Significant measurement and analysis are involved in operations management (OM). If you are thinking about going to school to gain the skills to be an operations manager, this decision guide can help guide your choices.
Making Strategic Decisions
The decisions of an operations manager in manufacturing or another industry apply to both design and policy. They guide the daily operations of the business, thereby impacting finance, HR, and other internal departments.
These descriptors immediately tell you the importance of your role as a future operations manager. While the job carries a lot of responsibility, it also is a rewarding occupation as:
- You see product development through from design to delivery
- Meet customer needs
- Feel good about delivering high-quality goods
- Motivate teams to do their best
- Save company money by being highly productive and efficient
How Your Decisions affect Other Departments
The different parts of a business overlap, meaning the decisions you make as an operations manager affect other departments. For example, if you implement cost-cutting measures to reduce the price of the product you offer, then it will affect the accounting department.
Also, if that new strategy results in significant increases in sales, then the Human Resources department may have to hire new employees to meet the demand. Given the potential impacts of your OM decision, it’s essential to understand not only how a decision affects the manufacturing facility but others in the organization too.
It logically follows that operations managers must share details of their strategies with relevant departments in the organization before making a final decision. While you know the manufacturing arena well, you may not realize how a future change you implement will impact another department unless you ask them first.
If the impact is not one that they can handle or adjust to well, then a compromise can hopefully be found between your two departments. Management discussions must take place, as does consulting your employer to ensure that the future decision meets the organization’s mission and provides future value.
During conversations with other managers within the organization, common topics to cover include:
- Evaluating and adjusting the budget as needed
- Analyzing future investments; are the current ones working, and what about new ones?
- How to prevent cash-flow problems when changes occur
Thus, managers must have strong communication skills acquired through related schooling and experience. Visit this site to learn more about how to gain the education to succeed in OM.
Role of the Operations Manager in the Business Hierarchy
When it comes to decisions, also important to remember is how OM fits within the hierarchical business structure. In this job, you report to the CEO and are at the same level as several other managers in other departments, such as:
- HR managers
- Finance manager
- R&D manager
- Marketing manager
As for who reports to you, the production manager does so. Positions below the production manager are warehouse manager, maintenance supervisor, and inventory manager in a typical structure. In a smaller business, however, there will be fewer people who report to OM.
Thinking about the Design Process
When the decision involves changes to manufacturing design, there are many factors to consider as you ponder what is best for the organization. Coming to a conclusion involves asking yourself many questions and reaching out for advice from others who will be affected by the decision.
Firstly, if you do not already have a location for the manufacturing process, then one has to be found. That responsibility typically falls on the operations manager.
Ideally, the location is close to suppliers or customers – or both. The best area is also one that workers are happy to live close by, along with their families.
The capacity of the manufacturing plant is another important consideration. Ensure that the building is a big enough physical size to provide the output you want.
Also, consider whether outsourcing is helpful to get to the desired result. If so, some of the questions to ask are:
- What aspects of design should be outsourced?
- Will this relationship be short-term or a lengthy partnership?
Altering these supply chain design decisions can be expensive in the long-run, so it’s essential to think them through carefully before coming to any conclusions. Consult your employer whenever possible to ensure that they agree with your recommendations for location and supply chain design decisions that can have a significant impact on business profit and efficiency.
Often, a location cannot meet all desired qualities, and the same is true if you outsource some tasks. But designating what a “must” from what is “nice to have but not necessary” can help you determine what is most important and find the right choice for your organization.
Different Decisions: There’s Not a Template
The reality is that not every operations manager makes the same decisions. What is “right” in one instance may not be the best selection for another company.
The size of the manufacturing company affects which decision is best, as do many other factors, including:
- Types of goods they produce
- Where the facility is located
- Outsourcing or not
- Types of technology used
- Number of employees
Technology, in particular, is changing, and keeping up with the latest advancements can help your employer keep up with demand. Artificial Intelligence, for instance, can shift manufacturing operations in a positive way by providing early adopters with a competitive edge.
Furthermore, certain challenges, such as globalization, may affect one manufacturing organization but not another one. But what all the businesses share is their desire for an operations manager that makes the best decision after careful consideration of the alternatives. Indeed, this characteristic is what defines a great operations manager.
Evaluating How Well You do in Operations Management
How well you perform is often measured by your decisions, so it is important to make ones that are based on information and analysis. Making decisions takes time, so weighing options and other thought processes are activities that to be scheduled into your day regularly.
Making Smart Decisions using the Lean Method
When it comes to problem-solving, the lean method stands out as a way to effectively come to conclusions. It’s important to note that lean principles are broader than only problem solving; they apply to design, manufacturing, and all parts of production.
The lean processes are helpful to anticipate problems and design around projected obstacles in the future. By preventing problems before they happen, your organization can be the most effective as is possible. The key to the lean method is eliminating waste to be as efficient and productive as possible in the manufacturing sector.
Of course, you cannot anticipate every problem beforehand. If a critical situation should happen, then it’s imperative to get to the root of what is wrong.
To do so, begin by taking a step back and asking why the incident happened. Specifically ask:
- Is this a surface-level issue, or
- Is it symbolic of something deeper that’s wrong?
If your organization isn’t structured in a way that makes problem-solving a smooth process, then addressing the root of what is wrong can be difficult. By applying lean manufacturing principles from the start, your facility can have the proper design to prevent problems before they even happen and address quickly any that do appear over time.
To prevent serious issues later involves taking the time now to plan and design a site that is unlikely to have critical issues later. For example, think about what is needed for your assembly line, so it is not a mess in a year or two when it would take considerably more time then to fix it.
Doing preventative measures now may seem like a burden, but they are a far better option than responding to serious things down the road if you don’t do so. While you cannot prepare for everything that is to come, brainstorming ahead of any obstacles is always a good plan to save the business money, time, and energy over the coming years.
Final Thought on Making Decisions in OM
The decisions you make in operations management for a manufacturing company in your future career have a great impact on the organization, from its processes to the individuals who work there. By setting the organization on a productive path, your valuable decisions have the potential to encourage business growth and wealth.
If the business grows, then so do the number of employees as the demand for the product increases with time. As the product line expands, more people are hired, and you can feel good about having a hand in improving the local employment rate.
To help ensure you make accurate decisions in your valuable OM role, get the education necessary to build a skill set that includes being a strong leader and problem-solving effectively. A decision that is informed and done in cooperation with other departments in the organization, as well as based on education and experience, can have a big impact on the business.
Make a valuable contribution to the manufacturing industry by stepping up to the professional role of operations manager. A bright future awaits you!