Operations Management

The administration of business practices to maximize efficiency within the organization

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What is Operations Management?

Operations management is a field of business concerned with the administration of business practices to maximize efficiency within an organization. It involves planning, organizing, and overseeing the organization’s processes to balance revenues and costs and achieve the highest possible operating profit. An operations manager is tasked with ensuring that the organization successfully converts inputs such as materials, labor, and technology into outputs in an efficient manner.

Operations Management - Image of a woman's hands over a laptop and charts/graphs


  • Operations management involves managing the operations and processes of an organization.
  • Some of the functions performed by an operations manager include supply chain management, product design, forecasting, quality control, and delivery management.
  • An operations manager must have excellent organizational, coordination, and people skills and must be tech-savvy.

Responsibilities in Operations Management

Operations management is a field of business that involves managing the operations of a business to ensure efficiency in the execution of projects. It means that the individual in charge of the department will be required to perform various strategic functions. Some of the functions include:

1. Product Design

Product design involves creating a product that will be sold to the end consumer. It involves generating new ideas or expanding on current ideas in a process that will lead to the production of new products. The operations manager’s responsibility is to ensure that the products sold to consumers meet their needs, as well as match current market trends.

Consumers are more interested in the quality of the product more than the quantity, and the organization should create systems that ensure the products produced meet the needs of the consumer.

2. Forecasting

Forecasting involving making predictions of events that will occur in the future based on past data. One of the events that the operations manager is required to predict is the consumer demand for the company’s products.

The manager relies on past and present data on the uptake of the company’s products to determine future trends in consumption. The forecasts help the company know the volume of products needed to meet the market demand.

3. Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management involves managing the production process from raw materials to the finished product. It controls everything from production, shipping, distribution, to delivery of products.

The operations manager manages the supply chain process by maintaining control of inventory management, the production process, distribution, sales, and sourcing of suppliers to supply required goods at reasonable prices. A properly managed supply chain process will result in an efficient production process, low overhead costs, and timely delivery of products to consumers.

4. Delivery Management

The operations manager is in charge of delivery management. The manager ensures that the goods are delivered to the consumer in a timely manner. They must follow up with consumers to ensure that the goods delivered are what the consumers ordered and that they meet their functionality needs.

If the customer is unsatisfied with the product or is complaining about certain features of the product, the operations manager receives the feedback and forwards it to the relevant departments.

Ideal Skills of an Operations Manager

Unlike the marketing or finance departments, where managers are responsible for their departments, operations management is a cross-department role where the manager assumes an array of responsibilities across multiple disciplines. To be successful, an operations manager must possess the following skills:

1. Organizational Abilities

Organizational abilities refer to the ability of the operations manager to focus on different projects without getting distracted by the many processes. The operations manager should be able to plan, execute, and monitor each project to the end without losing focus.

If a manager is not organized, uncompleted tasks will pile up, important documents will get lost in the process, and a majority of the time will be spent finding lost documents that could be easily accessible had the manager been organized. Good organization skills can increase production efficiency and help the manager save time.

2. Coordination

An operations manager needs to have good coordination by knowing how to integrate resources, activities, and time to ensure proper use of the resources toward the achievement of the organization’s goals. Coordination involves carrying out specific activities simultaneously and switching between the activities with ease. It also involves dealing with interruptions, obstacles, and crises, and efficiently going back to the normal routine functions to prevent further interruptions.

3. People Skills

Most of the responsibilities of an operations manager involve dealing with people. This means that they must know how to relate with the employees, outside stakeholders, and other members of senior management. An operations manager should know how to manage the fine lines with other colleagues by knowing how to communicate, listen, and relate to them on professional and personal levels.

Since workplaces are made up of people from diverse cultures, the operations manager needs to show tolerance and understanding to other people. Also, the manager should be able to resolve conflicts and mediate disputes between employees and members of the senior staff.

4. Tech-savvy

In this age of rapidly advancing technologies, an operations manager needs to have an affinity for technology in order to be in a position to design processes that are both efficient and tech-compliant. Modern organizations are becoming increasingly tech-dependent in order to gain a competitive advantage in the market.

This means that most of the processes conducted manually, such as procurement, must transition to more efficient automated processes. When an operations manager is familiar with the latest innovations in the tech industry, they can use the innovations to improve internal processes.

Additional Resources

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