Operations Management

What is Operations Management? Why is it so Sought After?
If one is looking for a career in Operations Management, the first thing that one should note is that this field is strictly about the practical know-how of Business – in other words, the customary business operations acumen. Now what are these ‘Operations’? These operations include fulfilling the everyday business requirements. Commonly, these requirements are products, or processes that create these products. To make sure that processes are carried out smoothly and as planned is the duty of an Operations Manager. These operations can be as varied as re-modelling of business operations or as rudimentary as Customer Care.

Since the diversity of the service sector has multiplied, the scope of management of business operations has also increased. Moreover, each organization has its defined everyday functions, and sooner or later, needs a manager to optimize these functions for optimal productivity. Therefore, the scope for demonstrating one’s management skills is plenty.

As an Operation Manager, one is at the core of the entire organization. One is responsible for structuring, improvising, problem solving, and taking all the essential steps needed for quality business operations. Be it looking through the Supply Chain Management, talking to the vendors, ordering production material, or looking over the warehousing of these products, an Operation Manager pumps the blood to all other parts of an organization.

Qualification Needed for a Career in Operations Management
If one is keen on a career in Business Operations, one can start by making sure that he gains a considerable amount of practical experience. Voluntarily taking additional projects that provide an extended practical knowledge and being more participating in the execution work of various projects at workplace will definitely give one an advantage. Additionally, one could take up independent studies, where there is visibility of applied business knowledge. Likewise, Field Study Projects, Case Competitions, General Participatory, and knowledge of products count as good building steps towards a career in Business Operations.

Much of this theoretical knowledge about Business Operations is gained through a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree in Business administration. Additionally, every bit of your practical knowledge in operations will be considered and counted. Thus, a stretched work experience justifying one’s practical knowledge will be an asset to possess. Typically, knowledge gained via an MBA with a prior practical work experience, internships, relevant specializations makes a significantly good case for candidates looking for a career in Business Operations. An MBA with a specialization in Operations will train students to manage production, development, sales, and distribution. The kind of opportunities a good MBA degree brings along with a specialization in Operations, Production, Supply Chain Management and Inventory Management or similar activities, gives one a holistic understanding and serves as a launch pad for business in operations.

Skills Needed for a Career in Operations Management
Operations Management is an exciting career where there are a variety of issues to be handled; because of this, there is a lot of learning and progression involved. One’s reliable skills can take debuting individuals to far-fetched roles like the CEO or the Director of an organization over due course of time.

Several skills will help one in attaining a career in Business Operations, and later facilitate a career progression. First on the list will be the ability to make quick-yet-strategic decisions, essentially in the day-to-day operational settings. To make sure that these decisions are implemented, it is mandatory to have a set of effective communication skills, to handle all the diverse teams involved in the execution. Additionally, Negotiation skills to productively mediate with the vendors, internal customers, suppliers, and unions are highly valued. The skill of planning and organizing, leadership abilities, detailed understanding of the production and performance, problem solving abilities, statistical abilities, interpersonal and adaptive skills – all these play a part in making a good Manager of Business Operations.

Moreover, in the advancing times, technology has started to play a big role in the business customaries, and therefore, a certain amount of familiarity with the industrial computer technology, an active mind to keep up with the competitive business needs and perpetual knowledge-absorbing skills will be a great advantage.

Hierarchy in Operations Management Career Path
As fresh graduates, entry level positions such as Junior or Assistant Operation Manager, Quality Control Manager, Production Planner, or Operations Analyst can open up. As one can see, the roles can either be specialized or general in nature. But, usually at the beginning of a career in Operations Management, one is launched in a specialized role, where they have a good deal of learning opportunities. After several attempts and a torrent of experience with re-engineering, production, quality control, service and cross-team coordination, the specialist will have enough experience to proceed in a more generalist role.

The next way up is the role of a Senior Operations Manager or the Senior Product Manager who looks over the entire operations in the production. On various instances, Senior Managers with a good understanding of operations knowledge manage to graduate to roles such as Industrial Relations Manager, COO, CFO and the CEO.

Pros of a Career in Operations Management
Operations Management is one career where one’s career ladder largely depends on the knowledge and experience that one has gathered. The success of a dedicated Business operations debutant will be soon visible to all, and the professional evolution can transpire. Since a career in Operations Management has a rather multi-disciplinary scope, it never stops to be exciting in terms of projects, public interaction, learning and professional development. These product-related responsibilities will put one at a higher vantage of understanding the product as an entity, along with opening up various interesting areas related to this subject.

Another exciting prospect about this career is the variety of sectors that seek Business Operations Managers. Be it public or private sector, all organizations need an operations function. From Retail, Bank, government agencies to hospitals, manufacturing units and more, the demand for an Operations Manager is ever present.

Cons of a Career in Operations Management
As one starts a career in Operations Management, it might not seem progressive or lucrative as other business career roadmaps. But, this is a fairly competitive career and the chances of survival in this career further depend on your ability to deliver. There are high chances of relocation, in accordance with the production plant units, and these are shifts which are important for those who aspire for a higher role.

The competition is very sharp. Since it is production that we are dealing with, global manufacturing makes this competition all the more intense. Moreover, if there is a solution for a problem faced in Operations, the solution needs to comply with the global standards, and, simultaneously, consider the societal and local environmental implications. So there has to be a lot of scrutiny and deliberation before any actions can be taken; hence, Operations Management entails a rigorous working schedule.

Who is a Career in Operations Management good for?
As an Operations Manager, one is at an important spot. Every product of consumption, from your office table to the wheat used in your bread, was likely to be produced under the guidance of an Operations Manager. Therefore, if one finds it exciting, he is man for the job!

Since operation roles are so varied, one need to take a look at your interests, strengths and skills to understand, where one would be happiest and most successful. As one researches the field, one should look for the type of roles that would match best with his experience and interests. Engage in informational interviews, to get the inside scoop on what it is like to work in operations at a particular company.

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