The role of an operations manager may vary by industry, but some requirements of the position remains constant. Operations managers are responsible for keeping everything running smoothly and profitably. For such a simply titled position, the responsibilities are vast.
General Role of an Operations Manager
An operations manager is in charge of directing the company's daily activities for the benefit of employees, management, investors and customers. This requires organizing and synchronizing the activities of various managers and departments within a company and making sure the schedules, meetings and goals of each department work in harmony.
Communications and Conflict Resolution
A person in the role of an operations manager must be a master communicator to be effective and successful. If even one of the departments or managers she deals with has a change in plans, goals or objectives, it could significantly affect the company's overall operations. Her role requires:
- Quick assessment of the effects of changing circumstances
- Developing coping strategies that influence the positive contributions of various departments
- Spotting conflicts early on and resolving them to the satisfaction of all involved parties.
- The ability to quickly and independently process ideas and implement changes
Planning and Scheduling Skills
Proactively planning and scheduling projects is another important part of an operations manager's job. This requires:
- Interacting with a myriad of outside agencies and organizations
- Making sure the company's key personnel are available as needed.
- Simultaneously arranging multiple projects
- Effective time management
- Meeting with and ironing out details with numerous outside contractors, service providers and vendors
- Ensuring that deadlines are met without compromising quality
Excellent computer software skills are great assets for an operations manager. A successful operations manager is:
- Proficient in commonly software applications like Microsoft Office, Word and Excel
- Able to electronically communicate internally and externally using public and private email and messaging programs
- Adept at planning schedules utilizing computer spreadsheet and calendar software
- An expert in creating visual presentations with multimedia software
An operations manager provides administrative support and direction to various managers and departments. These duties often include:
- Regularly reviewing and sometimes revising the general manager's schedule on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
- Confirming itineraries and meetings with key corporate contacts
Human Resources Duties
Since an operations manager is involved in the daily activities of multiple departments, the job normally requires participation in human resources functions like:
- Screening, hiring and orientating new employees
- Providing input on performance reviews and evaluations
- Recommending skill development programs
- Participating in decisions regarding terminations or layoffs
Preferred Education and Experience
Educational requirements for an operations manager vary greatly from company to company and according to industry. A Bachelor's degree is sometimes required, but not always. Comparable work experience is sometimes considered the equivalent of a degree for these types of positions. An appropriate background may include clerical or administrative support positions that required two essentials for an effective operations manager, proven performance as an excellent communicator and proficiency in multi-tasking.
Progressing to positions with more responsibility and increased compensation are often accelerated by enrolling in company sponsored or college-level management training programs. General knowledge of higher-level management opportunities and requirements is available through attending conferences and seminars, events that also provide chances to develop industry contacts through networking. Credentialed programs for management certification through executive training organizations like the Institute of Certified Professional Managers are available. Earning management credentials does not guarantee advancement but adds validity to your resume and indicates an interest in evolving management techniques and trends.
According to PayScale.com, as of 2011 the annual salary range for an operations manager in the United States was between $44,874 and $74,862. Salaries vary in different parts of the country and largely depend on demographics and regional economic conditions.