When running a successful business, it’s crucial that you have a solid grasp on your business operations.
To ensure your company reaches its financial goals, an operations manager needs to make sure that all processes are mapped and streamlined in order to achieve the anticipated outcome.
There are many hats that an operations manager will wear within a company, assisting those working in finance, human resources, sales, and the IT sector. As an operations manager, you will need to keep track of how each area of the business is performing to ensure all projects and tasks are completed on time and according to plan. To get a better understanding, here is everything you need to know about operations management.
Functions of an Operations Manager
There are a wide variety of functions that an operations manager must perform within a company. All in all, the main purpose of an operations manager is to make sure that products and tasks are complete and delivered on time (within budget), as well as to make sure the outcome is successful. For the job to be carried out correctly, there are numerous steps that an operations manager must follow, which include:
- Creating and managing a budget
- Defining business policies
- Implementing training
- Project planning
- Increasing business efficiency
Create and Manage a Budget
Operations managers need to be in control of the financial side of the business. Once they have received their allocated budget from the client, they will need to take a closer look at the tools and resources needed to complete the project correctly. Part of budgeting involves:
- Defining - An operations manager will be given a task and need to allocate a budget towards tools and resources. Most businesses will have procedures and policies in place that the operations manager needs to adhere to.
When creating a budget, an operations manager will need to have the following:
- Cost estimates
- Basis of estimates
- Scope baseline
- Resource calendars
- Project schedule
- Executing - Executing means to put everything into action. An operations manager will need to work alongside the client to understand what is required of them throughout, and what resources and tools are needed to perform the task.
- Updating - No matter how much experience you have in operations management, there will be challenges and obstacles along the way. In some cases, you may need extra resources to complete the task, or need more time on a project. As an operations manager, you will need to make note of any challenges and alter your budget accordingly. Naturally, you will need to have this approved beforehand.
- Evaluation - In the last stage of the process, an operations manager needs to examine their budget to decide whether the allocated funds given have been sufficient from start to finish. Doing so will make sure that any future projects are carried out in the correct manner, helping to ensure projects are completed on time.
Defining Business Policies
To ensure the business operation is running efficiently, an operations manager must execute business policies to make sure staff know where they stand and what their role is within the organization. The policies set will also ensure that employees work in a safe and harmonious environment. An operations manager will need to understand the importance of delegation, which can provide numerous benefits, such as:
- Giving you the time to focus on other areas of the business
- Giving employees the ability to develop new skills
- Building trust and improving communication
- Improving productivity and efficiency in the workplace
Understandably, efficiency is regarded as a crucial aspect for an operations manager. For employees to excel in their work, regular training is vital. An operations manager may suggest training seminars or courses that go hand in hand with improving job efficiency, as well as career advancement. Ensuring that policies and training meet the business’s standards is essential.
To run a successful business, high-level planning is a must. As an operations manager, you will need to understand the importance of scheduling which can help with arranging project plans, work structure breakdowns, resource workloads, as well as setting realistic timelines. Some of the benefits of project planning include:
- Setting clear objectives
- Better chance of hitting milestones
- Reducing risk
- More efficient resource allocation
- Identifying task dependencies
Increase Business Efficiency
A company is only successful if all sectors are working together and as a unit. If you all have a common goal in mind, you stand a better chance of completing projects and tasks successfully and within the timeframe set. The main purpose of an operations manager is to make sure that all objectives and goals are met, helping to ensure that the company is running efficiently. Regardless of what support an area of the business needs, it’s up to the operations manager to ensure they get the help and guidance necessary.
Careers in Operations Management
There are numerous career options that you can go down within the operations management sector, such as:
- Logistics Manager
- Operations Research Analyst
- Business Operations Manager
- Quality Assurance Manager
A logistics manager tends to be found in the supply chain industry. As a logistics manager, you will need to be focused on providing accurate and efficient work. Some of the main responsibilities of a logistics manager include:
- Negotiating with suppliers
- Managing stock levels
- Sorting out delivery times
- Managing transport
- Analyzing system data
Operations Research Analyst
If you are excellent at problem-solving, becoming an operations research analyst may be the perfect role for you. Through statistical analysis, optimization, and data mining, an operations research analyst can help to provide solutions to company inefficiencies. To succeed in this role, you will need to be proficient in analytics and math. Some of the duties you will be expected to carry out as an operations research analyst include:
- Making business decisions
- Analyzing data
- Using creative problem-solving skills
- Providing recommendations
Business Operations Manager
As one of the most sought-after positions, a business operations manager is expected to execute and manage the business’s operational activities. This means that you will be overseeing day to day operations to make sure objectives and targets are achieved. This role requires you to retain a ‘big picture’ perspective, meaning that because you are aware of the objectives set by the business, you will need to have an overview of what is going on in each area of the business. Some of the main duties of a business operations manager include:
- Creating and managing budgets
- Ensuring company compliance
- Overseeing business procedures and policies
- Staying in the know on employment practices and trends
Quality Assurance Manager
If you have excellent attention to detail, becoming a quality assurance manager may best suit you. Before products make their way onto the market, it’s important that they meet a high-quality threshold first, so as a quality assurance manager, you will be responsible for:
- Managing suppliers
- Leading teams
- Supervising the production process
- Providing training for new employees
Gaining Skills and Qualifications
To succeed in operations management, there are key skills and qualifications that you will need to undertake first. Some of the soft skills necessary for smooth operations management include:
As an operations manager, you will need to implement and execute procedures and policies. To do this correctly and effectively, possessing strong leadership skills is vital. Being a good leader will mean you’re able to communicate well with employees, be great at motivating your team towards success, as well as have the knowledge and ability to adapt well to obstacles and challenges. As a leader, you must also learn the strengths and weaknesses of your team.
No matter the work environment, there are obstacles that you will come across which tend to be in the form of conflict. For an operations manager to perform their job correctly, you will need to listen carefully to other people’s points of view, identify points of agreements and disagreements, as well as curate a plan to resolve conflicts. Making sure that every member of the team feels heard and has a voice is important.
Business environments can become heated and stressful at any given time. When working on a project, changes can and do happen by the minute, so it’s important that you are flexible and open to change as an operations manager.
In addition to the attributes listed above, you will need to undertake relevant education to ensure you have the qualifications and credentials required by employers. Obtaining a master’s in operations management will teach you the core strategies needed to flourish in this kind of role. You can click here to find out more information about what the course entails, as well as overall fees.
Whether your goal is to launch your own startup or work for a business, it’s crucial that you understand the importance of operations management. For productivity and efficiency levels to be at their highest, it’s up to an operations manager to oversee day to day operations, helping to ensure employees are happy and confident in their roles.