What is an operations manager? A career guide for 2023
Written by Coursera • Updated on
An operations manager oversees many day-to-day business activities. Find out how you can get a job as an operations manager with this comprehensive guide.
Operations managers ensure that an organization and its operations run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. They oversee the day-to-day systems, work with people, budgets and strategies to execute what makes the most sense for the business.
Operations management differs from supply chain management because it is concerned with internal operations, while supply chain deals with external operations such as the flow of goods from overseas factories to warehouses.
This article shows you what an operations manager does, salary and job opportunities, and how to become an operations manager.
What does an operations manager do?
Operations managers oversee an organization's operations to implement the correct practices and processes at all levels. The tasks vary depending on the needs of the organization, especially the size of the organization. Common responsibilities include:
Monitor the production of goods and services
Plan the distribution of resources and materials
Ensure all departments meet their important goals and milestones
Preparation and monitoring of budgets
Personnel management, including personnel documentation, team communication and performance reviews
Formulate company policies and ensure compliance
To help an organization's processes remain legally compliant
Quality control and production assurance
Examine financial data and analyze it to improve earnings
The ideal operations manager is good at multitasking and overseeing many moving parts. Operations managers work in a wide variety of industries, including retail, healthcare, finance, insurance and manufacturing. This is a key role in many companies or organizations.
Watch as an operations manager collects data to inform store operations and inventory flow.
Learn the three main goals of an operation and how to perform process analysis.
Operations Manager Salary and Job Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job opportunities for operations managers in the US are expected to grow by 6% this decade, on par with the national average for all occupations. The average annual salary for operations managers in the United States is $98,980. Salaries can vary significantly depending on your industry, responsibilities, location and experience level. Some industries where the average annual salary is higher than the average include :
Professional, scientific and technical services:$142.920
How to become an operations manager
If you are interested in building a career as an operations manager, these steps can help you on the right path.
1. Get your bachelor's degree in a business-related field.
Most employers look for candidates with at least a bachelor's degree in a business-related field, such as business management or administration. According to Zippia, 62% of operations managers have a bachelor's degree and 17% have an associate's degree . Your education should focus on developing technical skills such as mathematical modeling and statistics, alongside workplace skills such as organizational behavior and leadership. Major courses may include financial accounting, business communication and principles of management.
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2. Gain experience in entry-level and junior positions.
Operations manager positions usually require a few years of work experience in a management or supervisory role. Start with an entry-level role in the business world to build your skill set, expand your business knowledge and make connections that can later help you advance your career. Some job titles include retail manager, customer service representative, business analyst, and project manager.
As you progress, look for leadership roles in retail, supply chain or finance where you can gain valuable leadership experience.
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3. Consider getting a master's degree.
Obtaining a master's degree is not an absolute necessity, but many organizations prefer operations managers with advanced degrees. Look for master's programs that include courses in supply chain management, project management and business ethics to gain skills in key business functions.
See more information:Master in management vs. MBA: Which is Best?
4. Get certified.
An industry-specific credential can give you a competitive edge by validating your essential skills to potential employers. Some certifications to consider include:
International Association for Six Sigma Certification
ITIL and Axelos
Manager certified by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM)
Certified supply chain professional
Certification in production and warehouse management
Certified professional in program management
get ready forSix Sigma Yellow Belt,Green belt, orBlack beltcertification exam with specializations from the University System of Georgia.
5. Develop leadership skills.
Effective management is among the most important characteristics of effective operations managers. Being a leader means identifying and solving problems that prevent teams from achieving their goals, overseeing operations without micromanaging, and encouraging team members to perform at their best.
Leaders help employees and teams stay motivated and provide the tools and confidence to succeed. They are also able to solve sensitive issues to keep everything running efficiently, strengthen and train skills in the workplace such asinterpersonal communicationand critical thinking.
