What is an operations manager? Description, salaries & more (2023)

What is an operations manager? Description, salaries & more (1)

What is an operations manager? Description, salaries & more (2)

By Cooper Nelson

December 15, 2021 • 6 Minutes

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An efficient business can meet deadlines, outpace competitors and adapt to market changes appropriately. To foster the highest level of efficiency possible within an organization, however, many companies depend on operations management.

Whether you’re pursuing a business degree or scaling a company, find out more about how operations management helps enhance an organization’s productivity by satisfying customers, improving revenue and gaining an edge over other businesses in a market.

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What does an operations manager do?

Operations managers work to implement management practices that can help companies innovate. As an operations manager, you will likely be responsible for developing and implementing processes that improve efficiency in your workplace.

The responsibilities of an operations manager can include the following:

  • Production
  • Quality assurance
  • Legal compliance
  • Employee hiring and onboarding
  • Ongoing employee training
  • Customer service
  • Project management
  • Budget management
  • Warehouse management

Where do operations managers work?

Operations managers can work in a variety of industries. As a result, you might work in many different locations as an office manager. Your exact location will typically depend on the nature of your employment.

You might work in the following industries:

  • Warehousing and storage
  • International business
  • Construction
  • Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Government
  • Education

Many operations managers work on-site at their employer’s place of business. You might have an office in a warehouse or an office environment, where you can maintain proximity to other employees or team members. You might also work in a company’s human resources department, given its involvement in new employee hiring and training.

In certain cases, you might be able to work remotely as an operations manager. As long as you have access to communication tools and a stable internet connection, you can draft and implement effective operations policies from a distance. However, even remote operations managers usually need to visit the office periodically to connect with other team members and get a closer look at business operations.

Skills needed for operations management

Operations managers regularly depend on a variety of skills to help them streamline efficiency in the workplace. Strong communication and organization skills allow an operations manager to create, implement and optimize processes that improve a company’s workflows.

The ideal candidate for an operations management position might possess or develop the following skills:

  • Technological proficiency — You’ll use computers, phones, information dashboards and other technologies to optimize the efficiency of your organization’s operations.
  • Public speaking — You’ll frequently address employees, vendors, stakeholders, executives and other internal company representatives involved in current business operations.
  • Instruction — You might need to teach company employees how they can improve daily habits in ways that bolster efficiency and productivity.
  • Data analysis and reporting — Whether it’s purchasing totals, costs, customer behavior metrics or other data, you’ll analyze metrics to identify ways that your company can further improve operations.
  • Risk analysis — You’ll also assess the current state of your company’s operations, identifying any potential risks or challenges the organization could face as a result of current procedures.
  • Problem-solving — You’ll regularly depend on problem-solving skills, pairing market challenges with unique solutions that drive success and satisfy stakeholders.
  • Product optimization — You might inform product design, simplify workflows, oversee quality control or manage production budgets to optimize the way your organization creates and offers products or services.

As an aspiring operations manager, you might find that you don’t possess all these skills. That’s perfectly fine. Over time, you can learn to develop them through training and practice.

You can also build your skill set as an operations manager through ongoing education, including earning a business degree. Many of the skills you’ll need as an operations manager are also in-demand skills among MBA graduates.

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How to become an operations manager

Becoming an operations manager is a process that can take time, effort and financial investment. To assume a role as an operations manager, you’ll likely need to fulfill the necessary education requirements in addition to any required certifications.


You might take your first step toward an operations manager position by pursuing a business degree. You can enhance your operations management education by obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Management degree, for example, or a degree in a closely related field.

Aspiring operations managers could also elect to pursue an industry-respected Bachelor of Science in Business degree with an Operations Management Certificate.

Depending on your needs — and competition in the operations management market — you might want to continue your studies by obtaining a master’s degree. A Master of Management degree equips you for a position as an operations manager and teaches skills in operations, strategic planning and leadership.

Alternatively, you could complete an online MBA program before you begin a career as a business manager, a financial analyst or an operations manager.

Although becoming an operations manager can take time, upon completion of your education, you’ll be able to put your MBA to work improving your community, market or organization of choice.

Certifications and licensure

In addition to the required education, you may need to obtain one or more third-party certifications before you can become an operations manager. Operations management certifications provide education in particular operations fields. They allow you to deepen your knowledge of inventory management, service operations and other fields.

