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Operations Manager Career Guide

If you’re a person who loves taking charge and is an expert at analyzing and improving organizational processes, becoming an operations manager may be the perfect role for your next job! 

Operations managers are an important part of any management team. Managing people, budgets, operations, projects, and strategy are all responsibilities that an operations manager will oversee.  

Operations managers assist the human resources department to recruit and hire, while also implementing policies and strategies to improve workflow and efficiency. The perfect fit for this position will be a creative problem solver who works to improve revenue and processes. A manager of operations also ensures the financial well being of a company by finding ways to minimize expenses while maximizing revenue. 

Operations managers have a strong understanding of finance and budgeting. They have excellent interpersonal skills to communicate with executives and employees while creating and administering policies.

Sample job description

As a fast-growing company, [Your Company Name] is looking for professionals who want to grow with us. We need leaders who are passionate about being a leader and managing a team of people. We’re searching for an expert operations manager to help take care of daily operations, communicate effectively, and deliver exceptional results. As an ideal candidate, you have proven experience in an operations role. Your ability to evaluate and analyze complex information is second to none, and you have natural leadership skills that help motivate and inspire employees.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Assess and analyze line budget 
  • Set individual and team targets
  • Assist in planning, implementation, and follow up of manufacturing lines
  • Identify potential problems and work to find solutions
  • Develop, implement, and maintain quality assurance protocols 
  • Create initiatives and further the company’s goals 
  • Oversee materials and inventory management 
  • Monitor daily deliveries, create reporting metrics, and actively review information
  • Coordinate different teams to exchange ideas
  • Manage communications throughout departments

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, operations management, or related field 
  • Two years of related experience in operations management

Required skills and qualifications

  • Strong organizational skills
  • Impeccable attention to detail
  • Strong and proven experience leading field or manufacturing in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to convey instructional information across audiences
  • Solid understanding of budgeting and financial principles 
  • Ability to problem solve, prioritize multiple projects, and adhere to strict deadlines

Preferred qualifications

  • Working understanding of management software programs
  • Strong IT skills
  • Financial and accounting reporting
  • Appropriate state licensing
  • Ability to work evenings or weekends on request
  • Bilingual communication skills.

Typical work environment

Operations managers work in an office or on a production line as part of a team. These managers work closely with support staff, including admin roles and production roles. Travel may be required, especially if you work in the head office or need to visit different branches or sites. This will vary depending on the size of the business and number of offices.

Operations managers usually keep regular office hours, but some may be required to work evenings or weekends depending on the busy season. Work is usually performed indoors, but may occasionally require outdoor working conditions or factory working conditions.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an operations manager in an office setting are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Operations managers may be required to work outside of these hours and may also require working weekends, though this is a rarity.

Available certifications

Operational managers work in industries varying from supply chains to office positions, and there are many institutions that offer additional certifications to stand out from the crowd, including:

  • Certified Manager. This certification is offered by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. For this certification, an exam is required as well as attending continuing education to maintain the certification. 
  • Program Management Professional. Program Management Professional (PMP) is the world’s leading program management certification and can help set you apart in your future career. A PMP certification exam is required to be certified. 
  • Certified Supply Chain Professional.  Operations managers that are responsible for supply chain strategy or design, demand planning and management, customer relation management, supply chain financial management, or managing and assessing risk in the supply chain, should consider becoming a Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP). There are different methods to earning this certification, such as self-study, instructor-led, instructor-supported, and corporate/group training. An exam must be passed to become CSCP certified. 

Career path

The journey to becoming an operations manager begins with obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business management, finance, industrial technology, or a related field. 

Students who aspire to be an operations manager could go on to a master’s degree program if wanting to advance into senior or executive level management. 

It can also be useful for operations managers to obtain certifications in their chosen industry.

Operation management is not an entry-level position, so prior experience in business-related areas such as financial control, supply chain management, manufacturing, customer service, etc. will help gain valuable experience that will be used as an operations manager.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-1021

2020 Employment2,411,900
Projected Employment in 20302,638,200
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 9% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift226,300 increase

Mobilized communications play an important role in the future role of operations managers, as companies rely on mobile communications for informed operations. 

Another critical role of operations managers will be to maintain the health and safety of employees, especially as companies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Reducing the number of work-related health incidents/workplace accidents will be critical. Operations managers will become more commonplace as businesses adjust to the ever-changing world.

To create better chances for future employment, operations managers must also understand and analyze factors that influence buying decisions such as product quality, delivery time, and customer service.