Business Manager, General Manager (GM), Operations Director, Operations Manager, Plant Superintendent, Store Manager
Operations Managers plan, direct, or coordinate the operations of public or private sector organizations, overseeing multiple departments or locations.
- Keeping operations running smoothly
- Helping to ensure the safety and job security of workers
- Learning valuable “behind-the-scenes” logistical skills
"Keeping up-to-date information as the team grows, and assisting to resolve an issue." - Nicole Kohorts, Service Operations Coordinator at Air Treatment Corporation
- Operations Managers work at least full-time, with overtime, night shifts, weekends, or holiday season work possible.
- Provide oversight for applicable employee training and workforce development
- Manage cross-functional operations within one or more warehouses
- Potentially oversee inventory sites around the world
- Collaborate with various teams (including marketing, budget and resource management, order fulfillment, vendors, and other logistics partners)
- Manage a multichannel distribution infrastructure
- Ensure efficient, accurate, and safe inventory and warehousing processes
- Review fulfillment and replenishment workflows
- Build strong customer relationships through outstanding service
- Pull inventory reports, conduct audits, and review invoices
- Engage with forecasting plans, targeting goals, and KPIs
- Serve as a role model to other workers
- Meet with leadership and management to discuss problems, solutions, and trends
- Participate in new hiring processes as well as drafting employee-related policies and managing retention efforts
- Ensure compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Customer service
- Leadership and management skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Skills for coordinating and instructing activities
- Sound judgment and decision-making
- Strong communication skills
- Time management skills
- Troubleshooting skills
- Calendar and scheduling
- Database user interface/query
- Direct-to-Consumer businesses practices
- End-to-end process management
- Experience in managing operations
- Inventory management
- Process mapping
- Project management
- Supply chain management
- Understanding logistics systems
- Warehouse Management Software
- E-commerce businesses
- Traditional companies with online sales
- Wholesale trade
"Options are endless! Any team operation—accounting, human resources, reception…" - Nicole Kohorts, Service Operations Coordinator at Air Treatment Corporation
It takes dedicated, highly-organized Operations Managers to keep processes running smoothly, overseeing and often directly engaging in the myriad “moving pieces” within a warehouse…or multiple warehouses!
Everything hinges on the effectiveness of the Operations Manager, who bears enormous responsibilities to keep things afloat. The job can be stressful, with labor and management pressures. Workers in this field must stay calm, cool, and collected at all costs, especially when problems arise or schedules ramp up due to holidays and sales events. That is why most companies look for managers with ample experience to handle the pressure.
Operations Managers are all the more critical, for they must make labor-intensive processes as efficient as possible, so fewer people are needed.
Technology and automation play vital roles in this streamlining process, but managers are on the hook to retain the workers they have during the Great Resignation. Modern operations employees demand more rights and for companies to care about their well-being. Many businesses are addressing these issues by offering clearer frontline communication, more training, improved working conditions, more pay and benefits, and more predictable schedules for a better workforce experience.
Operations Managers must be very process-oriented and able to elicit the best work out of employees. They may have exhibited natural leadership and management traits as kids, comfortable being in the center of the action. Their parents might have given them chores and responsibilities at an early age, or perhaps they were simply drawn to taking charge of things at school.
Many Operations Managers honed their skills over years, working at early ages in retail stores, warehouses, or other logistics-oriented settings. Some may have also served in military positions, acquiring discipline and a sense of urgency that carried over into their civilian careers.
"For me, it was crafting, organizing, cosplay…" - Nicole Kohorts, Service Operations Coordinator at Air Treatment Corporation
"Mondays are payroll to process. Every business day is sending out the daily work order report to the customer from the previous day. Pay any department payables and submit startup reports. Work on generating the department manual." - Nicole Kohorts, Service Operations Coordinator at Air Treatment Corporation
- Operations Managers should ideally have a bachelor’s in logistics, operations management, e-commerce, business administration, or related studies
- Vocational training or an associate’s degree could be enough to get your foot in the door
- According to Zippia, 36% of all warehouse operations managers hold a bachelor’s; 29% have only a high school diploma and 20% have an associate’s (the remaining percentages have unspecified diplomas or degrees)
- Many employers place more value on practical, relevant work experience than on academics
- Certifications like Project Management Professional or Master Project Manager can boost your skills…and your resume!