See more information:10 career tips from women in management
find a mentor
A large part of your role in this job will be to mentor new employees and provide exceptional leadership. A good way to learn how to lead by example while also getting a good idea of what the job is like is to find a mentor to guide you. This relationship can provide guidance or connections when it comes time to apply for a leadership role.
6. Improve your resume.
Take the time to tailor your CV to the job you are applying for with rich and impactful experiences. Potential employers often screen the resumes they receive through an automated applicant tracking system, or ATS, so it's important to include relevant keywords found in the job description, certifications, or memberships in professional organizations.
See more information: 10 ways to improve your CV
7. Prepare for the interview.
Potential employers will ask leading questions to gauge how well you will perform in your role as an operations manager. For example, you may be asked to talk about how you would motivate an employee who resists change, or your experience negotiating contracts with suppliers. Taking the time to prepare now will help you feel more confident when you sit in front of an interviewer.
See more information:11 executive interview questions to help you prepare
Learn Operations Management from UPenn Wharton
Start making progress toward your goals by building a strong educational foundation. If you're just getting to grips with operations management as a career option, try taking a course likeIntroduction to operations managementfrom the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, part of itsSpeciale i Business Fundamentals.
Introduction to operations management
Learn to analyze and improve business processes in services or manufacturing, learn to increase productivity and deliver higher quality...
125,960 already registered
To know more
Average time: 1 month(s)
Learn at your own pace
Skills you will develop:
Process Management, Operations Management, Six Sigma, Inventory
Written by Coursera • Updated on
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Students are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that the courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
Once a person becomes an operations manager, they have several career moves they can make. They can continue to become a senior operations manager, director of operations, and even COO. Or they can pivot and transition to process managers or purchasing managers.What are your career goals operations manager? ›
To be a successful leader in operations management where I can utilize my potential and capabilities to achieve the organizational objectives and seize the opportunities for professional development.What does an operations manager do? ›
In general, the role of an operations manager is to manage all activities involved in producing the goods and/or services of a business. In the retail industry, for example, an operations manager would manage all activities related to daily retail floor functions as well as planning and strategizing.What is operations manager interview questions? ›
Operations Manager Interview Questions For Experienced Professionals. Tell us some business trends, and how do you manage to cope with the trends? How have you contributed to increasing the overall effectiveness of your previous company? How would you approach an underperforming member?Is operations manager a high position? ›
The Operations Manager serves in a senior position and, as such, they are expected to have significant prior experience when applying for the position. While a small company may be seeking a minimum of 3 – 5 years of experience, larger companies may require a decade or more.What level is operations manager? ›
Operational Managers are senior-level employees who oversee the recruitment and operational functions within a company. They typically manage training and onboarding, employee satisfaction and other high-level human resources duties.What are the 3 important goals of operation management? ›
For organizations to compete in a constantly changing market, their operations managers have to maximize productivity, efficiency, and profit—these three are essential to a company's survival.What is the key to success for an operations manager? ›
An Operations Manager needs to be deadline-oriented to ensure that tasks and projects are completed on time. They should have strong time-management skills, the ability to prioritize tasks, and excellent communication skills to keep their team on track.What makes you a good fit for the role of a operations manager? ›
To be a successful professional, an operations manager must have strong leadership, communication, problem-solving, and organizational skills. They must also work well under pressure and handle multiple tasks simultaneously.What skills do operations managers have? ›
- Excellent organizational skills.
- Good conflict resolution.
- Proven leadership skills.
- Great decision-making skills.
- Strong attention to detail.
- Adept at budgeting and forecasting.
