things with many things happening at the same time. Someone needs to manage these operations and operations management offers very diverse and rewarding career opportunities.

The public sees the face, the branding, the products, the services. But when you start looking a bit deeper … Well, they’re a bit like a stage production going on. There are layers upon layers beneath the surface, all of which are quite necessary to ensure the event is a hit – or in this case, that the company runs smoothly. Operations management is the function of seeing that things run smoothly, offering big returns for big responsibilities.

Some of us are born CEOs. We’re the lead roles, the leaders, the ones who take charge, the ones who say what needs to be said. We talk the talk, we walk the walk, and we get the name of the company out there.

Some of us are more in the background. We get stuck into the bits and pieces of business that need organising – the little, and yet not so little things. We may not be seen and heard as often as others, but backstage, things are getting done.

A balance of these two sides, external and internal, is very important to ensure to hassle-free functioning of a company.

Operations management course info

As long as there are businesses being operated, there will be a need for people to manage the various operations going on. This not-so-little aspect of business is known as Operations Management, and is highly important to get right if you wish to have a successful company.

There are a multitude of careers that are covered by the term Operations Management, but all of them involve … Well, managing some sort of operations. As the saying goes, what’s outside reflects what’s on the inside, and if you want to show the world a smooth, effective and successful business, this needs to start inside – with Operations Management.

What Exactly is Operations Management?

Businesses most often have various departments that work together to get stuff done. What the outsider doesn’t see though, is that these things don’t just fall into place magically – behind the scenes, there’s a whole lot of organising and coordinating going on.

Operations Management is a crucial part of any business. Simply put, this is ensuring that the day to day activities that are necessary for the business to keep running are done efficiently and effectively, every single working day.

Different types of businesses require different types of management, depending on what they do. A business that makes furniture, for example, is going to need somebody to manage the purchasing of raw materials to get their products out, while a company that offers consulting services may need to focus more on hiring someone to oversee the technological side of their business.

Either way, the goal of an Operations Manager is to turn inputs into outputs, in the most effective way possible. What this basically means is that Operations Management is all about managing the various processes that happen in order to create the product that the public sees – the goods or services the company offers.

There are four core principles that need to be implemented in the Operations Management of a business, in order to turn these inputs into useful, tangible outputs.

Planning

As we’ve all heard before, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The action involved in this step is super important, and depends on what area of the business you’re involved in managing, and what exactly the business does.

If the business is product-oriented, this could include selection of raw materials, quantity needed, and the steps involved in the actual production process. If your company is service-oriented, this could lean more towards advertising and implementation of marketing strategies.

In both cases, budgeting, scheduling, and time management are things that need to be planned in advance. Planning should always have one goal in mind – taking steps to achieve the goals of the business, and doing so in the most cost-effective and time-saving ways possible.

Organising

Once the planning is done, the Operations Manager will now know what exactly needs to be organised. This could be getting in touch with suppliers, organising meetings, implementing strategies, research, and deciding which jobs need to be done by which people.

Essentially, this is putting all the above-mentioned plans into practice, and making sure everybody has a part to play.

Leading / Coordinating

Although there may be many Operations Managers within a company in various capacities, they cannot do everything themselves. Part of their job is delegating, coordinating communications between the necessary people, and following up to ensure that things are being done.

Communication is an incredibly important skill to have in any Operations Management position. A very large part of management involves people, and so the ability to communicate effectively is necessary in order to get this step right and make sure everybody knows their role in the process.

Controlling

This includes quality control, analysis and assessment of procedures and strategies, and making sure that things are carried out in the manner discussed in the planning stage.

This can relate to budgeting, time constraints, quality and quantity of materials, timeous delivery and effective production protocols.

Education

An Operations Manager is required to know their way around business, and so typically, an educational background in some business-related field is required. While many companies are more comfortable trusting the ins and outs of their business planning to a degree-holder, they may forgo the qualification if the Operations Manager has a significant amount of management experience.

It is also highly beneficial to have some knowledge of and experience in computer applications and IT, and also in the particular type of goods or service the company offers.

Operations management course info

Careers in Operations Management