One of the most crucial components of any organization or institution is its operations management department. How well an organization operates depends fundamentally on how effective and adequate the operation manager is performing. The operations manager ensures the day-to-day tasks of the organization’s entire operations are running both productively and efficiently.
If you are interested in the best business careers, particularly in the area of operations, then learning how to become an operations manager will be perfect for you. In this guide, we will explore the job duties, required skills, and courses available to set you on the path to becoming an operations manager.
What Is an Operations Manager?
An operations manager, an integral member of the operations team, oversees the high-level human resources operations. Their duties include attracting talent, setting training standards, and hiring procedures. They will also be responsible for analyzing and improving organizational processes, quality control, productivity, and efficiency.
To be successful as an operations manager, you must learn management and master leadership.
What Does an Operations Manager Do?
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An operations manager oversees activities associated with the production of goods and services in an organization. An operations manager is directly responsible for managing the operation, design, planning, and control of processes.
You will be in charge of the overall operations of a business, responsible for the supply chain, overseeing production, and product quality. Additionally, you will be in charge of warehousing, ordering materials, and managing the flow of the materials.
An operations manager is expected to perform several job duties, so let’s take a look at their main duties below.
As an operations manager, you are expected to perform highly whilst managing day-to-day operations. You will be in charge of assigning tasks and projects to the members of your department.
You are also expected to manage the overall project performances of the team. As an effective operations manager, you must implement best practices by taking care to ensure the organization’s sustainability. You also need to initiate and verify corrective action when operational outcomes become jeopardized.
Proper Maintenance of Production Equipment
As an operations manager, you will also be responsible for the maintenance of tools and equipment. You will need to ensure that all tools and equipment are available for everyday operations, and in the event that they malfunction you will be expected to organize a team to repair them.
Innovating and Perfecting Ideas
As an operations manager, your job duties don’t just end at management. You will also be responsible for encouraging your team members to come up with ideas that will improve everyday business. You will also be expected to pitch in new ideas to improve the overall operational efficiency and productivity.
Controlling Operations and Improving Production
If you think about it, the primary duty of an operations manager lies in ensuring efficient production. As the manager, you are responsible for controlling the operations that deliver business products.
Essential Operations Manager Skills
As an operations manager, you are expected to possess the following attributes to be a good and effective manager.
Diligence and Commitment
To be successful in an operations management career you must be diligent and committed. While these skills are essential in any career, they are especially crucial in a management career. As a manager, you are expected to be the go-to person for anything, ranging from issues to rewards.
People Management Skills
To be an efficient manager you need to have people management skills. As a team leader, you will work with many different employees with different personalities, you will need to have good interpersonal skills to efficiently manage and communicate the company’s needs to the employees.
You will also need to have great leadership skills to succeed in this role, as with any management career. Consider taking an online management course to strengthen your people management skills.
IT Management Skills
In this day and age, no operations are done without the involvement of information technology. Almost all systems are digitized and automated. For you to be an efficient manager, you will need to have strong IT skills to understand the systems and programs your operations use.
The level of required skills will depend on the industry you work in. You could consider learning what a business management degree in technology is all about, to help yourself understand the systems better.
Having innovative skills will help you find solutions to improve daily operations for better productivity and to propose new solutions to implement for better customer interactions.
This attribute might seem like an obvious one, but as the face of the department, you are expected to be present and punctual at any work activities. Having good time management skills will allow you to successfully ensure product performance and ensure you will be available in case of any operations mishaps.
Operations Manager Salaries and Job Outlook
Operations managers are in high demand across all industries. As an operations management graduate, you will be able to choose a career in many management fields. You could pursue a career in business operations management, purchasing management, materials management, or operations research.
The national average salary for an operations manager in the US is $83,332. This salary is estimated based on the thousands of current operations manager’s salaries submitted on Glassdoor.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for business operations managers will grow by 5.8 percent between 2019 to 2029. This translates into 143,800 new operations manager jobs in the coming years.
How Long Does It Take to Become an Operations Manager?
The path to becoming an operations manager typically involves a combination of education and on-the-job experience. To become an operations manager, you must first complete an undergraduate degree and have at least three to five years of experience.
You are required to get your bachelor’s degree in business management or a related course, a bachelor’s in business technology degree, for example. We recommend getting a business tech degree due to the heavy use of IT in everyday business operations. You can also learn supply chain management or logistics management to get started in this career.
Overall it will roughly take you eight to 10 years to become an operations manager. This includes completing a four-year undergraduate degree in business administration, as well as gaining three to five years of training and experience.
How to Become an Operations Manager: A Step-by-Step Guide
As mentioned, becoming an operations manager is a lengthy process. So, you can’t afford to waste valuable time trying to figure out the exact steps to take to get started. Below is a step-by-step guide to becoming an operations manager.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree In Business Administration
For you to become an operations manager you are required to have a bachelor’s degree in business administration. You can pursue majors like supply chain management, MIS, logistics management or even IT management to get started.
