Avenues in Operations Management
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, operations jobs will continue to grow at a steady rate between 2007 and 2010. Because recent downsizing has led to increased competitiveness, companies are now consolidating operations roles. This gives candidates who are flexible and willing to handle extra responsibilities head starts in the industry.
Operations personnel are located in a variety of industries including manufacturing, telecommunications, transport, and retail. Depending upon their roles, they hold a variety of designations such as production and operations manager, director of operations, regional operations manager, and so on.
Overview of Operations Management
Operations utilizes existing infrastructure to move personnel and material within an organization. It takes into consideration the geographical location of the company, distribution channels, personnel and logistics available, and other variables to create an operational framework that delivers logical solutions to an existing set of problems. The primary aim of any operations department is to manage the day-to-day operations of an organization within the means and resources available.
Not only is operations responsible for preparing an organization's operations infrastructure, it is also responsible for organizing its operations road map. Operations controls the utilization of personnel, resources, finance, and facilities to achieve organizational aims.
Careers in Operations Management
Depending upon the organization, operations includes a variety of functions such as customer service, production, maintenance, and administration. The typical goal of operations is to find a solution to an external or an internal stimulus before it becomes a crisis. Therefore, operations managers always insist that things be done right the first time. Other qualities that organizations seek in operations personnel are detail orientation, strong analytical skills, and the ability to work as a team.
A variety of personnel handle the operational aspects of organizations:
- Chief operating officers (COO) handle the broad overview of operations by following organizational visions. COOs' ideas filter down through companies until senior operations managers take them up to decide on operational strategies that align with organizational policies. They also carryout hiring decisions to recruit key personnel according to organizational guidelines and operational needs. Chief operating officers are seasoned professionals who have superior qualifications and many years of experience. They usually report to the CEO and the board of directors.
- Operations controllers manage the operations of organizations by keeping them within allocated budgets. They usually lead teams that coordinate a variety of operational aspects. Their roles can also include financial analysis, as finances make up the bedrock of operations.
- Operations coordinators are responsible for providing operations support and acting as lead contact and resource points for clients. Their roles require strong leadership and decision-making skills in addition to strong problem-solving initiatives. Operations coordinators are often required to work both independently and as part of teams.
- Logistics personnel assist senior management with the flow of information, services, and with the operational activities of organizations. They play important roles in providing integrated, efficient, and accurate operational services within and outside of organizations.
- Operations managers establish a set of goals for the entire group. They supervise group members' work and ensure that individual group members meet their allotted deadlines within allocated budgets.
- Operations analysts evaluate current operational levels and analyze operational deviations for necessary adjustments and corrections to operational strategy and tactics.