What are the Careers in Operations Management?
There are a number of professions that are involved in the running of a business and one of their most important tasks is operations management. This includes all of the tasks involved in overseeing and administering a company’s business practices to ensure the highest level of efficiency possible.
Operations management professionals ensure that every process and employee in the company are working as efficiently and consistently as possible to create the company’s goods and services with the goal of keeping costs low and revenue high.
Within the operations management field, there are a number of different specialties including the following:
Business Continuity Planner
A Business Continuity Planner is a very important part of a business’s operations management team. Individuals in this profession develop and implement strategies and solutions that ensure that business continues despite disasters, crime, computer crashes, or other disruptive events. These professionals assess risks, evaluate the business impact and design solutions for these events.
This profession can be very demanding, so people who want to take on this role need at least a bachelor’s degree. Qualified professionals can earn a median pay rate of up to $72, 760 a year or about $34.98 an hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Business Operations Manager
Business Operations Managers are also an important part of the business management team. They oversee the day to day operations of a company to ensure that the company’s goals are achieved. They are basically responsible for ensuring that the operations of the business fit within the overarching goals of the business. They are usually involved with business planning, personnel, general administration, and with a variety of different departments within the business. They ensure that all of these departments are running efficiently and keeping their costs down.
People in this profession usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in a related subject such as business administration . According to Payscale, they can earn an average yearly wage of $80,000, with a salary range between $43,63 and $129,566.
A Distribution Manager works alongside other operations management professionals to ensure that a company’s goods and products are distributed to the proper locations in a timely manner. Distributions Managers work in a supervisory role, overseeing the entire distribution chain between where a product is manufactured and where it is delivered to be sold to consumers. Naturally, this position requires workers to be in close contact with transportation specialists, logistics managers, and master schedulers, to name a few.
Among the many job duties of a worker in this position is overseeing warehouse storage of products. Not only must a Distribution Manager ensure that the right products are stored in the right location within the warehouse, but they must also be certain that there is enough room in the company’s storage facilities for all the products to be delivered. Additionally, Distribution Managers often keep tabs on inventory levels, that way there is always enough product on hand to fulfill orders.
Distribution Managers typically need a bachelor's degree in business, supply chain management or other related fields. However, it takes many years of related experience to move up into this managerial position. People in this profession earn an average yearly wage of $100,740 with an hourly average of $48.43 according to the BLS.
In simple terms, a Logistics Manager is responsible for making sure that consumers receive the products they purchase. However, this position is much more complex than that because Logistics Managers must fulfill varies roles and duties in the execution of their position.
Primarily, Logistics Managers work on the buying end. That is, they are tasked with purchasing goods from suppliers and ensuring that inventory levels are appropriate to fulfill all current orders and anticipated orders in the future. Another key component of a Logistics Manager’s job is to figure out how to get products to the consumer. That is, they determine how to get the products they need in the quantities needed, and then plan out how those products will be distributed to the buyers. This involves everything from analyzing which type of transportation network is the most efficient to making changes in distribution procedures to account for things like holidays or bad weather.
Individuals in this profession usually need to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, though the requirements can vary from industry to industry. And according to Indeed.com, they can earn an average yearly salary of $59,610.
A Master Scheduler is primarily responsible for maintaining a good balance between supply and demand such that a company has enough products to meet consumer needs, but not so much inventory that products begin to pile up. Doing so requires monitoring the entire production and distribution cycle, from product manufacture all the way to delivery to the end-user.
In examining these factors, Master Schedulers don’t just examine hard numbers like how many specific products are produced or ordered. Instead, they must also consider things like sales forecasting – or predicting what product sales will look like in the near-term and long-term – as well as ensuring that the production mix – or the makeup of the types of products produced – is appropriate to meet current and future demand. They also examine production and demand of specific kinds of products (i.e., stuffed animals) as well as classes of products (i.e., children’s toys).
Individuals in this profession need to have a bachelor’s degree in business administration or in an engineering discipline to fulfill the demands of this job. According to Indeed.com, the average pay rate for a Master Scheduler is around $70,683 a year. And entry level positions pay $59,552 according to Payscale.
Materials Managers are important to the operations management of a business because they help to balance the need for high quality products and materials with the budget. They are responsible for purchasing and supplying materials for the company’s products, and must work closely with the management team to ensure that they meet the financial goals of the company.
These professionals usually hold a bachelor's degree in management, supply chain management, or business administration. According to Indeed.com, people in this profession earn an average salary of $75,522 a year.
Operations Research Analyst
An Operations Research Analyst is essentially a problem solver brought in by companies to identify complex problems and formulate solutions to those problems. For example, if a company is struggling with distributing their products in a timely manner, an Operations Research Analyst would explore the reasons that might be causing the delays and propose solutions to those problems to increase efficiency in distribution.
Operations Research Analysts may also analyze all the processes and procedures of the business with the aim of achieving maximum efficiency. This usually includes examining everyday operations such as cost effectiveness, labor requirements and distribution.
These workers rely heavily on advanced and complex statistical analyses to problem-solve even the biggest of business issues like materials delivery to manufacturing sites or optimizing worker productivity. Mathematical modeling, data mining, and data optimization procedures are just a few of the common techniques that operations research analysts use to fulfill the duties of their job. Typically, these workers focus on specific areas of a business, like facilities management, payroll and finance, materials and equipment allocation, or human resources.
The entry level requirement for people in this position is a bachelor’s degree, but many employers prefer that applicants have a master’s level degree in a related field. As only very limited number of schools offer bachelor’s or advanced degree in operations research, analysts usually have degrees in other quantitative fields, such as industrial engineering, computer science, or mathematics.