- Ability to transform data into actionable, strategic decisions.
|State||Annual Salary||Hourly Wage|
Within a corporate hierarchy, the director of operations reports to the chief executive officer (CEO) and is an executive-level position, working with senior-level management and C-suite positions.What are the five basic operations of a manager? ›
At the most fundamental level, management is a discipline that consists of a set of five general functions: planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling. These five functions are part of a body of practices and theories on how to be a successful manager.What is an example of operations manager? ›
Examples of managing business operations
Here are a few examples: Healthcare – An operations manager of a healthcare facility is generally responsible for ensuring efficiency in delivery of high-quality care. That can include overseeing administrative costs, managing claims and billing, and legal compliance.
|Analytical skills||Hard skills (defined by the job description)|
|Communication skills||Soft skills (such as public speaking)|
|Ability to work in a team|
The majority of Division Operations Manager salaries across the United States currently range between $59,000 (25th percentile) and $89,500 (75th percentile) annually.What is the highest salary of operations manager? ›
Operations Manager salary in India ranges between ₹ 2.7 Lakhs to ₹ 18.9 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 6.9 Lakhs. Salary estimates are based on 63.8k latest salaries received from Operations Managers.Is Operation manager stressful? ›
Working as an operations manager can be stressful at times. One of the challenges of the job is that the company relies on them to ensure the company is well-staffed with qualified employees and that they have the resources they need.Who qualified as operation manager? ›
Who qualifies as operations manager? Applicants with a degree in business administration, business management, or accounting, and relevant experience in a position that would prepare them for the responsibility of operations manager are typical qualifications.What comes before operations manager? ›
Complete a bachelor's degree in business administration or business management. If possible, choose a program that offers electives or a minor/concentration in supply chain management. Once you've graduated, you can pursue entry-level management roles (Step 2) or progress straight to an MBA-level program (Step 3).
People Operations proactively focuses on employee engagement and retention as well as leadership and management strategies, while Human Resources is more focused on the practical aspects of employee management including legal, ethical and structural.What are the 4 objectives of operations management? ›
The primary objectives of operations management include increasing efficiency, improving quality, reducing costs, and enhancing customer satisfaction.What are the 6 operation objectives? ›
Operational objectives have to be SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.What are the five benefits of operations management? ›
- Giving your company a competitive advantage. ...
- Increasing your profitability. ...
- Increased product quality. ...
- Ensures you comply with government regulations. ...
- Increased customer satisfaction. ...
- Helps in waste reduction. ...
- Increased teamwork.
- Be a realistic, but effective, communicator.
- Prioritize efficiency.
- Emphasize a cost-effective supply chain strategy.
- • ...
- • ...
- Prioritize quality.
- Lead without micromanaging.
The average Operations Manager is most likely skeptical, reserved, and analytical. They tend to be serious and exacting in their work, often seeking to establish procedures that can help others improve, as well. Don't be surprised if they communicate with excessive detail.What are the 4 types of operations management? ›
What are the 4Vs of Operations Management? The 4Vs – the 4 dimensions of operations are: Volume, Variety, Variation and Visibility. They can be used to assess all different types of business operations and understand how any why they operate, their key competitive strengths, weaknesses and different approaches.How can I improve my operations management skills? ›
- Review your company values. ...
- Look at your competitors' operations tactics. ...
- Enlist in operations management software. ...
- Focus on how to complete a task before investing in the technology. ...
- What is an operations management system?
“I should be hired for this role because of my relevant skills, experience, and passion for the industry. I've researched the company and can add value to its growth. My positive attitude, work ethics, and long-term goals align with the job requirements, making me a committed and valuable asset to the company.”What makes you the most qualified for this position? ›
When answering this interview question, focus on the skills and qualities you possess that most closely align with the needs and requirements of the role. For example: Hard or soft skills, like software expertise, or excellent customer service skills. Qualities like dedication, determination and perseverance.
Waste Reduction - Waste reduction is one of the most important components of operations management. Various techniques can be used to identify and eliminate waste within manufacturing operations, such as lean manufacturing strategies and JIT scheduling to manage inventory costs.What is the daily life of a operations manager? ›
The specific duties of an Operations Manager include formulating strategy, improving performance, procuring material and resources and securing compliance. You should be ready to mentor your team members, find ways to increase quality of customer service and implement best practices across all levels.Is it hard to become an operations manager? ›
Operations manager jobs typically require a few years of professional experience in a management or supervisory role. Start with an entry-level role in the business world to build your skill set, expand your business knowledge, and make connections that could later help you advance your career.Is an operations manager higher than a manager? ›
A director of operations holds superiority over general managers and other employees. General managers are often right below directors in the company's ranking.Is operations manager middle level? ›
They're responsible for developing and implementing activities and allocating the resources needed to achieve the objectives set by top management. Common job titles include operations manager, division manager, plant manager, and branch manager.
