What Does an Operations Manager Do?
The General Picture
You’ve probably watched that movie scene where a tall and bulky gentleman, standing in the middle of a warehouse or production area, is yelling out orders. And the next scene often rolls to the man giving detailed reports to a steely-faced guy, dressed in a three-piece, smoking a thick Cuban. That’s an operations manager giving reports to the shrewd capitalist. Well, that’s his job.
Sometimes it can get very hectic, if production levels required are high. In the manufacturing sector, the production manager job description, general manager job description, and project manager job description can be quite similar, and quite a few times these words are used for the same resource.
While the term “operations manager” usually gives the picture of a factory and production, it actually varies from sector to sector, in terms of its job description and associated responsibilities. Let’s explore this broad dimension.
Definition of an Operation Manager’s Job Type
In short, an operations manager is a resource responsible for overseeing, designing, and redesigning business operations in the production of goods and/or services. However, the work doesn’t necessarily remain restricted to in-house activities. A lot of times it requires interactions with customers to get a better view of customer requirements and convert them into productivity.
Skill-Set of an Operation Manager
Regardless of the sector, the operations manager job description firstly entails problem-solving abilities. When a complaint comes in, the ops manager needs to discuss details with elements involved and then chalk out an action plan.
A lot of times there are back logs and bottlenecks that will not wither away through a confrontational approach. In such situations, the resource needs to identify the problem, and also identify the easiest way around it to create a win-win situation.
Another core chunk of the operations manager job description is decision making ability. Quite a few times, the situation demands an excellent analysis of market and social conditions to be incorporated into the decision. It is important to be knowledgeable. Furthermore, the decision obviously has to be based on logical criteria. It is the ops manager’s job to design a framework for decision making, whether that is related to human resources or supplier evaluation etc.
Planning and Organizing
The elements of planning and organizing are obviously central to the operations manager job description. There needs to be constant liaison with other employees and management, to ensure that every one is on the same page across the enterprise. Natural leadership abilities have to be put to the job.
Duties and Responsibilities
Managing and Improvising Organizational Hierarchy: The most core duty that falls on the ops manager’s shoulders is improving operational systems, processes and policies. The individual has to provide an environment where the core enterprise elements of management reporting, information flow and management, business process enhancement are headed for newer horizons.
Productivity Enhancement: Only through this approach can an ops manager be able to deliver the productivity required.
Financial and Budgetary Management Arena
Budget Organization and Planning: One of the most significant responsibilities of an operations manager, this section has quite a lot of duties. Firstly, an ops manager directs annual budgeting and planning keeping in mind the overall organizational budget. Then, he needs to hedge monthly and quarterly assessments and forecasts of organization’s financial performance against budget, financial and operational goals.
Account Processing: Further, the incumbent needs to manage day-to-day processing of accounts receivable and payable, which implies basic knowledge of accounting software such as Quickbooks. In some organizations, the operations manager is also part of fund-raising, which means that when the organization is presented to potential investors and venture capitalists, the operations manager needs to take the charge.
Conveyance of Financial Information: Finally, the operations manager often has to relay financial information to the Board of Directors or whatever authority sits on top according to organization structure.
Quality Control as per Specifications: In the manufacturing sector, the operations manager has the responsibility of ensuring that the machinery and equipment used have the ability to produce goods and services at a defined standard. He also coordinates with the quality assurance personnel to ensure that the goods produced are meeting that standard and generating positive feedback from clients.
Overlooking Chain Operations: Often because the manufacturing sector has a chain going from operations and production to distribution and warehousing, the individual needs to perform liaison with these departments as well.
Sector by Sector Variations
Whilst the general duties and responsibilities have been outlined, there are always differences according to the nature of operations. For eg. a hotel operations manager job description is a lot different from a construction operations manager job description, and a retail operations manager job description will have something, but not everything, similar to a distribution operations manager job description.
At the end of the day, it’s all about productivity, that is the core of the operations manager job description.