A Quick Guide to Operations Management Responsibilities

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 18 March 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Operations management is an area of management, which is responsible for controlling and designing production processes and business operations. Good operations management is crucial for improving the efficiency of business processes and consistently meeting customer requirements. To perform well in operations management, you may want to know more about the responsibilities of these types of positions. In this article, we examine operations management, the skills and qualifications required and operations management responsibilities.

What is an operations manager?

Operations managers are a key part of the managerial staff of a company. They oversee top level HR (Human Resource) processes like identification job roles, recruitment of candidates and definition of training protocols. Operations management also involves assessing and improving an organisation's business processes, in terms of productivity, efficiency and quality. Operations managers are also commonly referred to as Chief Operating Officers or COOs.

Operations management responsibilities

Operations management responsibilities will vary depending on the size of the company and the scale of their operations. These are some of the common responsibilities that operations managers may take on:

  • Leading a team of staff members from a managerial position

  • Taking informed decisions regarding strategy, policy and planning

  • Developing, reviewing and implementing business procedures and operational policies

  • Guiding and providing assistance to HR, with recruitment processes

  • Working with the stakeholders/owner of the company to identify values and prepare plans for long term and short term goals

  • Promoting the vision and mission of a company to maintain morale of staff and performance of the workforce

  • Oversee budgeting, reporting, planning, and auditing

  • Working with senior stakeholders and the Board of Directors (Commonly abbreviated as BoD)

  • Ensuring legal compliance and regular filing of important documents like financial statements

  • Identifying opportunities and problems and working to address them

  • Facilitating partnerships and alliances with other companies

  • Acting as a channel of communication between the management and staff of a company

Related: What Is SaaS Operations? (Definition And Responsibilities)

Qualifications of an operations manager

Employers will be looking for certain qualifications when they hire someone for an operations management position. The most common qualifications for operations managers are:

  • An undergraduate degree in finance, economics, law or a management related field. Some popular courses to pursue are BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration), B.Sc Finance (Bachelor of Finance), B.Sc Economics (Bachelor of Economics), LLB (Bachelor of Legislative Law) and BA LLB (Bachelor of Arts and Legislative Law). Bachelor's course in these fields may take you anywhere between 3-5 years to complete.

  • A postgraduate degree in a relevant field. A postgraduate degree in any of the above fields is not compulsory, but it gives you an edge over the competition. Some popular post graduate courses are MBA (Master of Business Administration), M.Sc Finance (Master of Finance), M.Sc Economics (Master of Economics), LLM (Master of Legislative Law) and MA LLM (Master of Arts and Legislative Law). A bachelor's course typically takes 1-2 years to complete.

  • A verifiable record of work experience in operations management. While formal education is an indicator of your knowledge or expertise, work experience becomes a record of your ability to perform in a professional environment. Most top managerial positions will require at least a few years worth of experience in a relevant domain.

  • A thorough understanding of budgeting and finance management, including financial assessment and asset management. Although most aspirants of managerial jobs will already have a good understanding of finance, you can always train yourself using freely available resources on the internet.

  • A strong ability or experience in working with stakeholders, clients, managers, executives and other staff. Employers will want to verify your track record. It is good practice to procure testimonials from clients and recommendations from previous employers, to share with interviewers.

Skills and qualities required for operations management

These are the basic skills and qualities that you may need to develop to work in operations management:

Leadership qualities

As an operations manager, you will find yourself in situations where you have to lead a team of professionals and channel their efforts towards a collective goal. You must also be good at generating a consensus among staff, in relation to decisions and policies.

Related: 10 Common Leadership Styles

Analytical skills

Operations managers have to be able to analyse different kinds of data relating to planning, policy, finance and strategy. They must be able to generate tangible takeaways from performance reports and address issues.

Read more: Analytical Skills: Definition, Tips and Examples

Management skills

Operations management involves the continual development, implementation and review of procedures and policies. You will have to manage diverse groups of individuals and should be able to do so in the most effective way to prevent wastage of resources.

Read more: Management Skills: Definition and Examples

Financial literacy

As an operations manager, you will be overseeing the financial planning, budgeting, reporting and auditing processes of the company. Although you may get the assistance of accountants for these processes, it is important to develop basic financial literacy, in order to work efficiently with the finance domain.

Basic legal literacy

A basic understanding of essential regulatory and legal procedures is necessary to function as an operations manager. Managers must also be capable of reading and making sense of legal documents.

Problem-solving abilities

Operations managers must be good at identifying potential problems before they occur. Beyond identification, they should also be able to address the problems and find realistic solutions. Good operations management converts difficult roadblocks into opportunities for learning and development.

Networking skills

Since operations managers are responsible for establishing alliances and collaborations between companies, they must be effective at networking. They must also understand their market and competition well, in order to develop their business.

Interpersonal skills

Operations management involves building professional relationships with employees and superiors in different departments. To manage staff, you must develop good interpersonal skills, including active listening and patience.

Read more: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

Communication skills

As an operations manager, you will be regularly be talking to people in person, via text or on phone calls. Since communication is a large part of a manager's job, it is important for them to perfect their written and spoken communication skills. Communication should be clear, professional and appropriate for the situation.

Read more: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

What is the role of an operations manager?

The exact role of an operations manager varies depending on the company and their department. In general, they may directly oversee the design, planning and control of operations in their company/department. They also monitor performance and efficiency of both the staff and the operations process. Indirectly, they are also involved in areas like finance and marketing, by virtue of their interactions with the managers of these departments.

Operations management roles can be classified into three primary domains:

Human resource management

In this domain, managers will ensure that the individuals employed by the organisation are a good fit for the working culture of the company and their job roles in it. The primary role of operations managers is to manage staff efficiently in order to achieve company goals and targets.

For example, an operations manager may prescribe certain requirements for candidates, before recruitment processes begin. They may even sit in on interviews to ensure that selected candidates meet the prescribed requirements. Following recruitment, managers will develop effective training programs or mechanisms to ensure that candidates are ready for their job roles. They also track the productivity and performance of new recruits to evaluate who is a good fit and who is not. Based on their inferences, they may suggest promoting or transferring employees, to increase the efficiency of the company's operations.

Related: Human Resource Planning: Meaning, Importance and Key Steps

Asset management

Operation processes involve the use of company assets like real estate, equipment, software and vehicles. Managers often have to track the use of assets and set budgets for smooth operation.

For example, an operations manager may be involved in the procurement of assets like warehouses and office buildings. They help prepare expansion plans and get them approved by the board of directors, before they are executed. Managers may also oversee and facilitate transitions in work processes like the incorporation of new technology, software and production systems. They are often answerable for the impacts of these asset based decisions and must be able to justify their decisions with objective facts and verifiable data.

Cost management

Operations managers have to track the operational costs of a company, in order to devise marketing strategies and decide upon price points for their goods/services. Many for-profit organisations try to rely on operations management to cut down costs, improve profits and gain a competitive edge.

For example, an operations manager for an apparel company will be involved in deciding what raw materials to procure and from where. They will factor in the cost of materials, labour, production and logistics to decide upon a price point for their garments. Once these price points are set, they will work with the marketing team to define certain margins within which they can continue making profits. Sales and discount schemes are developed based on these margins.

Explore more articles