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The Importance of Operations Management

role of operations management in business

The Role of the Operations Manager

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the meaning of operations management is defined as the following:

The control of the activities involved in producing goods and providing services, and the study of the best ways to do this.”

In essence, the role of operations management is crucial to any business.

Imagine this: you’re a plastic manufacturer and supply various companies with packaging. You’ve just brought a new client on board and they’re looking to launch their goods within a month or so. Where do you start? Well, the operations manager will ensure that the correct budget is allocated, the right people are on the job, and to make sure that everyone involved is aware of the roles they play. This will help to ensure that the deadline is met and within budget.

Effective operations management also helps with employee engagement and defines the roles and responsibilities within an organisation. No matter what obstacle an organisation faces, a strategic operations management plan in place will ensure that employees’ workflow and company production remain unaffected.

Benefits of Operations Management

A smooth operations management process has many benefits for an organisation, including:

Product/service quality

How do you ensure that your product/service is of the best quality? Having a checklist that meets the objectives and goals of the company as well as meeting the customer’s needs.

The operations manager will have a set list of processes and a checklist to determine that everything is in order during the pre-production process. This includes making sure that everyone is aware of what the product/service needs and informing everyone of the product/service objectives.

Once the final product has been created, the operations manager will assess to ensure it meets the organisation goals and that the customer’s needs are met. Thereafter, the operations manager will review the pre-production process to ensure efficiency for the next creation.

Customer satisfaction

A customer review can make or break a business. If a negative word spreads, it could be a challenge to retain clients. This is why it’s important to ensure that your customers’ needs are at the forefront of your product or service.

The operations manager will conduct a quality management process, a methodology uses to create a product/service that will meet the customers’ needs. If the organisation is a service provider, the customer is the lifeblood. The operations manager will have processes in place to make sure that the service quality is the best. A returning customer means more for the bottom line.

The elements used to help gain a satisfactory customer includes:

Quality management: To ensure the organisation maintains a consistent and good service.
Employee capacity: Making sure the right people are in the right roles, which helps produce a good product/service.
Planning: To make sure that there is no lapse in production and that goods/services are on time.
Enough inventory: To keep up with customer demand.

With these four elements in mind, the operations manager can meet the customers’ needs.

Revenue Increase

An organisation will have a good reputation thanks to great product/service quality and customer satisfaction. This leads to increased revenue from a new customer base. The revenue growth could help with the launch of new and innovative products/services or an increase in resources and technology.

Competitive advantage

An effective operations management plan also means a business could be ahead of its competition. If internal and external factors are managed well within an organisation, it could mean a good standing within the market.


There are certain rules and regulations an organisation needs to adhere to. The operations manager will have certain controls in place to avoid fines and to make sure the organisation is running within a lawful manner.

Motivated employees

Overall, the operations manager ensures that employees know the roles within a company. This is important because often, employees feel left out and demotivated if they feel they’re not contributing in a meaningful way. An operations manager helps define these roles to ensure that production is maximised and efficient.

Why study Operations Management?

Understanding the values and nature of an operations manager could help you become a good manager. The skills you learn could be applied across all industries and you will likely be valuable within your own organisation.

With online learning, there is no interruption to your workday and you’ll learn in an environment comfortable to you. Studying an Operations Management course online could help you gain an effective management strategy that will benefit your organisation.

Operations Management Jobs

types of jobs in operations management

You’re looking for an operations management job.

Before we look at what positions are available for you, let’s look at what the general role entails.

What is Operations Management?

An operations manager is tasked with overseeing all business operations; ensuring that systems run smoothly and work is completed in both time and budget restraints.

Although an operations manager might be hired to look after one department, usually the individual is involved in the supervision of many sectors within a business. For example, the operations manager might assist in the management of the finance, marketing, sales, and HR departments in a company in order to have an awareness of all processes. This allows the operations manager to look for ways to streamline the systems to ensure maximum efficiency.

How do I get into Operations Management?

If you are looking to become an operations manager or wanting to change your current operations management job, it is always recommended that you equip yourself as much as possible. Skills can be learnt either through business experience or by taking a relevant short course in operations management.

What are the fields of Operations Management?

There are wide opportunities for new-to-the-business individuals, experienced operations managers and general directors to become involved in the exciting world of operations management.

The key fields in operations management are:

Business Operations Manager

This path is arguably the best for a first operations management job. The role involves the oversight of general business activity related to project or company planning, scheduling and budgeting. The general business operations manager has a hand in optimising processes and corporate infrastructure to keep production or service management at the lowest possible cost while maintaining the highest quality.