There are cases where operations managers are simply trained without having any higher education. But those cases are rare these days. Employers look for a minimum of bachelor’s degree.
Step 2: Complete on the Job Experience
There are cases where entry-level employees get trained for years to fill operations management positions. But, in today’s industries, you are trained for three to five years after getting your bachelor’s degree. Apply for entry-level operations jobs to get started on your training to eventually get a management position.
Step 3: Earn a Master’s Degree in Operations Management
To advance in this management field, you may choose to get a master’s degree. It is good to get the highest level of education if it is possible for you. This step is optional though, as you can become a manager just with a bachelor’s degree and training.
However, if you want to advance further into directorial careers, we recommend pursuing your master’s. Some operations manager even become the CEO of the company with advanced qualifications.
Required Education to Become an Operations Manager
As mentioned the minimum required education to become an operations manager is a bachelor’s degree in the business administration field. You can choose to take online courses and enroll in programs to get credits for the undergraduate program.
Best Programs and Courses to Become an Operations Manager
There are many standalone online and in-person courses you can take to familiarize yourself with operations management. Below are the best courses to get started in this field.
Many massive online platforms offer accredited courses on almost every topic out there. You can choose from platforms like Udemy, edX.com, and Coursera to learn the essential skills of an operations manager.
- Provider: Udemy
- Cost: Free
- Prerequisite: N/A
- Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
This is a beginner’s course on operations management offered by Udemy. For those looking to get an in-depth understanding of operational issues and their solutions, this course is for you. The course covers the fundamentals of lean operations, managing service operations, and supply chain management.
- Provider: Coursera
- Cost: Free
- Prerequisite: N/A
- Time: Around 10 hours
The University of Pennsylvania is offering an excellent introductory course on operations management for free. This is a six-part course that teaches the foundations of business specialization. In this course, you will learn to improve the productivity and quality of day-to-day business operations.
- Provider: edX
- Cost: Free
- Prerequisite: Basic understanding of statistics
- Time: 7 weeks, 2-4 hours
If you have a foundational background in business management and statistics, this course is the next step. edX is offering this course that covers OM strategies that will help you analyze and improve everyday business operations. You will learn to improve core operation management like supply chain management.
- Provider: edX
- Cost: Free
- Prerequisite: College level understanding of statistics, probability, and calculus
- Time: 13 weeks, 8-12 hours
This course is a part of a micromasters program offered by MIT. In this course, you will learn real-world applications and improvement of logistics and supply chain management. The course teaches risk management, portfolio design, and strategy implementation. You can get a verified certification for $299.
- Provider: LinkedIn Learning
- Cost: One-month free trial
- Prerequisite: N/A
- Time: 2 hours 4 minutes
LinkedIn learning is a fantastic online learning platform. This is a beginner’s course to understand operations management. You will learn to manage basic inventory and waiting lines. The course also teaches production, quality control, and costs. The course contains plenty of exercises and you will earn a certification of completion at the end.
Operations Management Certificates
We all know the importance of certification, they showcase your earned skills. If you choose to be certified in the field of operations management, you can advance your career to the next level.
There are many reputable institutions where you can get operations certification. Below are some of the main certificates to advance and become an operations manager.
Cornell is offering this OM certification focused on business performance. By acquiring this certification, you showcase your skills in process analysis, quality management, inventory management, and service operations.
This operations manager certification is offered by The American Institute for Business Management and Communication. To earn this certification you must pass the COM exam, have a bachelor’s degree, 25 hours of training, and two years of relevant experience. The exam tests you on OM strategies and management.
Should You Become an Operations Manager in 2021?
The operations management department might not grab the headlines during a business success party, but it is the backbone of the day-to-day operations of any business. If you see yourself as being part of the behind-the-scenes manufacturing management, a career in operations management is for you.
Why not get started on learning operations management in 2021? You will learn the most recent and up-to-date technologies used in daily operations. You could also apply your new tech and business skills to apply for several other jobs.
Operations Manager FAQ
As an operations manager, you will play a critical role in ensuring that your teams and projects are on track. The operations team is the department that ensures that everyone feels supported in their work.
However, sometimes you come across team members who struggle or refuse to adapt to change. This is where your management, leadership, and interpersonal skills come in handy. You are expected to find a solution that will motivate them to be a team player.
Although you are a team leader who will be in charge of the data analysis team, you are still expected to understand the IT systems that are used to analyze and record the data. Without that knowledge, you wouldn’t be capable of managing the daily IT operations.
To successfully pass an operations manager’s job interview you need to be prepared to showcase your management skills. You should review your past projects, and any management tasks you performed. You can even do a mock interview to be more prepared. Overall, be confident and well prepared.
To be successful in the role of an operations manager, you must have excellent negotiation skills and in-depth market understanding. So, to reduce costs and maintain high quality, you must negotiate with suppliers and vendors for optimal prices. You should also research the market to find the best deals.
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