- Many colleges also offer academic certificates, such as eCornell’s Operations Management Certificate Program
- Many traditional companies offer Operations Manager internships providing practical paid experience
- New Operations Managers can expect plenty of On-the-Job Training to learn about their new company and its processes
"[It takes a ] bachelor's now. Before, just a high school diploma plus relevant experience." - Nicole Kohorts, Service Operations Coordinator at Air Treatment Corporation
- Set goals for what you want to achieve in your Ops Manager career
- Sign up for business, management, and communications electives in high school
- Volunteer to organize extracurricular activities and gain practical experience overseeing large projects
- Consider taking a part-time job as a warehouse worker or delivery driver
- Seek out Operations Manager internships with e-commerce businesses
- Work at the retail store of the company you want to work at (if they have one) and get promoted to manager or regional manager.
- Time-permitting, finish an applicable certification program
- Join business-related organizations to make contacts and learn from peers
- Read trade magazines or articles about the industry, including topics such as emerging trends, best practices, and lessons learned
"Learn to multitask! Tunnel vision is not reality. Initiate finding a solution. Try, even if wrong. Always learning!" - Nicole Kohorts, Service Operations Coordinator at Air Treatment Corporation
- Most companies want to interview applicants who have several years of Operations Manager work experience. Find an entry-level position that is relevant to operations such as data or logistics coordinator. If the company has a retail office, become a store manager or regional store manager.
- Write a compelling resume that lists your skills and the impacts your work had at previous companies, if applicable
- Review your application materials objectively, as if you were the recruiter or hiring manager. Take the time to address any weak areas or gaps on your resume
- Polish up your social media and LinkedIn, because employers are increasingly looking at their potential workers’ online presence
- Advertise that you’re seeking a role as an Operations Manager. Get the word out, because these days many companies are struggling to find qualified personnel who are ready to work!
- If you are already employed by a company, look for openings and talk to your supervisor so you can work your way up from within
- Ask co-workers, supervisors, or professors if they’re willing to serve as references
- Comb through the big employment portals such as Indeed.com
- Prep for your interview by studying Operations Manager Interview Questions and practicing your responses
"Apply yourself, ask others for help, observe and learn." - Nicole Kohorts, Service Operations Coordinator at Air Treatment Corporation
- One of the best ways to earn a promotion as an Operations Manager is to know your job, do it right, and make money for your company
- Set a high bar for process efficiency and safety. Hold employees accountable to those high standards
- Take care of your people. Be a firm yet empathetic leader who understands how to motivate workers and elicit the best performance from teams
- Train and mentor workers patiently, taking the time to ensure they can do their job correctly and without undue stress or uncertainty
- Learn your company inside and out, and look for ways to improve processes and “do more with less”
- If there is any vendor-specific training that would make you better at your job, do it
- Consider completing advanced certifications or other professional development courses
- Come to meetings with the goal of solving problems in a positive, effective manner
- Amware Logistics and Fulfillment Blog
- International Warehouse Logistics Association
- Shipbob Blog
- The Warehouse Worker Resource Center
- Warehousing Education and Resource Council
- Materials Handling and Logistics’ Warehouse Blog
- E-Commerce Operations Management, by Marc Schniederjans, et. al.
- Operations and Supply Chain Management Essentials You Always Wanted to Know, by Vibrant Publishers
- Operations Management For Dummies, by Mary Ann Anderson, et. al.
"It is never too late for a new dream or skill. Knowledge really is power!" - Nicole Kohorts, Service Operations Coordinator at Air Treatment Corporation