What is Operations Management?

“Operations management” is a term you might encounter in classified ads, newspapers, online articles and conversations with people in just about any industry — but what is it? What exactly does an operations manager do? Are operations managers in demand right now? How much do they get paid? Read on for the answers to these and other frequently asked questions about operations managers.

What Operations Managers Do

Operations managers are some of the highest-level executives within their hiring organizations. They are most concerned with maximizing profitability for their businesses by focusing on streamlining all operations to create an efficient working environment. They might also work on managing cash flows to ensure that organizational expenses don’t exceed incoming revenues. Operations managers may also need to supervise and train other employees within their organizations.

Read20 Best Online Bachelor’s in Operations or Project Management

Operations Managers in Finance

Operations managers working in the finance industry must keep abreast of the changes that federal and other government regulators mandate; they must also ensure that their organizations remain in compliance.

In 2016, the majority of the best-paid operations managers were working in the finance industry:

  • Operations managers working for securities brokerages earned mean annual salaries of $204,870.
  • Operations managers working for insurance funds earned mean annual salaries of $196,770.

Operations Managers in Healthcare

Operations management in healthcare requires an ever evolving skill set as the entire healthcare system changes to encompass new laws, requirements and technologies. In this field, one of the most significant changes in the recent past has been the mandated adoption of electronic healthcare records. According to analysts at the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is becoming increasingly important for health services managers to have experience working with healthcare IT systems, which can help to ensure their hiring organizations’ compliance with the new federal regulations.

In 2016, operations managers in the healthcare industry were earning median annual salaries of $96,540.

Operations Managers in Manufacturing

In the manufacturing industry, operations managers are often held accountable for balancing the organization’s profitability with public perception of corporate responsibility, particularly when it comes to social and environmental concerns.

In 2016, operations managers working in manufacturing earned median annual salaries of $111,770.

Operations Managers in Construction

Operations managers in the construction industry need a diverse mix of skills that can include experience with budgeting and creating work estimates; project management; and a thorough understanding of construction operations.

In 2016, operations managers working in the construction industry earned median annual salaries of $101,960.

Operations Managers in the Retail Sector

Corporate retail managers must typically make strategic decisions for a group of retail store locations, perhaps for all the stores in a particular region or state. Some operations managers are tasked with ensuring that all their organization’s stores in the region are staffed appropriately. For some, the job may entail making decisions about how to price inventory and when to liquidate it by lowering the selling price. Most operations managers devote considerable energy to analyzing sales data, setting sales goals for subordinates, motivating subordinates to meet their sales goals and planning new ways to improve profitability.

In 2016, retail trade operations managers were earning median annual salaries of $72,630.

Now you have a better idea about what operations managers do, how much they typically get paid and a few of the most prominent industries they work in. We hope this information is helpful to you in understanding the role that operations management plays in the current hierarchy of industrial operations.

Brenda Rufener

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris