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There is a seemingly endless list of job opportunities for a person going into Operations Management as a career. Due to the vast array of types of businesses out there, there is always something different to be managed, and always a need for people to do the managing.

Here are just a few of the more common career opportunities that fall under the Operations Management umbrella:

Supply Chain Manager

In any production process, whether that’s building a house, manufacturing a cellphone or producing a new piece of software, there is an order in which things are done. This is called the supply chain – and the Supply Chain Manager is responsible for making sure this process runs without a hitch.

This is a very active role in the chain of things, and involves many different areas of the actual process. The Supply Chain Manager will make purchasing decisions, source raw materials, liaise with suppliers, ensure deliveries arrive on time, oversee inventory and supervise the production process.

Another part of this job is hiring, training and evaluating employees in the production process. The people are as important a part as the raw materials, and the Supply Chain Manager will need to ensure that safety protocols are followed, production schedules are stuck to, and everybody knows their role.

A lot of administration work goes into this too – budgets need to be considered, negotiations need to be made with suppliers, procedures need to analysed for effectiveness, records need to be kept of all purchases and communications and reports need to be issued to the necessary people.

A good understanding of principles of accounting, finance, contracts and legal documents is necessary to be a Supply Chain Manager.

Quality Assurance Manager

The most important role of a Quality Assurance Manager is to ensure that products meet certain quality standards. This entails not only physically assessing the products as well the machinery involved in the process, but also going deep into the statistics and data to see what needs to be improved or changed, in order to keep producing the highest quality possible.

This can be a challenging job, as you will be required to keep up with the specific standards of your industry, as well as regulations relating to the manufacturing process, shipping and selling of products.

It is the job of the Quality Assurance Manager to formulate company-specific quality standards for products, and to make these standards known and ensure they are adhered to. There may be many different sets of standards for different things – one for raw materials, one for storage, one for the layout of the production process, one for the training of employees.

A Quality Assurance Manager would draft, distribute, and make sure that these are followed to the last letter, to make sure standards are kept. This is an ongoing and never-ending process – the quality of a product or service is what keeps clients coming back for more.

Inventory Control Manager

As the name suggests, the Inventory Control Manager manages the company’s warehouse and inventory of goods. This role requires strong organisational skills, as the constant flow of the business means the stock needs to be kept at a level that’s neither too high or too low.

Tracking of materials, record keeping, re-ordering of supplies and auditing of inventory are all important parts of the Inventory Control Manager’s job. While this sounds a lot like simply keeping an eye on a bunch of inanimate objects, the correct management of a company’s physical assets is a huge responsibility.

Things such proper, safe storage of inventory, correct transportation of items and ensuring the stock is distributed timeously during the production process are all part of this role, and contribute towards maintaining the standards of quality within the business.

Operations Consultant

The role of Operations Consultant (also known as an Operations Researcher) is all about the data.

As with any consultant job, your knowledge is the gold dust here, and you will be required to analyse, research and pick apart the company’s data in order to propose effective improvements and solutions to problems.

The data doesn’t lie, and the Operations Consultant’s findings, and subsequent proposals for improvement, can assist in reducing costs, increasing productivity, and streamlining processes.

Operations Consultants are often self-employed, and are brought in by various companies to do data detective work. This is a very specialised area of operations, and as such, these data wizards are in high demand.

As an Operations Consultant you will likely be traveling to and from your clients’ workplaces, so the job is fast-paced and never boring.

Other titles that are popular in the Operations Management world are:

Material Manager
Logistics Manager
Production Supervisor
Business Operations Manager
Production Planner
Warehouse Manager
Purchasing Manager
Business Analyst

The majority of these jobs are very similar in their implementation, and the duties and responsibilities can overlap from one to another. To a certain extent, it depends on the company you’re hired by as to exactly what duties you fulfil, but managing operations of any kind requires the same kind of skill set and determination.

If you’re keen on a career in Operations Management, it is essential to have:

Excellent communication skills
Great organisational skills
A lot of patience
An ability to multitask
An analytical mind
A dash of creativity
A passion for management

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