To become an operations manager, you may need to complete one or more of the following industry certifications:

  • Certified Operations Manager (COM®) — As a certified operations manager, you’ll implement strategies in product forecasting, service strategy, decision-making and operations taught by the renowned American Institute for Business Management and Communication.
  • Certified Association Executive (CAE) — Offered by the Center for Association Leadership, this certification identifies an individual who is qualified to lead an organization through challenges facing today’s markets.
  • Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt™ (ICGB™) — You’ll earn ICGB licensure after instruction from the International Association for Six Sigma Certification. This certification teaches you to implement the DMAIC phases: define, measure, analyze, improve and control.
  • Project Management Professional (PMP®) — Learn high-quality project leadership, management and optimization skills through a PMP certification offered through the Project Management Institute®.

These and other certifications may help polish your understanding of effective business and help to further qualify you for a professional operations management role.

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Operations manager salaries

Your exact income as an operations manager will depend on a variety of factors. Your employer, employer’s size, years of experience, education and certifications can all affect your overall salary.

Salaries of operations managers ranged from $45,850 to $208,000 in May 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The top 25% of operations managers earned upward of $161,190, while the bottom 25% of operations managers earned $67,450 or less. Region and industry can have a significant influence on pay and earning potential, as different fields and organizations have different needs and offer differing opportunities.

The salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.

Operations manager job outlook

Operations managers should enjoy a favorable job outlook over the next decade. Demand for operations managers is expected to increase roughly 9% from 2020 to 2030, which is as fast as average across all occupations.

As the American workforce matures and current employees retire, some operations manager positions are expected to become available. This trend will allow younger individuals to assume roles as operations managers.

Is becoming an operations manager right for you?

There are many career paths to choose from once you obtain a business degree. Finding the right career path isn’t always easy, particularly when you’re passionate about several different markets. Fortunately, it’s not a decision you need to make immediately.

Instead, you can first take steps toward your optimal career path when you choose the right college program. Find an educational institution that speaks to your interests and needs, one that focuses on helping you achieve your career goals. Look for programs taught by experienced industry leaders who offer the right combination of flexibility and accountability to encourage personal growth.

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After you’ve completed your education, you'll have time to consider potential career options. If you’re someone with a communicative skill set, and you want to help one or more organizations improve their output, the role of an operations manager may just be an ideal fit for you.

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What exactly does an operations manager do? ›

In general, the role of an operations manager is to manage all activities involved in producing the goods and/or services of a business. In the retail industry, for example, an operations manager would manage all activities related to daily retail floor functions as well as planning and strategizing.

What are the four 4 responsibilities of operation manager? ›

The specific duties of an Operations Manager include formulating strategy, improving performance, procuring material and resources and securing compliance.

Is an operations manager higher than a manager? ›

General Manager vs.

While a GM is responsible for all aspects of a business, an operations manager is only responsible for operations and production. A GM's responsibilities are broader in scope and include HR, marketing, and strategy.

What are the six direct responsibilities of operations managers? ›

Their direct responsibilities include managing both the operations process, embracing design, planning, control, performance improvement, and operations strategy.

What are the three most important roles of an operation manager? ›

Here's a look at some of the major roles and responsibilities of an operations manager.
  • Organizing events to increase staff motivation and engagement.
  • Analyzing data to calculate the cost-benefit ratio.
  • Locating problems in the company's supply chain through quality control checks.
12 Sept 2022

What are the 3 roles of operations management? ›

The term operations management encompasses planning, implementing, and supervising the production of goods or services.

What are the 7 main function of operational management? ›

We can distinguish seven main functions of operation management in the industrial enterprise: planning, scheduling, purchasing, controlling, quality control and inventory control. In each of those fields operations managers should conduct many decision affecting of-organization effectiveness.

Who qualifies as operations manager? ›

Who qualifies as operations manager? Applicants with a degree in business administration, business management, or accounting, and relevant experience in a position that would prepare them for the responsibility of operations manager are typical qualifications.

What makes a good operation manager? ›

A good operations manager understands that employees are valuable and can effectively communicate with operations staff. That means delivering the hard facts, providing thoughtful and constructive feedback, and listening to empowered employees who are part of the same team.

What's another name for operations manager? ›

What is another word for operations manager?
general managerboss
operational managersenior manager

Who is the boss of the operations manager? ›

Operations Managers usually report to the leadership and executive teams. If they work in a larger company, they'll often report to the Chief Operating Officer.

What title is higher than operations manager? ›

A director of operations is a management professional that supervises general managers and other high-level staff. Their primary duties often include hiring managers, supervising and leading departments, implementing policies and making long-term decisions for the company.

