There are many key roles in a company but none more so than that of managing people and workflows. And among this group is a role with a seemingly overwhelming set of responsibilities — the operations manager, sometimes known as a chief operating officer (COO). Let’s clarify what an operations manager does and how important they are to a business’s expansion.
What is an operations manager?
This leader exercises decisions in practically every aspect of a company’s operations. They have a vital say in multiple areas — finance, staffing, policies, marketing, and goal setting — with the objective of achieving productivity, efficiency, and cost reductions for the entire business.
Given the responsibility of the overall well-being of operations, an operations manager has to have a certain mindset. They need a big-picture perspective, as shown by an ability to bridge and mobilize different departments and groups together for the company’s needs and goals. Also, an operations manager should possess critical thinking skills so they can analyze situations and decide for the entire company's best interests, not only those of a single department.
What are the key responsibilities of an operations manager?
By no means is the following list exhaustive, but it delineates how an operations manager is indispensable in overseeing and improving company-wide operations.
Strategy and policy
First, an operations manager has to oversee the business roadmap or strategy. This entails working closely with the board and with senior stakeholders to determine short- and long-term company goals. They will spearhead building alliances and partnerships with other organizations or adopting new technologies.
Closely linked with a strategic roadmap are policies that ensure the organization continues to thrive unimpeded. As such, an operations manager makes important policy decisions that encompass company rules and compliance measures, including having the expertise or thorough understanding of relevant laws and regulations.
By now, it’s clear that the role is a multifaceted one. But an operations manager is not always like a net cast over the entire organization’s operations. They may harness their wide set of skills and deep industry background into a more specialized place, by leading a particular department.
An HR operations manager, for instance, will cover the following: department budget, company policies, employee training, compliance of internal HR systems, hiring objectives and job description creation, employment trends and best practices, and technology that improves HR department efficiency, just to name some.
Workflow and process optimization
An operations manager has a direct impact on day-to-day operations by deciding on ways that make processes more productive and efficient for both employees and for the business goals of the company.
They do this in a number of ways: adjusting workflows and reassigning tasks, developing, implementing, and reviewing procedures, and identifying and addressing productivity issues and inefficiencies, just to name a few. They are also in charge of promoting technology initiatives, such as specialized software that best boosts productivity and reduces costs.
Operations managers are also expected to oversee high-level human resources duties, sometimes as a COO or as the operations manager of a department. It’s part of their responsibility to stay on top of the needs of each department. This entails knowing the staffing requirements of the organization and working with HR to hire and to train employees to be better assets to the organization.
They also have the organization’s finances at the top of their priorities, as cost savings and optimized spending go hand in hand with productivity and efficiency. They evaluate the most efficient and cost-effective ways for the enterprise to operate.
To that end, an operations manager will manage and utilize the financial information of the company in several ways: auditing the company’s finances, creating and administering budgets, monitoring expenses, making cost-benefit analyses, curtailing spending, and finding the best prices.
Supply chain and inventory
As the inventory of materials is an integral area of operations, an operations manager has to have a hand in supervising supply chain procedures and inventory tracking. One cannot overemphasize the need for a clear and accurate grasp of inventory to be able to properly set and track budgets as well as improve processes.
They also should keep an eye on the entire supply chain process. This allows them to intervene and make adjustments when necessary, making sure materials are available and finished products will reach their set destinations.
SpectrumWise is proud to serve some of the finest small businesses in Charlotte, Gastonia, Rock Hill, Huntersville, and surrounding areas. From experience, we know the technologies that help operations managers make workflows more efficient and employees in various fields, including accounting and finance, architecture and engineering, healthcare, legal services, manufacturing, construction, nonprofits, and real estate, more productive. Find out how we can do the same for your enterprise.
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