What is Operations Management? What are its Different Types?

What is Operations Management? What are its Different Types? | Supply Chain Management | Emeritus

A recent article by the Harvard Business Review highlights the need for a new operations model. Traditional operation management models follow a waterfall mechanism in which decision-making is done at the top, and the information flows to the lower levels in the hierarchy. However, technological disruptions and changing market conditions require organizations to be more agile. Therefore, the new operations management model provides decision-making ability at various points within the organization for prompt response to threats and opportunities. This article talks in detail about the meaning of operations management, its types, and the career opportunities available in this field.

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What is Operations Management and Why is it Important in Businesses?

Core Product Management SkillsOperations management refers to the overall management of business processes, including IT, finance, and sales. However, the core objective of operations management is to ensure efficient production of goods or services and customer delivery. Operations management also involves planning, organizing, and controlling resources.

What is operations management can be also defined as a framework or function to ensure smooth governance of an organization by managing technology, information, and other resources.

The top advantages of an efficient operations management system for businesses are:

  • Improves operational efficiency and increases profitability
  • Ensures delivery of quality goods and services and increases customer satisfaction
  • Automates operational processes and facilities innovation, thus increasing a business’s competitive advantage
  • Facilitates achievement of overall business objectives 
  • Ensures regulatory compliance and reduces risk

What are the Different Types of Operations Management

Now that you know what is operations management, let’s also further discuss its most popular types.

1. Supply Chain Management 

Operations management in the supply chain is all about ensuring seamless movement of goods across a supply chain—from suppliers to manufacturing units to warehouses and distribution centers, and finally to the customers. Modern supply chain management roles focus on sustainability and boosting efficiency.

2. Production System

Among the different types of operations management systems is this one. A production operations management system focuses primarily on improving efficiency in product manufacturing and delivering processes. It also includes sourcing raw material and warehousing and inventory management, planning manufacturing schedules, allocating resources, and infrastructure maintenance.

3. Inventory Management

This is another subset of operations management that involves managing storage and distribution of inventory for e-commerce or retail businesses.

4. Service Management

Contrary to product-based operations management, service management is concerned with the efficient and timely delivery of services to customers. It involves analyzing customer demand, capacity planning, service monitoring, and quality assessment.

ALSO READ: How Can Supply Chain Management Help to Future-Proof Your Business

What are the Different Types of Career Opportunities Available in Operations Management?

Here are some of the most popular operations management career opportunities.

1. Operations Manager

Operations managers are business leaders who oversee business processes and activities, including project delivery and quality control. This holistic role is available across different industries and departments, such as finance, IT, and logistics. The key responsibility of an operations manager is to streamline processes and increase overall business efficiency. Operations managers usually report to the vice president of operations or Chief Operating Officer (COO).

2. Supply Chain Analyst

This is an early-career role in supply chain management and involves assisting in planning and managing supply chain processes. The primary role of a professional in this position is to analyze data to reduce waste production, minimize costs, and provide insights into customer trends.

3. Retail Manager

Retail operations involve the overall management of brand stores across multiple locations. This job involves planning and executing strategies for expanding stores in specific geographical locations, resource allocation, and planning corporate policies.

4. Quality Control Analyst

It is also an entry-level career opportunity available across various industries, such as retail, pharmaceuticals, and hospitality. The main responsibilities of a quality control analyst is collecting and analyzing samples of raw materials and finished goods to ensure that they adhere to the required quality standards

ALSO READ: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Become a Highly Effective COO

What are the Skills Required for a Career in Operations Management?

Let us now look at the top skills for operation management careers.

1. Data Processing and Analysis 

One of the key responsibilities of an operations manager is to process and analyze organization-wide data to understand silos. Moreover, they also deal with production, inventory management, and financial data. Therefore, operations managers must know data processing and analysis for informed decision-making 

2. Risk Management 

As explained above, ensuring overall operational efficiency and boosting scalability are core objectives of operations management. Achieving these objectives involves risk identification, analysis, and mitigation related to supply chain disruptions, quality-control issues, and other matters.

3. Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is the foundation of an efficient operations management role. It involves aligning business objectives with operational processes, creating project roadmaps, allocating resources, and developing action plans.

4. Budget Management

An operations manager forecasts project expenses and prepares budgets for project planning, procurement of raw materials, and vendor payment. Therefore, they must have budget management skills.

5. Project Management

The operations management role primarily involves project management to generate business revenue or increase operational efficiency. Therefore, operational managers need project planning, management, budgeting, and controlling skills.

6. Staff Management 

The role also involves hiring, training, and managing talent to support operations, supply chain, quality management, among other processes.

7. Vendor Management

Most manufacturing or service businesses have a vast vendor network. Therefore, operations managers also oversee collaboration with vendors or suppliers to deliver quality goods or services.

8. Supply Chain Management

These managers also lead supply chain management in organizations. They define processes and guidelines for procuring raw materials, managing inventory and distribution levels, and the timely delivery of products or services to customers.

9. Compliance

Professionals in operations management have expert knowledge of regulatory compliances for their respective industries to mitigate costs and reputation loss.

10. Market Research

Trends in supply chain, quality control, and retail management are changing rapidly. Therefore, businesses need to adopt agile approaches to maintain a competitive edge. Hence, operations managers need market research skills to learn about the latest trends and leverage them to achieve organizational goals.

In addition to the above-mentioned technical skills, an operation management role also demands the following soft skills

  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving
  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Conflict resolution
  • Communication
  • Organizational
  • Change management
  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Decision-making

ALSO READ: How Supply Chain Analytics Can Boost Business Revenue

What are the Salary Ranges for Operation Management Professionals?

Here is a list of ops manager salary for different types of operations management.

Role Average Annual Salary (in $)
Operations Manager 120,636
Supply Chain Manager 124,686
Logistics Manager 118,323
Quality Control Manager  123,736
Production Manager  121,053

Based on the above figures, the salary range for operations management career roles is $115,000 and $130,000.

ALSO READ: How to Become a Supply Chain Manager and Drive Growth in Businesses

How Can One Pursue a Career in Operations Management?

Here is a step-by-step process to become an operations manager:

1. Seek the Right Educational Qualification

Operations managers must know how business processes work. Therefore, they need a Bachelor’s or Master’s in Business a

Administration or Business Management. Professionals who do not have an educational background in business management but have business acumen and strategy and planning skills can also pursue operations management.

2. Learn Skills Through Internships

The growth of skill-based economies across the world require professionals to gain exceptional technical and soft skills to get hired. Therefore, professionals must do business, management or strategy internships, learn relevant skills and gain practical experience. Working with small-scale startups is an excellent idea because you learn how to frame processes and create systems from scratch. You can also learn crucial skills by pursuing online operations management courses.

3. Stay Updated With the Latest Technologies and Trends

In addition to skills, industry awareness is also crucial. Hence, professionals must learn about the latest business models or technologies to streamline operations and increase organizational efficiency. This offers a competitive edge over other candidates. You can also read industry reports, e-books, or blogs and attend conferences or webinars to learn about the latest trends.

4. Network

One of the best ways to secure operations manager job opportunities and get a higher ops manager salary is to build a solid professional network on LinkedIn or community groups. This helps you get job referrals.

ALSO READ: What Does a Supply Chain Manager do? Everything You Need to Know

According to the U.S. News and World Report, an operations manager ranks as the eighth best business job in the US and is 35 in the top 100 jobs list. Moreover, operations manager jobs are expected to increase by 4.6% by 2032. Modern businesses need expert operations managers to navigate through changing ecosystems and leverage the latest technologies. Hence, it is a promising career path for the future. However, the role is very dynamic. Professionals need skills and industrial know-how to succeed in this field. You can pursue Emeritus’ online supply chain and operations courses to gain relevant skills and boost your operations management career!

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About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Sneha is a content marketing professional with over four years of experience in helping brands achieve their marketing goals. She crafts research-based, engaging content, making sure to showcase a bit of her creative side in every piece she writes. Sneha spends most of her time writing, reading, or drinking coffee. You will often find her practicing headstands or inversions to clear her mind.
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