What are the 4 types of operations management? ›

Every business operates along four basic focus dimensions: finance, customers, internal processes, and learning and innovation. These theoretical divisions of operations management come from the research of Robert S. Kaplan and David P.

What are the 5 basic principles of operation management? ›

At the most fundamental level, management is a discipline that consists of a set of five general functions: planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling. These five functions are part of a body of practices and theories on how to be a successful manager.

What are 2 of the roles of operations management? ›

Summary. 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.

What is the most challenging responsibility of an operations manager? ›

Managing conflicts or competing business practices within an organization is a major challenge for an operations managers, who are often left feeling like a school principal.

What is an example of operation management? ›

For example, retail management may be considered a type of operations management. The direction and control of the processes that produce a firm's products and deliver its services to customers.

What are the two types of operations management? ›

Types of operations management include operations and production efficiency, quality management, and inventory and supply chain management. Operational efficiency measures the profitability of a company based on its operations. Example - lean production.

What are the 4 vs of operations management? ›

What are the 4Vs of Operations Management? The 4Vs – the 4 dimensions of operations are: Volume, Variety, Variation and Visibility. They can be used to assess all different types of business operations and understand how any why they operate, their key competitive strengths, weaknesses and different approaches.

What are the six 6 strategies in operations management? ›

Nurture all six, and success is much more likely.
  • Customers. Perhaps the most important strategy will revolve around your customers. ...
  • Partnering. ...
  • Operational Improvements. ...
  • New Product or Service Development / Innovation. ...
  • Technology & Information Management. ...
  • People and Talent.

What level of management is an operations manager? ›

Operations manager is typically a mid-level management role.

This means an operations manager holds a vital position in a business as they are the front-line managers that implement operational goals into the workforce.

How many years of experience do you need to be an operations manager? ›

It takes 7 to 9 years to become an operations manager.

Most operations managers have completed an undergraduate degree and have at least 3 to 5 years of experience. The pathway to becoming an operations manager typically involves a combination of education, certification (sometimes), and experience on the job.

Is an operations manager over an office manager? ›

While their titles are strikingly similar, operations managers and office managers simply do not have much overlap between their respective duties. Operations managers are supposed to look at the big picture, working each day to improve all aspects of the business to further the company's goals.

What comes after Operation manager? ›

After gaining experience as an operations manager, you'll be able to advance in your career, eventually moving into the sought-after position of a COO, one of the highest-ranking executives in a company, who works alongside and reports to the chief executive officer (CEO).

Is operations manager a good job? ›

Operations management applies to any industry, function, organization, or company – it really is that important to a business. Because of this, the job opportunities available to experts in operations management are unparalleled.

What are the 4 operations on the process? ›

The 4Vs – the 4 dimensions of operations are: Volume, Variety, Variation and Visibility. They can be used to assess all different types of business operations and understand how any why they operate, their key competitive strengths, weaknesses and different approaches.

What are the 4 Operation management activities for operation planning? ›

Primary activities of operations management include job design, scheduling, materials management, capacity management, facilities management, and quality management.

What are the roles of an operations manager give 5? ›

Operations manager duties and responsibilities may include interviewing, selection, and hiring; training new and existing employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; authoring and discussing with employees performance appraisals; addressing employee performance and corrective action plans; employee motivation ...

What are the two main goals of operations management? ›

The goal of operations management is to help maximize efficiency within an organization, increase the organization's productivity, increase profits while reducing costs, and ensure the production and delivery of high-quality products or services that suit consumers' needs.

What are the six 6 Strategies in operations management? ›

Nurture all six, and success is much more likely.
  • Customers. Perhaps the most important strategy will revolve around your customers. ...
  • Partnering. ...
  • Operational Improvements. ...
  • New Product or Service Development / Innovation. ...
  • Technology & Information Management. ...
  • People and Talent.

What are the five basic operations? ›

Five basic operations of a computer system are:
  • Inputting.
  • Processing.
  • Outputting.
  • Storing.
  • Controlling.

What are the 3 order of operations? ›

The order of operations are a set of rules for how to evaluate expressions. They make sure everyone gets to the same answer. Many people memorize the order of operations as PEMDAS (parentheses, exponents, multiplication/division, and addition/subtraction).

What are the three types of operations? ›

Key Takeaways to 3 Types of Business Operations

The 3 main types of business management include service, merchandising, and manufacturing.

Is operations manager a high position? ›

Operations Managers typically work in a more senior-level role, as they oversee the operations of the entire organization, rather than certain departments. They usually work more closely with other executives and shareholders, while the General Manager usually works hands-on with other mid-level Managers.


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