The median salary for an operations manager is just over $100,000 a year.

Do you know what an operations manager really does to earn that salary? Most people have a general idea or they think they know. The fact is that it can be hard to pin down an operations manager’s duties.

The more you can understand the key role an operations manager plays in a business, you can make sure that you hire the right person with the skillset and the qualifications. You can also create the position to best fit within the needs of your organization.

Read on to learn what an operations manager does and how you can hire the right person for your business.

What Does an Operations Manager Really Do?

Your initial response to this question is probably something along the lines of, “they manage the operations of a business.”

While that’s true, that answer can mean just about anything. Here’s a more succinct way to define what an operations manager does.

They handle the day to day operations of a company. They develop systems to make tasks more efficient and are constantly evaluating ways to be more productive.

An operations manager can be seen in a broad variety or roles. In a large company, they may oversee one department in the organization, such as IT or HR. Other companies will have an operations manager to oversee manufacturing processes.

Small companies will have an operations manager that serves as a C-Suite officer. This person is responsible for the operations of every department, including marketing and customer service.

An operations manager could focus on one core part of a business. For instance, they can work specifically on quality control. They could work in an area that causes a lot of problems for your business, such as customer service.

Why Hire an Operations Manager?

Are you thinking about creating an operations management role in your business and you’re not sure if it’s a smart move? There’s no doubt that there’s a high price tag for a great operations manager. However, you’ll find that the benefits will outweigh the costs.

Here are some of the benefits of having an operations manager in your business.

Improve Manufacturing Processes

If your business is in manufacturing products, you need to have an operations manager. There’s no doubt that you’ll see a return on investment.

A manufacturing operations manager will oversee an improve every part of the manufacturing process. They’ll look at the warehousing of raw materials and make improvements to limit your losses in wasted products.

They’ll improve the time it takes to produce a product and they’ll have quality control processes in place. That can save your company thousands in efficiency.

The quality control processes can’t be understated. You could have a bad product injure someone, which can expose your business to a liability lawsuit.

Create and Improve Systems

Systems are based on repeatable tasks. These are simple and often mindless tasks that take up a lot of time throughout the day. These tiny tasks also reduce efficiency and productivity because people make mistakes while performing them.

It’s up to the operations manager to analyze these repeatable tasks and put systems in place to automate them.

Provide Inspiration and Leadership

Great operations managers make a difference because they go beyond the development of systems and numbers. They also develop people and put employees and customers first.

In manufacturing operations, they’ll place a high priority on worker safety, which will increase morale on the manufacturing floor. Employees will feel protected and valued.

Even office employees will appreciate the attention to detail and the support to do their jobs better.

How to Hire an Operations Manager

If you’re convinced that hiring an operations manager can benefit your business, then it’s time to hire one. Here are the steps you need to take to find the right person for the job.

Create the Job Description

Since an operations manager can do almost anything in your business, you need to make sure that you have clarity as to what you want this person to do. Take the time to gather your executive team together and hash out what the role should look like.

You can review your strategic plan for the business and where you want the business to be in 3 years. Then look at the gaps in your current operations. You’ll get clear on the main tasks you want the operations manager to improve.

Technical Skills and Qualifications

What are the minimum qualifications an applicant should have for the job? You might want someone with a bachelor’s degree and 5 years of experience in a relevant position. You might prefer to have someone with an MBA if the scope of the position is large.

You and your team should decide on a minimum set of qualifications and experience and an ideal set. This will give you the chance to look at a broad base of candidates.

You could also look at operations management certifications, too. There are some operations processes, such as management of change, that can be a great fit for your organization.

People Skills

The technical skills and experience are a starting point to narrow down candidates. The ideal operations manager needs to have people skills. You won’t be able to tell if a person as people skills unless you speak with them.

You could have an initial phone interview and screen them. You can ask them about a time when there was a major operations error and how it was handled.

With this question, you’re looking for someone who says that they responded by looking at where the process broke down. There will be people who are eager to blame others instead. These are the people you want to avoid hiring.

The Important Role of Operations Manager

An operations manager can make your business better by creating processes that save you money. They are detailed oriented and inspirational leaders at the same time.

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