Materials Manager

The operations manager specialising in the control of the materials of a company has a focus on all phases between the production and completion of a product as well as the logistics of storage and transportation for all goods. The materials manager should have key skills in tracking systems, storehouse control and logistical administration.

If you are looking for Operations Management jobs in the materials management field, you might consider becoming a traffic manager, a warehouse supervisor, or a logistics advisor for a company.

Purchasing Manager

Purchasing could be a major focus for a person with sales and financial experience who is looking for operations management jobs. The purchasing manager is responsible for buying the supplies and raw materials that a company requires for operations as well as ensuring that any goods purchased are delivered on time. All purchases done by the purchasing manager should be the best product at the best price.

A person in this role should have key skills in budgeting and negotiations. Someone who is thrifty or well-suited to saving and finding the best deal will have an advantage in this position.

Production Manager

The production manager is similar to the materials manager in terms of supervising the production processes as both roles are involved in the management in the goods department on the company. However, the production manager is more involved in the manufacturing systems of the product, focusing on quality control, equipment maintenance, and scheduling protocols.

Operations management jobs in the production field could be the line manager, the manufacturing coordinator, or the production supervisor.

Operations Researcher

While hands-on management appeals to some, others prefer the theoretical and academic approach to operations. An operations researcher is tasked with finding the best ways to use a company’s resources. This includes financial assets, human resources, time, and equipment. The theory behind operations is not as straightforward as it might seem and researchers are responsible for making the processes which are used for management more streamlined and simple.

Logistics Manager

The logistics manager of a company has a key focus on the processes and systems in the business operations. This role is a mix between the materials manager and production manager. The person who is responsible for overseeing the logistics is usually focused on receiving raw materials for production and shipping out goods once completed. The role also includes keeping track of the inventory and general sales figures.

Take a short course in Operations Management

The skills necessary is covered in the Operations Management short course we offer. Through this course, you gain insight into the fundamental pillars in a business and how you can use these to succeed in objectives you are assigned to in your time as an operations manager. You also gain the skills in approaching the processes in the business while managing internal and external relations. The 8-week course also teaches you how to identify and execute operations management strategies which will see your operational plan completed excellently.

What will it take to succeed?

success in your career

An ever-changing job market requires you to constantly keep your skills and abilities sharp. You’ve been for the interviews and you know that you can do the job. But the feedback is always the same; someone else was better prepared, had more experience or they have the necessary skills required.

Don’t be overlooked and make sure you stand out from the rest.

According to the World Economic Forum, by the year 2020, over 35% of skills on your CV will have changed. So don’t be one of those skilled workers left behind. Update your skillset by doing a short course to show your current or even future employers that you are serious about your career.

Here are the 10 skills you will need to thrive in any job by 2020:

  1. – Complex Problem Solving – Developed capacities used to solve novel, ill-defined problems in complex, real-world settings.
  2. – Critical Thinking – Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  3. – Creativity – The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  4. – People Management – Motivating, developing and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
  5. – Coordinating with Others – Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
  6. – Emotional Intelligence – Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  7. – Judgement and Decision Making – Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  8. – Service Orientation – Actively looking for ways to help people
  9. – Negotiation – Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  10. – Cognitive Flexibility – The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

What skills do you need for Operations Management?

Imagine this:

You’re about to head into an important meeting with the company executives. You have been with the company for enough time to know that these meetings cannot be taken lightly.

Your boss starts speaking. He starts with a joke. People laugh. He continues:

“You know, there are certain people in a company who prove to be crucial to our success. The real go-getters. Those are the ones we keep around. They’re the few who make us who we are today.”

He pauses.

“I’d really like to commend insert your name here for displaying the kind of valuable characteristics we need for our company.”

If you’ve got the skills to make yourself a necessary cog in your company’s wheel, you might not need to imagine this scene.

What makes a great Operations Manager?

To become a remarkable operations manager, you need to be able to show that you are adept by displaying certain characteristics. These skills are important to both the success of the company as well as your own managerial position.

The necessary skills for Operations Management are:


As an operations manager, you need to communicate with numerous parties. While leading a team, you have to be able to convey a message clearly to each team member so that they know what to do and how you want it done. You also should prioritise external relationships, such as clients, suppliers, and stakeholders. For example, having a well-established connection between yourself and a supplier could give you an advantage when you need materials.

Time management

In general life, things need to get done on time. In Operations Management, it’s the same. The only difference is that others are relying on you to make sure things are done in time as an operations manager. Managing your time at work means managing your company’s time. This is a critical skill to develop as efficiently is one of the fundamental pillars of managing the operating systems in a company.


