When you spend the majority of your adult life at work, it’s essential to choose a career that you find fulfilling. If you’re a working parent, you’ll want to ensure that the time you spend away from your family has a real purpose – both for your own sense of self and for your household finances.
Whether you’re at the start of your working life or you’re unfulfilled in your current role, it’s never too late to consider a new career path. By finding a role or an industry you’re passionate about, you can ensure that your work gives you a sense of satisfaction and achievement.
Despite the benefits it offers, many people overlook the potential of a career in operations management. However, it’s one of the most versatile and varied job roles out there. When you choose to specialize in operations management, you can work across a broad range of sectors and use your skills to enhance the performance of businesses, non-profits, and government organizations. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at what a career in operations management involves…
What is Operations Management?
Operations management is concerned with the production of goods and services. It involves planning, designing, and implementing strategies to streamline production workflows with the aim of improving efficiency and productivity.
As an Operations Manager, you’ll have a cross-functional role and a significant amount of responsibility. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day production, you’ll also be at the helm of developing new strategies and redesigning operations for optimal performance.
For a business to be successful, every process must be linked. You can’t begin producing goods if you don’t have access to materials, for example. This means your supply chain and inventory must be reliable and up to date if you want to avoid inefficiency. Similarly, poor quality control leads to customer dissatisfaction, reduced profitability, and reputational harm. Due to this, effective quality control measures must be enforced to maintain quality outputs without using excessive resources or reducing the speed of production.
As you can see, there are a great many functions that fall under the remit of operations management. While some professionals focus on specific elements, such as specializing in supply chain operations, the vast majority of Operations Managers take on the responsibility of an organization’s entire processes. Choosing to build a career in operations management means, therefore, that you’ll shoulder a significant amount of responsibility and authority.
Crisis and Change Management
Crisis and change management are sometimes seen as distinct specialties, but they also fall within the area of operations management. When a business faces a crisis, the Operations Manager may be required to investigate and identify the cause of this crisis. Subsequently, they will also need to implement changes in order to rectify the problem and prevent the enterprise from failing.
Similarly, change management focuses on supporting individual workers and teams through organizational changes. If your employer wants to increase efficiency, for example, your role as Operations Manager will be to analyze current performance, devise evidence-based change strategies, implement them using the resources at your disposal and measure outputs to collate accurate analytics. These changes will need to be implemented and adopted by employees, so it’s vital to provide individuals with the support, resources, and equipment they’ll need to enact and respond to these changes.
Crisis and change management is exceptionally important to businesses. Even global corporations can face ruin without effective crisis management in place, which is why such a high level of importance is placed upon operations management as a whole. To find out more about the impact and importance of crisis and operations management, check out this blog post now.
What are the Benefits of a Career in Operations Management?
A career in operations management can offer a variety of benefits, including:
1. Join a Growing Industry
If you choose to become an Operations Manager, you’ll be joining a growing industry. The sector is expected to grow by around 12.5% by 2022, which is significantly faster than other sectors in the U.S. For operations management professionals, this growth is indicative of a wider array of job opportunities and increased demand for your skillset. As a result, you should find it relatively easy to secure a role in your chosen field and enjoy a comfortable level of job security.
When you’re thinking about possible careers, it’s vital to select a specialism or sector that is projected to grow. With many industries in decline, you won’t want to waste time gaining qualifications that won’t be relevant in a few years. Fortunately, all the signs point to the operations management industry growing consistently in upcoming years, so you can be confident that building a career in this arena will stand you in good stead for the future.
2. High Levels of Remuneration
Your salary may not be the most important aspect of your job, but it’s certainly a critical element. Operations Managers are particularly well-paid, with the mean annual salary in the U.S. estimated to be $123,880. Of course, you can increase your earning power even more if you choose to specialize in a particular niche or complex area.
In addition, most full-time Operations Managers enjoy an impressive range of benefits, alongside their annual salary. As operations management is a critical business role, companies are willing to offer lucrative packages to highly skilled candidates. With potential medical benefits, pension contributions, and paid leave, it can be the ideal role for a working parent who wants to ensure their family has the funding and support they need.
3. Varied Job Roles
Working in operations management ensures you’ll be faced with new challenges every day. If you’re a natural problem solver and a great analytical thinker, it’s a good sign that you’ll be well-suited to the profession. As an Operations Manager, you’ll play a cross-functional role, which means liaising with staff from a range of departments, including sales, marketing, production, procurement, accounting, and HR, as well as directors and business owners.
Within your role, you’ll face challenges from across these departments and be required to create innovative solutions to improve company-wide performance. This ensures your role as Operations Manager will never become dull. With varied issues arising and the need for consistently creative solutions, working as an Operations Manager allows you to combine your talents and enjoy a stimulating and evolving working environment.
4. Travel Opportunities
If you’ve always wanted to see the world, becoming an Operations Manager could be your ticket. Every commercial organization relies on operations management in order to function effectively and maximize productivity. This means that you’ll have global job opportunities to pursue if you wish to do so. Conversely, the widespread need for operations management means you’ll be able to find plenty of opportunities close to home as well.
What’s more – when you work for a large organization, you may get the opportunity to travel to different site locations. This enables you to combine the security of a full-time role with ad hoc travel. If you would prefer to spend the majority of your time in one location so that you can take an active role in your family life, for example, a role that requires occasional travel could be the perfect way to satiate your wanderlust while balancing your personal responsibilities.
5. Flexible Working Arrangements
If you value flexibility in your working life, a career in operations management could be well-suited to your needs. Many Operations Managers work for companies on a full-time basis, but there is the potential for part-time work, flexible hours, and varying shift patterns. As many production and manufacturing sites operate on a 24-hour basis, for example, your working hours could be outside standard business times, which may work well for your family commitments.
Alternatively, you may want to consider becoming an Operations Management Consultant and operating as a freelancer or setting up your own company. When smaller firms require assistance, such as crisis management, they often hire consultants in order to access the experience and expertise they need. Choosing this career path will allow you to combine your professional aspirations with your role as a parent, as well as giving you the opportunity to launch your own enterprise.
Are You Ready for a Career in Operations Management?
As you can see, there are numerous advantages associated with building a career in the operations management sector. However, you’ll want to ensure that you have the skills and traits required to thrive in this type of role. Successful Operations Managers are typically:
- Analytical thinkers
- Problem solvers
- Good listeners
- Thorough researchers
- Innovative designers
In addition to this, you’ll need to have a broad skillset, including transferable skills such as:
- Verbal communication
- Time management
- Written communication
- Commercial awareness
- Data analysis
Of course, you’ll develop the specialist and transferable skills required as you gain experience and undertake the qualifications you’ll need to launch your career. With thorough training, theoretical knowledge, and practical experience, you can develop your skills over time and become a competent and skilled Operations Manager. As you climb the career ladder and get the opportunity to redesign and refine an organization’s entire operations, you’ll also enjoy the unrivaled satisfaction that a job in operations management can bring.
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