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:

Communication

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.

Leadership

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.

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