Leading and communicating are best friends in management. If you can communicate effectively, it is likely that leading your team well will be smooth sailing. Leading a team requires caring for the individuals in the task force and knowing how to look after them well. If a person is happy at a company, it is much more likely that they will want to work hard for the business. As an operations manager, it is vital to encourage your team to be the most efficient they can be in their roles.

Always look to improve

‘Optimisation’ is not just a buzzword thrown around in business. The task of making systems cost less, work better, and do things more quickly is a massive undertaking – one for which the operations manager is responsible. A key part of a career in operations is to either improve already existing systems or to install processes which might work better than the ones in place.

How to improve your Operations Management skills

Constantly practice optimisation

It’s a focus in the field of Operations Management. So, if this is your career, it should be one of your focuses too. In your day-to-day life, look for simple ways to do things better and more efficiently.

Whether it’s catching up on your emails while waiting for your food in the microwave or reading an important blog post while on the bus, there are ways to save yourself time with little effort.

Consider looking for feedback

We’re not saying you should constantly seek affirmation for your work. We are saying you should be open to ideas from other people, such as your employer, your team members, or even your loved ones. Another person could have a different insight into a problem which could ultimately solve the issue.

Set achievable goals

This seems to be popular in oversaid business mantras, but it is such an important concept to fully grasp as a manager. If you are hoping to change the company’s world after a week of being there, you’re setting yourself – and probably your team – up for disappointment. Aim big, but don’t for the impossible.

What should an Operations Manager do?

Now that you know what abilities you need to be a great operations manager, the follow-up question might be how exactly do these skills play out?

Although defined responsibilities depend on the exact career role and the company’s focus, the manager usually has general duties related to:

1. Production management
2. The evaluation of the efficiency of processes in place
3. Perform quality control
4. Product tracking
5. Stock and inventory tracking
6. Monitoring administrative strategies

Finally, an Operations Manager should:

1. Consider which skills they possess and should look to hone them. This will ultimately be beneficial for themselves as a manager, their team, and their company.
2. Look at which skills they don’t have and find ways to develop them. A short course in Management is an exceptional way to realise how this can happen.

Everything you need to know about Operations Management

operations management guide

A crucial part of running a business is to ensure that business operations are running smoothly. This is where the role of operations management is important. To ensure that the business reaches its financial goals, the operations manager will ensure that all processes are streamlined and mapped in order to achieve the desired outcome.

The operations manager wears many hats within an organisation. This includes helping with finance, sales, human resources, IT, and if necessary marketing. By keeping his or her hand in each of these jars, an operations manager is aware of what is happening within each of these departments.

Functions of operations manager

The operations manager has a wide range of functions that they need to perform within an organisation. Overall, the main job description of the operation manager is to ensure that all products and tasks are delivered on time, within budget, and to ensure the outcome is successful. To make sure that the job is done well, they perform the following functions:

1. Create and manage a budget
2. Define company policies and implement training
3. Project planning
4. Increase business efficiency
5. Forecasting

Create and manage a budget

Finance is an important aspect to track for an operations manager. They will receive an allocated budget to kickstart and maintain the project. With this budget, they will take a look at the cost of resources and tools. Part of budgeting includes:



The operations manager will receive the task and will need to allocate a budget towards resources and tools. Most organisations have policies and procedures and the operations manager will need to have a look at this to make sure he/she is following protocol.
The operations manager will need the following to create a budget:

1. Cost estimates
2. Basis of estimates
3. Scope baseline
4. Project schedule
5. Resource calendars
6. Contracts

Once these have been finalised, the operations manager can move on to the next step.


This means putting the plan into action. The operations manager will need to take a look at resources and tools. This means sitting with those involved and determining what is needed.


Along the way, there will be challenges. That much is a given in any business. Sometimes there might be an extra resource that is needed or the time during one of the project phases might need to be extended. The operations manager will need to assess the importance of the challenges and will update the budget accordingly. Obviously, this will need approval.


In this phase, the operations manager needs to look at the budget to see whether the allocated funds worked. This will help set a template for similar projects going forward as well as keep the project moving along as planned.

Define company policies and implement training

To ensure business operations are running smoothly, the operations manager will implement policies to make sure that employees are aware of their role within the company. The policies also see that staff work in a safe and harmonious environment.

Efficiency is also an important aspect for the operations manager. Training a staff to perform tasks excellently in the least time possible is a critical part of managing a team. To make sure that employees are performing the job well, constant teaching needs to be implemented. The operations manager may suggest courses or training seminars that may help career advancement and job efficiency.