For example, some employers may refer to an Operations Manager as either a Director Of Operations or a Vice President Operations.Is operation manager in lower level management? ›
The lower level managers are considered as operating managers because they look after the operations of the business that is the production of goods and services by guiding and supervising the employees. Operating managers pass on the instructions to workers and report to the middle level managers.What are the four 4 key functions of a manager? ›
Originally identified by Henri Fayol as five elements, there are now four commonly accepted functions of management that encompass these necessary skills: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. 1 Consider what each of these functions entails, as well as how each may look in action.What are the three step process of an operations manager's job? ›
Establish the organization structure, find the right staff, develop the strategy.What is operations management in your own words? ›
Operations management is a delivery-focused area in business which ensures that an organisation successfully turns inputs to outputs in an efficient manner. The inputs themselves could represent anything from materials, equipment and technology to human resources such as staff or workers.
Operations management includes three levels: strategic, tactical, and operational.What is the difference between an office manager and an operations manager? ›
Operations managers are supposed to look at the big picture, working each day to improve all aspects of the business to further the company's goals. Office managers, meanwhile, are the people who pound the pavement, setting an office's tone and making sure that team members are motivated and satisfied with their work.How do you handle stress and pressure? ›
- Track your stressors. Keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them. ...
- Develop healthy responses. ...
- Establish boundaries. ...
- Take time to recharge. ...
- Learn how to relax. ...
- Talk to your supervisor. ...
- Get some support.
Some of the job positions are Operations Manager, Production Analyst, Production Manager, Industrial Engineer, Time Study Analyst, Inventory Manager, Purchasing Manager, Schedule Coordinator, Distribution Manager, Supply Chain Manager, Quality Analyst, Quality Manager and Plant Manager to name a few.What can an operations manager become? ›
Some job titles include retail manager, customer service representative, business operations analyst, and project manager. As you advance, look for managerial roles in retail, supply chain, or finance, where you can gain valuable leadership experience.What title is higher than operations manager? ›
A director of operations holds superiority over general managers and other employees. General managers are often right below directors in the company's ranking.What is the highest position in operations management? ›
The Chief Operating Officer, COO, or Executive Vice President of Operations is at the very top leadership level, often second only to the Chief Executive Officer. Generally the COO is responsible for internal affairs and executing the business plan of the company.What is the life of an operations manager? ›
The specific duties of an Operations Manager include formulating strategy, improving performance, procuring material and resources and securing compliance. You should be ready to mentor your team members, find ways to increase quality of customer service and implement best practices across all levels.Is operations manager a good post? ›
The prospects for a career in operations management are favourable. You can enhance your skills by enrolling in operations management business courses, certificates, diplomas, and post-graduate courses.
An Operations Manager needs to be deadline-oriented to ensure that tasks and projects are completed on time. They should have strong time-management skills, the ability to prioritize tasks, and excellent communication skills to keep their team on track.Who is below the operations manager? ›
An Operations Assistant is an entry-level role and completes administrative tasks that are related to the day-to-day activities of an organization. An Operations Assistant works directly with an Operations Manager to ensure a smooth workflow.What is the top priority of operations manager? ›
OMs should look for customer feedback, analyze KPIs, analyze their performance and engage their own collaborative creativity to not only stay ahead of competition, but also to become an industry leader.Are operations managers in demand? ›
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 6.7% employment growth for business operations managers between 2021 and 2031. In that period, an estimated 209,800 jobs should open up.