3 Things You Need to Know About Operations Management

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When you think about your new iPhone 6 Plus or the iPad Air 2 that is permanently fused to your hands, you probably don’t thank operations management for these beloved gadgets.  Likewise, when you go to Walmart for paper towels and pay half as much as you would elsewhere, it’s unlikely that you exclaim, “What a supply chain triumph this place is!”

The truth is, smart operations management has just as much to do with Apple’s success as Steve Jobs’ technological clairvoyance, and sound operations management is the No. 1 reason behind Walmart’s unbeatably low prices. If you’re considering studying operations management, also known as logistics or supply chain management, this post can help you better understand the field. Read on to find out what operations management is, why it matters, and what it can do for you.

Businesswoman talking on cell phone on an airplane

Image via Flickr by sam_churchill

Operations Managers Wear Many Hats

Operations management includes a plethora of duties, which means operations managers usually end up doing a bit of everything. Simply put, operations managers get done what businesses need to get done, and they do so while maximizing efficiency every step of the way. Operations managers work to convert inputs, such as raw materials, into outputs, such as goods and services. They facilitate the journey from supplier to business and from business to customer.

Operations Management Careers Are Diverse and Well-Paying

Just about every business needs operations management, so you can find these careers in virtually all industries. The sectors with the most operations management professionals are retail, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and health care.

Your salary as an operations manager will depend on your education and experience. For example, applicants who earn an MBA in operations management have significantly more upward mobility and earning potential than those with only a bachelor’s degree.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, operations managers have a mean annual wage of $117,200 and a median annual wage of $97,270.
Specific career opportunities in operations management include:

  • Supply chain manager.
  • Logistics manager.
  • Supply chain/operations consultant.
  • Inventory control manager.
  • Production planner.
  • Quality assurance manager.
  • Materials or warehouse manager.

The Field Has Unique Requirements and Benefits

Many operations managers have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, logistics, supply chain management, or transportation management. However, those with engineering backgrounds — for example, someone with a degree in industrial engineering — may also be qualified for these positions. Most high-level operations management positions require an MBA and five to 10 years of experience. Earning certifications in the field may also help distinguish you — the Association for Operations Management offers several professional certificates.

One of the benefits of operations management is that it is a far less crowded field than many other business concentrations, such as finance and marketing. While the initial salaries may be lower than those of other specialties, qualified candidates may find it easier to advance in operations than in other fields.

Operations management is an integral part of the modern business model. Today’s market is hypercompetitive, and saving even a few cents here and there can make all the difference. That is why operations managers are invaluable to companies and why you might consider entering the profession.

Ohio University’s Master of Business Administration Degree

Nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Online MBA” program, Ohio University’s online MBA degree program includes a concentration in Operations & Supply Chain Management. Courses focus on building customer relationships, quantitative skills necessary for financial markets and institutions, and sales leadership.

Other program concentrations include accounting, business analytics, executive management, finance, health care, operations & supply chain management, strategic selling & sales leadership, business venturing & entrepreneurship.