The operations manager needs to ensure that policies and training meet the organisation’s overall mission.

Project planning

High-level planning is needed when running a business. An operations manager will need to become familiar with the use of schedules to help arrange project plans, resource workloads, work structure breakdowns, and setting realistic timelines.

Resources will need to be optimised to ensure that the company has an edge over competitors and to make sure the outcome is of the highest quality. The operations manager will ensure that the business strategy is in line with the company’s mission with regards to sales, capacity, etc.

Increase business efficiency

A business is only successful if all departments are working as a unit. With a common goal in mind, the outcome is fruitful. The job of the operations manager is to ensure that all objectives are met and that the business is running as efficiently as possible. What this means is that whatever support a department needs, the operations manager will make sure it happens. For example, if automation will help make a function more efficient and produce higher quality, the operations manager will assess to make sure it meets business objectives and is within budget. If given the green light, it will be implemented.

Management should look to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of support services (HR, IT and Finance) through improvements to each function as well as coordination and communication between support and business functions.


A big part of operations management is forecasting. This refers to product demand. By analysing, the operations manager will need to forecast to know what to produce, when to produce and how to produce in accordance with the customer’s needs.

Careers in operations management

There are many career options you could explore within the operations management field. These include:

Business Operations Manager
Quality Assurance Manager
Operations Research Analyst
Logistics Manager

Business Operations Manager

The business operations manager executes and manages the company’s operational activities. This means overseeing the day-to-day operations to ensure that goals are achieved and that business objectives are met.

This role requires an individual to have a ‘big picture’ perspective. What this means is that because they know what the business objectives are, they need to have an overview of what is happening in each department. This way, they can utilise the correct resources when needed.

The role also requires someone to be a critical thinker – someone who can analyse a situation and make a decision that is best for the company.

In larger companies, their roles include the following:

1. Creating and managing a budget
2. Oversee company policies and procedures
3. Ensure company compliance
4. Oversee hiring objectives and job description creation
5. Keep updated on employment trends and best practices
6. Keep track of resources and technology that may improve department efficiency

In a smaller scale business, this role will be slightly different. The business operations manager will supervise the finance department, staffing, policies, marketing and help create and manager business objectives.

No matter the company size, this role is crucial to a business’ operation.

Quality Assurance Manager

The quality assurance manager role needs someone with an excellent attention to detail. Products need to meet a high-quality threshold before it makes its way onto the market. The quality assurance manager will have a template in which they assess the end-product. This means that they create and manage quality control measures.

The role will include:

  • Supervising the production process
  • Leading teams
  • Training new employees
  • Managing suppliers
  • Analysing data

A career in this field means that the individual needs to be inquisitive and committed to an excellent standard.

Operations Research Analyst

People in this role are high-level problem-solvers. Through optimisation, data mining, and statistical analysis – the operations research analysts are able to provide solutions to business inefficiencies and to streamline processes. The role requires someone who is proficient in mathematics and analytics.

Job responsibilities will include:

  • Analysing data and information
  • Making decisions
  • Problem-solving
  • Gathering data
  • Using creative problem-solving skills
  • Communicating results and outcomes
  • Providing recommendations from the collected data

Companies have lately relied on data and analytics for better insight. The operations research analyst needs to turn raw data into something that will help inform the business objectives.

Logistics Manager

This role is usually found in the supply chain industry. The logistics manager is focused on an efficient and accurate work environment and output. In the supply chain industry, they’ll ensure that the products are delivered to the right location – all within a timely manner.

Their responsibilities include:

  • Managing stock levels, delivery times and transport
  • Analysing data from the systems to evaluate performance and quality
  • Managing staff
  • Negotiating with suppliers
  • Analysing logistical issues and creating solutions
  • Implementing health and safety procedures

Logistics managers will need to be effective communicators and have the ability to resolve problems fast.

What skills are needed for operations management

A career in operations management requires a certain skill set that will ensure the individual is successful within the role. These include:

1. Leadership
2. Conflict management
3. Flexibility
4. Critical thinking
5. Excellent time management


The operations manager will need to implement and execute policies and procedures. In order to do so effectively, they will need leadership skills. Being a good leader means being able to communicate well, be a great motivator, and have the ability to adapt well to challenges. Creative thinking also indicated strong leadership. The operations manager needs to make plenty of decisions, some of which may require out-of-the-box thinking.

