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What Is Operations Management? Here Is All You Need To Know!

Updated: June 19, 2024 | Published: July 20, 2021

Updated: June 19, 2024

Published: July 20, 2021

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If you ask a business owner what makes their business successful, there will rarely be just one answer. That being said, operations management plays a pivotal part in how a business functions, and so, it can be a major factor in success or failure. At this point, you may be thinking, “What is operations management?” And that’s a fair question, especially since operations management involves so much.

Here, we will share what there is to know about operations management and supply chain management.

Source: Unsplash

What is Operations Management?

Operations management is an aspect of business that is all about how business processes and practices run in an effort to maximize efficiency and minimize costs. In turn, operations management helps to boost the bottom line (profits).

  • What Are Operations Systems?

Operations management systems are integrated requirements and processes that allow businesses to continuously improve and achieve their goals. Operations systems include: inputs, processes, outputs, and outcome. Some of these processes may include: regulatory compliance, risk identification, operational performance, stakeholder management, and organizational collaboration.

  • Planning Operations Systems

Planning operations systems involve several steps. Business leaders and owners need to plan the products and services they offer. This will include understanding target markets, pricing, and marketing, for example. Then comes capacity planning, which looks at how much production of said product and services is required to meet customer demand. Planning operations systems will also include workflow management, work design, and layout planning, to name a few.

  • Planning Operations, Inventory, and Quality Control

With the process in place to transform inputs into outputs and produce value for customers, the next phase of operations management can be initiated. This includes supply chain management, quality control, and production planning.

  • Managing Productivity

Operations managers are also responsible for tracking and monitoring the productivity of their team. Productivity is a ratio of output to input. In many cases in practical settings, this will be measured by output per hour.

What is an Operations Manager?

Operations managers are part of the upper-level management system in most organizations. They help to oversee that operations are running as planned and that the company is reaching its potential. Given the wide-ranging responsibilities they hold, their overall perspective must be on the big picture.

What Does an Operations Manager Do?

The role of an operations manager will vary based on the stage and size of the business and overall needs.

However, their general duties may involve:

  • Overseeing supply chain management
  • Working with HR to hire new employees and train staff
  • Staying abreast of budgets and monitoring expenses
  • Conducting cost-benefit analysis
  • Aiding in making key business decisions
  • Managing productivity

Required Skills to Become an Operations Manager

Anyone can hone the skills to become an operations manager. The role is best suited for people who possess skills and traits that include:

  • Strong problem-solving abilities
  • Good communication skills
  • Organizational ability
  • Logical minds that can manage logistics and supply chain management

How to Become an Operations Manager

To become an operations manager, there are a few key steps to fulfill. The position requires higher education and is increasingly competitive.

To maximize your chances at landing a well-paid and secure position, consider the following:

  • Earn a degree

The first step to becoming an operations manager is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. A degree in a field like business administration or a related subject is recommended. With a business administration degree, you can expect to learn about: financial accounting, business communication, and principles of management, all of which are crucial to being an operations manager.

  • Get experience

With a bachelor’s degree, you will be well-equipped to enter the field, at least in an entry-level position. This on-the-job experience will be pivotal. An entry-level position in this field could be an operations supervisor, for example. As you learn more on the job, you may work your way up to becoming an operations manager.

  • Master’s degree (optional)

To excel in this career space, a master’s degree is a great pathway to take. Although it’s optional, it can and will open the door to upper-level positions. Students can earn a master’s in business administration (MBA), or go into specialized degree concentrations.

Operations Manager Career Outlook

An operations manager oversees many strategic functions within a business setting. From the start to finish of a project, an operations manager will be involved.

They may oversee one or multiple of the following stages of a product or service’s lifecycle:

  • Product Design

Product design is the process of designing a product with its function and use in mind on behalf of a customer or end user. It begins with the ideation phase and will also include market research and testing.

  • Forecasting

Forecasting leverages historical data to estimate what’s yet to come so that organizations can be prepared for the future. Operations managers could be asked to predict future demand for a product based on its history. This forecast will dictate product, manufacturing, marketing, and more.

  • Supply Chain Management

When considering operations management, the question “What is operations and supply chain management?” is bound to appear. Supply chain management starts with raw materials and is the process of creating the end product. From production and manufacturing to distribution and delivery, managing supply chains properly has a major impact on a company’s financials. Operations managers look to minimize fixed and variable costs and deliver the promised product to happy customers.

  • Delivery Management

Once a product is created, tested, tried, and sold, it must maintain its quality and add value for customers. Deliver management ensures that a customer receives the working product in the promised time frame. Operations managers may be tasked with resolving customer complaints or issues and also communicating what could be made better back to the design team.

Why Operations Management is Important

Operations management is so important to businesses of all sizes because it helps to ensure that operations and workflows run smoothly and efficiently.

With a strong operations manager, a business can benefit from higher profits, quality outputs, satisfied customers, engaged employees, and even retain a competitive advantage against others in the marketplace.

Source: Unsplash

Degree in Business Administration

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in operations management, or simply learning more, consider earning a degree in business administration from the University of the People. Our program is accredited, fully online, and tuition-free.

As students, the online format offers immense flexibility to learn at your own pace. Once students complete the program, graduates have the knowledge they need to enter the workforce.

A Career Path with Purpose

Now that you can answer “What is operations management?”, it’s up to you to decide if this is a career path that interests you.

A career in operations management means that you’ll make a difference. Organizations of all sizes and across industries utilize operations managers to help their businesses operate to the best of their ability. Not only is the job rewarding, but there is also a high monetary incentive, with a mean wage of $125,740 per year.

Operations managers can get their start by earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration and then work their way up within the field (or choose to earn a master’s degree). So, what are you waiting for?

At UoPeople, our blog writers are thinkers, researchers, and experts dedicated to curating articles relevant to our mission: making higher education accessible to everyone.