What Does an Operations Manager Do? Skills, Responsibilities & More

An operations manager is responsible for supervising all of the aspects that contribute to an organization’s efficiency, including its strategic practices, production of goods, delivery of services, development of processes and offerings, ongoing maintenance requirements, and more. In short, the operations manager ensures their company runs like a well-oiled machine. 

They’re the leader of the business’ operations management (OM) team and are hyper-focused on reducing or eliminating barriers to operational success. It’s a highly collaborative role, since operations managers work to ensure both efficiency and quality across every aspect of the organization. 

What Does an Operations Manager Do? 

While the role may vary from one industry (or organization) to the next, the operations manager’s primary duty is to improve operational systems, processes, and policies to achieve the company’s mission. They play a vital role in long-term planning and lead initiatives to attain operational excellence. 

An operations manager’s potential responsibilities include (but are certainly not limited to):

  • Operations and processes - Operations managers troubleshoot and remove blockers for staff, improve policies, eliminate workflow bottlenecks, and boost productivity. For example, an operations manager for a warehouse might identify potential issues across their end-to-end operations–from inventory entry until items are sold, moved, or consumed. They might also make consistent, meaningful improvements to optimize that journey. 
  • Production levels inventory - In manufacturing or production-focused companies, operations managers must ensure equipment is in working order and that staff have the right equipment to handle production. They manage inspections, facilitate repairs, and supervise and direct the entire production process.
  • Budgets and financials - A significant part of the operations manager role is keeping budgets on track to remain cost-efficient. They must meet productivity and performance goals, like KPIs, and manage many of the financial aspects of running an organization's operations. 
  • Staffing and personnel - Operations managers across various industries (e.g. manufacturing, facilities management, hospitality, utilities, etc.) are in charge of hiring, training, and ensuring proper staffing levels. This helps the organization maintain the optimal amount of personnel to drive efficiency and effectiveness—without accruing the unnecessary spend associated with hiring and onboarding an excess number of employees. Their goal is to accomplish more with less, and this extends to staffing decisions, as well. 
  • Data analysis and reporting - Regardless of industry, an operations manager must make intelligent decisions to continuously improve the organization's processes and performance; and that requires data. They collect and synthesize data related to other responsibilities to uncover opportunities to streamline workflows. They also measure the organization's progress on critical goals and KPIs, so they can help teams course-correct, as needed. 

Skills an Operations Manager Needs

An operations manager’s roles and responsibilities depend heavily on the size of the organization and the industry in which it operates. But regardless of these varying factors, the role is pivotal to the organization’s success, as the operations manager oversees and guides the production of goods and services for the entire company. 

Because the role is so foundational to a business’s efficiency, productivity, output, and—ultimately—revenue, an operations manager must possess the following skills:

  • 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

Operations Manager Education Requirements  

In addition to the necessary hard and soft skills that help an operations manager thrive in the role, a qualified candidate must also have acquired specific educational degrees. Again, the education requirements for an operations manager may differ slightly from one organization (or industry) to the next, but individuals in the role typically possess a B.A. Some companies list an MBA as a requisite for the position, particularly those that are considered large enterprises. 

To land a job as an operations manager, a candidate will first need to gain about five to eight years of related experience. This might include working on supply chain, logistics, business operations, inventory control, or quality assurance teams, among others.

Some operations manager positions may also require specific certifications, which deepen the individual’s knowledge and skill set. Certifications might include Certified Operations Manager (COM), Certified Association Executive (CAE), Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (ICGB) and Project Management Professional (PMP)

How Much Does an Operations Manager Make?

The expected salary of an operations manager may vary based on their level of experience, industry, and location. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for this role is roughly $99,000.

Who Does an Operations Manager Work With?

It’s important to note that operations managers must be highly collaborative, as they work with several other departments and team members to ensure success. It may change by industry, but operations managers generally report to chief operating officers (COOs) and other leadership teams. 

They also work closely with the product team, the customer service team, maintenance tech managers, HR, sales, and other relevant roles across the organization. Operations managers focus their attention anywhere they need to remove blockers and increase efficiency in order for the business to effectively deliver goods and/or services.

Where Do Operations Managers Work? 

Nearly any organization could benefit from employing an operations manager, so they can work in a variety of industries—including healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and more. The role is especially crucial for organizations in facilities management, property and hospitality management, general equipment management, government and utilities management, and other maintenance-focused companies, as they must improve their workflows to maintain SLA compliance and boost profitability. 

What Is the Projected Job Growth? 

The operations management field is expected to see a 9% growth by 2030, which isn’t surprising considering the role’s impact on an organization’s viability. Positions and processes will embrace energy and efficiency as a way to cut costs while also remaining environmentally friendly, as these initiatives are important to consumers. 

The Tools Any Operations Manager Needs to Succeed 

For any organization, a talented, experienced operations manager can improve the profitability of the business. As is the case for many positions, it’s a vital job with inherent challenges. Fortunately, there are tools that can help ensure success.

UpKeep’s Asset Operations Management Platform (AOM) closes the divide between maintenance, reliability, and operations teams by creating a centralized command center for both passive and active data. It helps operations managers increase team efficiency and reliability, optimizes asset management, and offers comprehensive reporting and analytics to help organizations gain important new insights. 

UpKeep AOM is designed for a variety of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, farming and agriculture, and much more. It’s a mobile-first, cloud-based solution, which makes implementation quick and problem-free, so your team can get up and running as quickly as possible. It even includes robust dashboards to help operations managers pull data together from different sources to make better decisions on the fly.

Regardless of the industry in which your organization operates, you need an intelligent platform like UpKeep AOM to drive your team’s efficiency and productivity, and to optimize your most critical processes and workflows. It takes the guesswork out of making strong, data-driven decisions, so your already-busy operations manager can focus on what’s really important: keeping your organization running as smoothly as possible. 

To see how UpKeep can help your operations team achieve its goals, sign up for a free trial today. 

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