Conflict management

In any work environment, you’ll come across obstacles which are usually in the form of conflict. The operations manager will need to be proficient in conflict resolution. This means listening carefully, identifying points of agreement and disagreements, and developing a plan to resolve the conflict. The goal of the operations manager is to make sure that those involved feel heard during the resolution process and that the procedure is a stress-free one.


Some business environments are stressful and changes can happen by the minute. The operations manager will need to be flexible when it comes to adapting to the changes fast and ensuring that everything is communicated to the rest of the staff. At the same time, they will also need to be receptive to feedback by staff.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking means that an individual can analyse information objectively and come to a reasonable conclusion. An operations manager will need to assess all forms of data, facts, research and observations in order to draw a conclusion that will help them solve a problem or help them make a decision.

Excellent time management

Staff need to be efficient, produce high-quality work but also ensure that all work is completed within the deadline. This is done with excellent time management skills, which will help the organisation save money and increase revenue. An operations manager will encourage exceptional time management skills amongst the staff by ensuring the right skill set is paired with the right task. Getting to know the strengths of employees will help in this regard.

Operations manager salary

As mentioned above, the operations manager will need to have a high-level overview of how an organisation is run. This means having their hands within every department and business function – from IT, HR, Finance, etc.

The average salary for this position in South Africa is R 596 763 per annum.

Operations managers can expect to earn the following according to their occupational level:

Occupational levelAverage annual income
Mid-career professionalR352,422
Top-end professional R474,943

A bonus remuneration within this field varies according to your experience and ranges from R16,000 – R42,000.

How to become an operations manager

There is no such thing as a Bachelor of Operations Management degree in university. In fact, the way most people advance to the job of an operations manager is by gaining work experience. The roadmap usually begins within the human resources, information technology, finance, or sales departments. This is where individuals receive a clear idea of how an organisation operates.

Once a significant amount of time has been spent in these departments, they may be promoted to a management position. This is where a whole new skill-set is developed. The management position will help develop communication, leadership, and delegation skills. This will be beneficial in an operations management environment.

The next step will be a junior entry-level position, where an individual can gradually work their way into a senior operations management position.
To speed up the advancement, most employers will encourage staff within the organisation to attend training seminars or participate in courses. These will help build the foundation and provide insight into the fundamentals of the position.

Meet Business & Systems Analyst Course Facilitator, Professor Pete Janse Van Vuuren

Professor Pete Janse Van Vuuren is an experienced and highly motivated executive level management professional with diverse technical proficiencies and wide-ranging business, financial and academic competencies. He has a total of 30 years’ experience with a key focus on the IT industry. With a wealth of experience across technical, financial and academic verticals, he boasts 25 years’ experience in general and senior management positions.

Pete set up and ran three IT-related businesses, and is currently the CEO of The Thinking Cap with his key engagements being: Research Fellow – Wits School for Electrical and Software Engineering, Faculty Member and Visiting Professor (Wits Business School, UCT Graduate School of Business, US Business School and UFS Business School) Adjunct Professor – CPUT Faculty Member – Duke University Director – Wits JCSE Director and Co-Founder – CIO Council of South Africa.

This driven leader presents excellent training and mentoring talents whilst improving business effectiveness by inspiring, leading, and coaching employees.

Pete has both theoretical and practical expertise, having set up three IT-related businesses. Currently he is the CEO of The Thinking Cap with his key engagements being the Research Fellow at the Wits School for Electrical and Software Engineering, Faculty Member and Visiting Professor (Wits Business School, UCT Graduate School of Business, US Business School and UFS Business School) Adjunct Professor – CPUT Faculty Member – Duke University Director – Wits JCSE Director and Co-Founder – CIO Council of South Africa.

Not only is Pete richly experienced in his industry, but he also creates excitement in the field and is outspoken in how important business systems analysis is to the success of a business.

He advocates that a good Chief Information Officer (CIO) is not afraid of disrupting the business model and that a company should rethink their business structure in the direction of taking advantages of technological processes. Pete offers crucial knowledge on how to correctly implement systems which can shape a company to generate revenue.

What is Business and Systems Analysis?

The field of Business Systems Analysis is an important one to grow a company through healthy, sustainable expansion. But what is the career exactly?

The industry of business systems analysis is focused on researching and evaluating the systems and software of a company.

Although the role of a business systems analyst (BSA) can be a general one, involved in different departments of a company, the position usually has a key focus on information technology (IT) and computing systems which can be used to optimise company systems.

This means that the BSA should have a thorough knowledge of IT systems as well as how software development, testing, and integration can be incorporated into functional business systems.

