An operations manager plans and directs the operations of a company or organization.
They decide how facilities should be laid out, formulate products and policies, control inventory and distribution, drive logistics, and create employee schedules, among other duties. In some organizations, the duties of an operations manager may overlap with those of the CEO.
Operations Management Degree Options
Undergraduates can earn a bachelor's degree in operations management or take courses in operations management as part of a business degree. While both an MBA with a focus on management and a Master of Operations Management degree will prepare you to assume managerial positions within the business world, the MBA will provide you with more skills transferable to other areas. The master's in operations management will provide you with greater specialized management expertise rather than broad and general experience in multiple areas.
Students in MBA programs with an emphasis on operations management will most likely study a wide array of business programs:
- Information systems
- Administrative theory
- Supply chain management
- Human resources management
- Managerial accounting
- Project management
- Management science
Operations managers need a broad range of skills, including the following characteristics:
- A keen understanding of people and processes
- Deft problem solving ability
- Detailed planners
- Adept managers and decision makers
- Enjoy working with people, talking about projects and solving problems in teams
- Strong leadership ability
- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
- Strong interpersonal communication skills
Operations management is also a field that is constantly being shaped by international competition. Operations management personnel, therefore, must be familiar with computer technology, quantitative methods, and planning and problem-solving techniques useful in analyzing business systems, in order to keep up with the rapidly-growing, evolving market.
Operations management specialists typically begin their careers in areas such as quality management, production control, service delivery management and logistics. Specialists have opportunities to work in cross-functional teams involved in process re-engineering, strategy development, product design and technology planning.
Those who have proven themselves in the field become senior operations managers and product managers, and some cross over into more general corporate positions such as CFO, industrial relations manager or even CEO.