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What is operations management?

Operations management is key to any business as one of the functions of being an operations manager is being responsible for equipping other employees with the necessary skills, in order to ensure that the final product or service is of great quality before it reaches the customer. It is aimed at analyzing and improving the work environment, supplier selection, budget and supply chain management with the intent of optimizing corporate infrastructure. There is a high demand for operations managers with an ops management qualification as almost every business needs an ops manager, and yet not everyone realizes it.

An operation manager is in charge of ensuring the highest level of efficiency is achieved within a business, by continuously assessing the effectiveness of the current systems in place and improving them if necessary. They are, however, mainly concerned with supply chain management and production, and in order to achieve the best productivity results in a business, the operations management department would need to implement the 4 management principles: planning, coordinating, organizing and controlling which are essential aspects to achieve operations management success. Operation managers are known to be dependable and service orientated and they should have problem-solving knowledge as it is vital in their field as many problems may arise in the production process.

Despite the type of operations manager, you may be, a basic understanding of tactical, operational and strategic decision making is needed. All businesses work with people, either in delivering a product or service or in the general running of the business, therefore you need people skills. Being a manager of any sort comes with stress and you would, therefore, need to develop a tolerance against stress as well as the ability to work in teams and delegate and lead your subordinates if need be. It is extremely important for a successful operations manager to be adaptable to change as change may be needed in order to enhance the capabilities of the business, which as a result will help the organization sustain their success. You would also need to also be equipped with the means to manage day-to-day activities, read and interpret as well as write reports. You would need to be realistic by not only providing constructive feedback to employees but by listening to their concerns too. It is critical that, as an operations management professional, you maintain an open line of communication with your team, in order for all members to strategically work together.

Operations management career prospects

Operations management has a large variety of roles and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled. Therefore, many businesses have different types of operation management career possibilities, that one could be interested in, such as:

A material manager, who is responsible for managing the warehouse, logistics of materials used for production, and ensuring the correct item is purchased, at the correct time, for the correct price. He or she uses the knowledge and understanding of dispatch and warehousing to run their sector effectively.

A purchasing manager has the role of coordinating all aspects related to the purchase of raw materials or services such as quality, quality, price and the delivery time. He or she utilizes their skills on how to plan the supply based on their forecasted demand.

A quality assurance manager, whose main aim is to prevent production deficiencies by identifying and correcting them. He or she carries the responsibility of sampling and inspecting the completed product.

The logistics manager manages the product or service’s supply chain with the goal of improving the efficiency of shipping and receiving items.

Restaurant operations managers to supervise inventory, attend to customer complaints, manage the floor staff as well as ensure overall customer satisfaction.

Regional retail operations managers, normally start of managing one store’s operation as a gateway to managing all the branches of that sore in a specific region. There is a lot of responsibility involved in trying to maintain the same standard across all stores. Extremely flawless customer service skills are needed as you would likely be dealing with customer feedback.

A healthcare operations manager has more data capturing and analysis involved as you would constantly be looking for ways to improve the healthcare department. You would be searching for new software, equipment, and supplies to improve medical services offered.

Industries that need operation managers

Due to the great need for an increase in production efficiency in every business, operations managers are needed in all industries, even service industries. One could seize an opportunity in a manufacturing or service businesses and educational or governmental institutions. One could become an operational manager in industries such as pharmaceutical, consulting services, telecommunications, medical technology, laser technology, fiber optics, automotive manufacturing, robotics engineering, and an extremely large industry is hospitality.

Being an operations manager gives you the potential advantage of working in any business, in any industry whilst performing the general duties pertaining to that particular industry. It opens up opportunities in many industries for one to choose from.

Research by has shown that operation managers could earn an approximate average of R311,249.00 per year depending on the industry in which they work as well as their performance. There are many opportunities for operation managers to improve themselves and in turn, potentially increase their pay. Studying operations management allows for one to better their personal characteristics by working on one’s communication skills, people skills, stress tolerance, as well as one’s ability to work under pressure and would open a world of industries that you could work in.