What does a Business Systems Analysis do?

The business systems analyst of a company usually has an overview of a company, often more than the CEO because of how broad the role is. The technology behind the business is vital to how well the company functions, and it’s up to the BSA to ensure that the technology in place is the best it can be.

Business and Systems Analysis course

Through our 12-week long Business and Systems Analysis short course, Pete will walk you through important aspects related to the field.

In the course, you will learn fundamental processes which will help you identify, define and solve problems in business systems. You will study different strategies to improve the company’s systems, such as the 5Ws and 1H approach.

Pete goes through the business systems analysis process from start to finish, offering convenient solutions to complex issues. In the course, you will be taught how to use software and technology to plan and develop methods which can help you – and the company executives – achieve goals set out.

This course is recommended for new Business and Systems Analysts, as well as professionals experienced in the career. Pete offers practical points that can be implemented easily.

study systems analysis online

What is Operations Management?

what is operations management

You might have heard of a line manager, a logistics manager, or a production manager. All of these have a few things in common. They put the individual in a position of overseeing a taskforce and systems, they are involved in ensuring some form of business activity runs smoothly and they look to improve systems for a company to maximise efficiency and reduce costs.

Most importantly, though, these are all careers which fall under the umbrella industry of Operations Management.

What is an Operations Manager?

As implied in the name, an operations manager deals with the operations within a business. A company will hire an operations manager to supervise administration in one or more different departments in the business. The manager will also look for ways to improve any protocols or systems in the company to both save time for employees or cut unnecessary costs.

This means the operations manager needs to have an overall idea of what is happening in the business in order to oversee and improve systems. As a result, the manager usually deals with almost every department in the company, such as finance, IT, or human resourcing.

What are the different careers in Operations Management?

Operations Management in itself is a career, but there are also more specialised fields in the industry. The most common careers of operations management and their related responsibilities are:

1. Business Operations Manager – A mainstream role in operations management. Involves planning, budgeting, scheduling, tracking of goods and products, and general oversight of operations. Usually, this person is tasked with increasing production and cutting costs.
2. Materials Manager – A role with a focus on knowing which raw materials are in stock and purchasing necessary things for production.
3. Logistics Manager – A role tasked with a focus on making sure all practical running systems in a company are smooth and efficient.
4. Manufacturing/Line Manager – A role tasked with the production of goods. This manager looks after all phases of operations from any raw materials to the finished product. The products should be up to the company’s standard and it is up to the operations manager to check this.

What are the major responsibilities in Operations Management?

The responsibilities in operations management is typically catered for the key role of the operations manager. For example, if the operations manager is focused on the logistics, the duties might look different to an operations manager who is tasked with overseeing the materials or production in a company.

Typically the general responsibilities for an operations manager involve:

Cost management

This is related to the purchasing of any raw materials or equipment or the sales of goods produced by the company. This requires insight into the finances of the company as well as expertise in logistics related to tracking products.

Production management

It is crucial that the production of goods in a company is as cost and time effective as possible. It is up to the operations manager to find ways to make sure that production happens quickly, smoothly, and cheaply.

Team management

An operations manager often needs to manage a team more than any systems used in a company. Since people are involved in the manufacturing of goods or providing services, it is important for an operations manager to know how to manage a team well.

Asset management

It is often up to the operations manager to oversee the inventory, warehouse, and any goods produced by the company. Although this is similar to the responsibility for production management, it requires the phase after. The operations manager should be able to know how many materials or goods are available at any time and where one might find them.

Take a short course in Operations Management

Taking a short course in Operations Management offers an understanding of how to tackle these responsibilities in your career proficiently. After our 8-week course, you will be a master at managing team members, an ace at asset-management, and a professional at production.

Our course also offers a clear insight into efficient business planning, forecasting, managing supply and demand capacities, and helping you gain the best idea of how to set up excellent systems for optimum efficiency.

Business Management: The Complete Guide to Organisational Leadership

business management guide

What is Business Management and Leadership?

Business management is the process of dealing with the administration of any sort of organisation. It involves overseeing, monitoring, and supervising a team in tasks to ensure that the business is running smoothly.
Fundamentally, business management is the individual within a company who is responsible for running the business and ensuring that tasks are completed in time and within the allocated budget.

What does a business manager do?

The business manager of a company is in charge of the operations and activities of the employees of the business.
Smaller companies require business managers to ensure that the work of the employees is well aligned with the objectives of the business. In these companies, the manager either owns the business or reports directly to the owner.
In larger companies, the business manager has the same duties as those of smaller companies but will report to executive directors or chief administrative figures.

