Operations Managment

Survey a random group of 3rd graders, and you'll be hard pressed to find any who desire to become an operations manager when they grow up. And yet, without operations managers, many companies would sieze up and stop altogether! There is no doubt that operations management is often a 'not so sexy' job, but there is little doubt that it is a neccessary one! Keep reading and I'll share with you my observations and experiences as an operations manager and what effect they can have on your company.

Operations managers come in many forms and with many titles. Some companies call them transportation managers, some call them branch managers, some production managers and others project supervisors, yet they all have a striking resemblance to one another, they ensure that the day to day operations under their oversight are completed on time and at the lowest possible cost. Most operations managers are given control over a certain portion or line of the company's profit and loss statement and are challenged with managing employees, processes and product lines, while simultaneously charged with reducing overhead while maintaining the quality of the company's product. Many operations managers would describe their official job responsibilities as the day to day organization of chaos. Operations managers rely on their skills of oversight, delegation, networking and cost control to complete their tasks. Of these skills, the often most overlooked or underated is the ability to network with other operations managers. The ability to swallow pride and admit that one does not have all the answers is an admirable quality!

In my capacity as a multi-location branch manager, I was challenged with 4 essential tasks; reducing monthly transportation costs while simultaneously increasing it’s revenues; increasing utilization on company assets, handling pre-existing interpersonal conflicts which exsisted within my staff and find a new operating location for my primary branch which had out grown its current facility. With a limited staff and few resources (the company I was employed with had very little invested in tools and training) I set to work. You can read about the steps I took and the results here.

Often, operations managers are required to be salesmen. They are sometimes responsible for formulating the next year’s business plan, and required to sell any increases in budget or staff to their management. At the same time, as new promotions and products are rolled out, they are tasked with selling the company strategy down the chain to those under their management.

Travel to a company awards ceremony or retreat, and you might have trouble locating an operations manager in the room. While much is demanded from the operations managers of the world, it is often difficult to quantify the results as a matter of increased profits or increased sales.The operations manager toils away, satisfied that they were able to reduce their costs by 2% and increase productivity by 5%, which gave the company the competitive edge it needed to move those extra thousand units that month. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to create a process which reviewed our accident reporting process, improving the procedure and saving the company more than $50,000 in the first six months while simultaneously improving the quality and availability of our product.

An operations manager who understands the intricacies of the position, not only handling managed employees, but interfacing with upper management and buying into and selling company initiatives and processes, is imperative. Operations managers must be able to adapt quickly and understand the cost impact of decisions made even before the total cost is played out in the form of an invoice or a line item on the P&L. You need a manager who is dedicated to their position and is satisfied to be the best operations manager they can be. Experience matters and thankfully, I have what you’re looking for!


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