Operations Research Analysts earn an average yearly salary of $81,390, according to the BLS.
A Process Analyst is a type of consultant hired by businesses to improve the efficacy of the business’ processes. As this pertains to operations management, this might include tasks like examining distribution chains to determine how the distribution process can be sped up without sacrificing safety. Likewise, a Process Analyst might evaluate a company’s production procedures to determine how those processes can be improved to increase the quality of the products being manufactured without causing delays in production and distribution.
Process Analysts also often work with members of management to devise short-term and long-term goals with specific and identifiable benchmarks for success. For example, if a company wants to increase output of its products, a Process Analyst might brainstorm with the management team to define project objectives and outline how those objectives can be achieved. As another example, if the production process is plagued with errors, a Process Analyst would make recommendations regarding how to minimize those errors.
Product Managers are responsible for overseeing product development. That is, they serves in an organizational role, acting as the point person in a company regarding everything from how a product looks, the features it has, how much it costs, and so forth. For example, a Product Manager at a computer company might oversee the development of a new budget-friendly laptop computer that’s aimed specifically at college students.
In other words, this position requires workers to have a strategic and analytic approach to their work. That’s because to be successful in this role, Product Managers must analyze market conditions, evaluate consumer demands, determine the unique selling proposition for the product, and otherwise articulating the product vision and strategy. Often, the initial vision for the product is quite different from the final version of the product, and getting from point to point is the primary duty for a Product Manager.
Applicants usually need a Bachelor’s degree in business or a related field to be considered for these types of positions. Indeed.com claims that qualified and experienced Product Managers make an average yearly salary of $95,119, however Payscale puts the average yearly salary at $105,946.
The job duties of a Production Planner revolve around planning production schedules such that the company can meet production goals. For example, a Production Planner will outline how many units need to be produced and create a production calendar that allows enough time to create the required number of products.
Likewise, Production Planners are responsible for determining what tools, machinery, materials, and human resources are required for the production process. Furthermore, Production Planners evaluate the cost of production, address production delays and other problems, and set quality standards for workers to achieve.
The minimum education requirement for people in this profession is a high school certificate and relevant experience in the field. However, a number of employers prefer that applicants have an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in a related field such as business. According to Payscale, a suitability qualified individual can make an average yearly wage of $65,000 in this position.
Purchasing Managers are responsible for getting their clients and business the best possible goods and services for the lowest possible costs. They are involved with managing inventory, purchasing, and product availability. Their work helps ensure that their business meets the needs of their clients at the lowest cost possible, which is the most important goal of business management.
Employers generally require that people in this profession have at least a Bachelor’s degree in supply management or business. Purchasing Managers make an average yearly wage of around $67,602 according to Indeed.com. The BLS puts their average wage quite a bit higher, at $121,810.
Quality Control Analyst
Individual in this profession ensure that the company’s materials and goods meet production standards. They also test and reject materials and goods that violate government standards. This work is essential for any business that wants to be successful and to work legally. It is also a key factor in determining and policing the best practices of a businesses’ operations management.
Individuals who want to move into these positions usually have to have a Bachelor’s degree in a related field. Estimating the yearly salary for qualified Quality Control Analysts can be difficult as it varies wildly depending on the industry. However, Salary.com states that the median salary for people in this profession is $67,351, with a range between $57,867 and $94,500.
Risk Management Specialist
Working as a Risk Management Specialist means concentrating one’s efforts on analyzing business decisions in a financial light. In other words, these workers explore how business decisions are made, how those decisions impact the company’s bottom line, and make recommendations for minimizing risks to the company. That means that a Risk Management Specialist’s primary job duty is to ensure that a business’ operational decisions do not pose a financial risk to the company.
In completing these job duties, Risk Management Specialists depend on a copious amount of financial data, details about business operations, and direct observations of a company’s business dealings. When a risk is identified, these workers produce detailed reports that identify the risks, explore their findings, and make recommendations regarding how to resolve the issue. This process can be applied to a wide variety of business environments, from developing a new product line to partnering with another business on a new venture.
Because this is a very demanding position, people in this profession usually have advanced qualifications. A Bachelor’s degree in finance or business is the absolute minimum for people in this position, but many also have Masters or other postgraduate degrees. According to Payscale, Risk Management Specialists can expect to make an average yearly salary of around $62,297.
Supply Chain Specialist
Supply Chain Specialists oversee and manage the movement and storage of goods from the manufacturer to the consumers. They oversee activities such as production, storage, transportation and everyday logistical problems and issues. They are a key part of a business management team who ensures that clients and consumers get their goods and services.
To be a Supply Chain Specialist, applicants need to complete a Bachelor’s degree in business or in a related field. However, many professionals in this field hold a master's degree. According to Indeed.com, Supply Chain Specialist make an average yearly salary of $56,98.
A transportation specialist plays a key role in safely and efficiently distributing products and services to consumers. On the one hand, a transportation specialist might be responsible for scheduling deliveries, coordinating multiple entities for transporting products, and other administrative-type duties. On the other hand, a transportation specialist might be responsible for actually physically moving goods from loading docks onto vehicles, or from to distribution centers to sales locations using any number of methods, from semi-trucks to airplanes.
Transportation specialists carry out these and other job duties in many different areas of employment. For example, a transportation specialist that works in the consumer electronics field might oversee the coordinated shipments of the latest smartphone to various markets. In that context, they would be responsible for ensuring that all deliveries occur on time to accommodate demand for the new product.
The education requirement varies for transportation specialists, but a Bachelor or Master’s degree is highly beneficial for people who want to do well in this field. Well qualified business professionals can expect to make an average yearly wage of about $54,195 according to Indeed.com.