What are the duties of a business manager?

A business manager’s exact duties are dependent on the company for which they work and the industry in which they are involved. Basically, the duties are:

1. Overseeing employees
2. Streamlining business processes
3. Reviewing company protocol
4. Reporting to executives or owners of the company
5. Managing and tracking inventory

The business process management (BPM)

The business process management is known to have five stages from start to finish. These make up a practice which managers undertake to build and sustain a successful business. The process also helps to streamline the business running so that operations are smooth and efficient.

– Design
– Model
– Execute
– Monitor
– Optimise


The initial phase in the business process management looks at how things are going to be in business operations. This includes planning strategies such as scheduling and budgeting, as well as focusing on risk management and control mechanisms.


Modelling in business looks at the hypothetical design and adds in a number of potential factors which could change within the execution. For example, there could be changes in materials before building a product. The modelling phase looks at “what if” scenarios and focuses on how to deal with them if they do arise.


As the title might suggest, the execution in business is the act of putting the plan into action. Using the design and the model planning, the execution actively puts the pieces in place. The processes of implementation are generally a combination of manual labour and software automation.


After the launch of a business or business component, the progress needs to be tracked. This monitoring helps to see what is or is not working. Elements which could be monitored are the time taken to perform a task, the budget usage, whether there could be improved productivity, or if there are any concerns which need to be dealt with.


After monitoring, there will be performance issues which will be identified, especially in a newly launched business. Optimisation includes inspecting the information from monitoring, using key research from modelling, and looking at ways to smooth out the problems. The optimising could be removing issues as well as bettering the things which work already.

Business management in industry

Business management and finance

Business management goes hand-in-hand with finance. If you are managing a business, you need to know the economic situation of both the business and the country. Knowing how to use your money to make more money is one of the fundamental points of business management.

Business management and business marketing

Marketing helps to grow business relationships with customers and stakeholders. If the marketing of a company is strong, it will have a great effect on the business. This is because the consumer gets to know and trust a company through marketing. If a well-managed business offers a sound product and can market it correctly to its target market, it will have a much better chance at success than one with a weak marketing arm.

Business management in operations management

A person responsible for business management and operations should have a focus on the monitoring and optimisation of the business. This is in order to ensure that operations run as smoothly as possible which results in efficiency which is beneficial for both the task force and the budget. When things run well and quickly, it ultimately saves time and money.

Business management in human resources

Human resourcing is founded on the relationships within the business. Business managers are good with looking after the people that work for them will, more often than not, receive good work in a timeous manner. A happy team is an efficient team.

Business management in IT

An information technology (IT) manager is involved in designing, applying and maintaining the technological components of a business. This could be related to computer science in both hardware and software and requires an individual who is proficient in both managing people and understanding technology.

Business management in distribution

When things are correctly in place, the industry of distribution can be a streamlined dream. If something is not in place, though, it can be a nightmare. Because there are so many different processes within distribution, it needs to be carefully managed. A business manager involved in distribution needs to be exceptionally organised, communicative, and systematic in their management.

What to study if you want to become a business manager

If business management is something which sounds like an exciting career prospect, or if you’d like to gain additional knowledge in leading and managing a company – whether its someone else’s or your own – a Business Management short course from MasterStart is what you are looking for.

Technology and computer software in business management

Technology is designed as a solution to a problem. In business, it is developed and used to resolve difficult issues as well as make things easier for operations. Over time, software has been built to help with management with tasks such as scheduling, communication, social media, tracking, and productivity.

Knowing how to use the right technology can give a business manager the upper hand over the competition. It is important that a business manager and a company leader stays updated with tools and programs which offer technical advantages to build and maintain success.

Business management careers

Entering the field of management is not a one-step process and one cannot expect to become a top business manager without experience. Entry-level jobs as managers and administrative roles are a good place to start your journey to Business Management. Getting a relevant certificate in business leadership helps promote a person as a candidate for a management career too.

Starting as an intern or personal assistant to a company’s management is a great first step in becoming a manager. In this position, a person learns essential skills while gaining the necessary experience. From there, one needs to either take advantage of opportunities that present themselves or must actively seek out openings to advance one’s career.

Completing a short course in business management is also a worthwhile use of time and funds as it not only teaches you valuable lessons in the techniques of practical management, but it also shows potential employers that you are invested in management as a career prospect.

Are business management jobs right for me?

There are particular skills needed to manage a business. If you are interested in becoming a business manager or stepping into a leadership role, first see if you are well-suited to the job. The following characteristics are essential to be an excellent business manager:

– Concise communication;
– Marketing-minded;
– Economy expertise;
– Proficient at planning;
– Notable networker.

Business management salary in 2020

Experienced business managers are sought after by professionals who are looking to take their company to the next level of success. Because there is a certain amount of pressure on a manager to perform, there is remuneration for the work and stress that might come with.
According to Payscale, an employee who has undertaken short courses in business management and leadership can expect to earn the following according to their occupational level:

Occupational level Average annual income
Entry level R293.014
Mid-career professional
Top-end professional R501,493

Furthermore, bonus remuneration in the project management industry varies according to your experience and ranges from R27,000 – R51,456.

Is the leader the same as a manager?

Although both share similar traits, a manager does not need to be a leader. The key difference between the two is that managers look to complete projects using a team while leaders look to build up individuals in order to complete a task.

Other differences are:

– Leaders hope to encourage their people while managers hope to execute projects
– Leaders are willing to make innovative changes while managers tend to focus on sustaining what works
– Leaders take risks while managers look to control and decrease the risk

This being said, a great manager is also a great leader and managing and leading well is what every individual in Business Management should hope to achieve.

What are the five management and leadership styles?

While leading ultimately results in a leader administrating tasks to subordinates, the process of management can look different to each leader and each company. There are five styles which a person generally displayed when leading:

– Participative
– Autocratic
– Laissez-Faire
– Transformational
– Servant

Participative leadership

Participative leaders involve their team in decision-making and high-end processes. It is a style which obtains opinions from the staff and often allows employees to vote on a course of action pertinent to the company.

Autocratic or authoritarian leadership

Autocratic leaders tell their employees what to do and when to do it without seeking their advice. An authoritarian leadership style leaves little autonomy with the team members within a company, which results in a strong controlling figure.

Laissez-Faire leadership

Laissez-faire leaders are also known as delegators. This leadership style works with creative companies as the hands-off and relaxed approach allows for innovation and design.

Transformational leadership

Transformational leaders look to make changes within the company to improve systems and workloads.

Servant leadership

Servant leaders focus more on their employees than on anything else. The goal of the leader is to serve and to keep other people in mind. This is an altruistic style and is found primarily in non-profit organisations or companies founded on giving towards others.

Business management tips

There are good ways to run a business and then there are other ways. If you either own or run a business, you need to keep updated with what works and what doesn’t in managing a business.

1. Keep your eye on the prize and focus on what is important
2. Constantly look for ways to streamline processes
3. Delegate responsibly and hire individuals you don’t need to micromanage
4. Take advantage of the benefits of technology

In all of these, the fundamental idea is to make things work effectively and efficiently to save time and ultimately save money. If you focus on important tasks – even if they are mind-numbingly tedious – you will likely solve issues before they arise which will save you energy to go towards more exciting projects.

Keep your eye on the prize and focus on what is important

Focus on the important tasks at hand and make it practice to understand what your day should look like before going into it. This planning will spare you many headaches and save you time in the long run. If you can sort out for a problem before it actually becomes an issue, you’ll be able to get a lot more done in the workday.

Constantly look for ways to streamline processes

If you can put things in place to help your employees do their jobs with ease, you’ll see a lot more productivity as the work gets completed. Constantly look for the technology, strategies, and business methods to make processes more efficient and you’ll quickly gain back the time spent looking for ways to improve the company’s runnings. You’ll also have a happier, more productive staff on your team.

Delegate responsibly and hire individuals you don’t need to micromanage

A bad business manager does all the work without any help. A good business manager knows when and to whom to delegate a task. If you know your team well enough, you’ll know who will be the best to do a task and who will enjoy it the most.

Managing people to manage themselves through delegation is a crucial aspect of business management. If you can hire someone and train them to perform duties with only a little encouragement, then you’ve got a fantastic team member. In business management, choosing and training of your team is an important skill to learn early on.

Take advantage of the benefits of technology

There is technology which has been developed to assist a business manager. Use it.
Think of the time you might spend trying to do something manually when a mobile app could do it in seconds. This goes hand-in-hand with streamlining processes: constantly look for whats technology can help you and test it to see if it works for your team.

The benefits of studying business management

By doing a business and leadership management short course, you learn a number of essential management techniques which give insight into what managing a business look like and how to tackle the tricky task of leading a team.

In doing a management course, you learn the fundamentals of running a business, which gives you an advantage over other managers. You also learn how to understand modern management strategies while getting to grips with economic and financial terminology.